‘People must see what you bring, then and only then, will they follow you’
As chairman of the Institute of Supply Chain Management, Philip is no stranger to success. He began a long and illustrious career in logistics in 1969 with the British Army, where he served until 2004. He was occupied with a wide range of increasingly demanding roles within various parts of the world and also led advanced training for military operations. The importance of Philip’s time in the Army cannot be overstated. His expertise saved countless lives and stood as an example to all those who followed him, and also laid the foundations for one of the most successful supply chain and logistics companies in the world.
Philip’s presentation outlined the importance of inspiring leadership. He made it clear than leadership is a privilege rather than a right and needs to be earned through the inspiration of those who look to you for guidance. However, people must be thought of as people rather than subordinates. They are human beings who will always respond positively to being valued, treated properly and given a level of responsibility which suits their capabilities.
‘You should step back and ask, why do I need to be a leader, what am I leading and to what end?’
For practical advice, Philip offered insights on the difference between leading in the military and leading in a business. You’ll have to watch the video for the details, but he concluded that leading the military is much easier, as the notion of authority is ingrained on all activities. In a business loyalty is harder to inspire as the stakes are lower for the person in question. The challenge is to earn the unbreakable bonds of loyalty; this can only be done by valuing the person, applying sound leadership, being valuable and being fair.
‘You should strive to create a professional environment where those people for whom you have responsibility really do want to see you succeed and be part of your success
The emphasis of the talk was the development of followership through the strengthening of your leadership. Followership is entirely different to leadership. Anybody can make decisions, but it takes something special to generate followership, a sense of loyalty which rises to overcome all the obstacles the workplace can present.
Philip’s presentation was remarkable as it gave expression to a culture of leadership in the armed forces and translated it into the professional world. Each person left able to improve their leadership, and by extension their followership, capabilities. It was truly the different slant that it offered and should be watched by all aspiring and established leaders.