Leadership, management and governance: the need for best practices

Leadership, management and governance: the need for best practices

Joseph TierneyWhat is the difference between leadership, management, and governance? Peter Drucker said that “leadership does the right thing while management does things right”.

But why is it important to distinguish between them?

Issues arise when people confuse the roles, and while we may all be attracted to the idea of leadership, management tends to be undervalued, while hardly anyone understands the concepts of governance. As such, leadership takes on the strategic aim to set direction for an organization while management takes on the tactical aim to deliver value that meets customer expectations.

And all organizations will gain value through training in global best practices. Leaders who do not accept best practices allow their organizations to become acquisition targets for those companies that do, lose competitive advantage and have less satisfied employees.

However, when a company starts following best practices, their methodologies become more effective and employees thrive in the environment. I hear employees grumble time and time again when they learn about best practices their organizations had failed to implement. For instance, continued ITIL® education trains IT managers to make difficult decisions brilliantly in minutes versus weeks; decisions based on best practice principles, versus decisions slowly derived by emotions.

The imperative of governance

Companies can’t afford to ignore governance: it ensures everything done within the organization is in alignment with board-set direction for that organization. It sees that customer demands are achieved effectively and efficiently in an optimized environment, where there is internal knowledge transparency allowing better board decision making. Governance sets boundaries within which practitioners prosper in an organizational culture that fosters creativity and eliminates blame.

However, people need training to handle governance properly. Leaders who fail to grasp the best practices principles behind governance are dangerous. Untrained in governance best practices, those in governance roles risk being unfettered horses running wild.

The frameworks that matter

Having employees trained in and understanding management frameworks and methodologies such as ITIL, PRINCE2®, PMI’s IPECC (PMBOK Guide®), and governance frameworks such as COBIT, TOGAF, COSO supplemented by MoV® (Management of Value), M_o_R® (Management of Risk), BSC, SCRUM, LSS, etc. allows a conceptual universal framework of ideals to develop within an organization. Captured within an organization’s Centre of Excellence, this universal framework allows:

  • Trigger points and pain points to be identified by BSC and COSO
  • To cascade through COBIT or TOGAF governance to ITIL’s management of a service
  • Implemented through PMI’s processes within a PRINCE2 project
  • Allowing SCRUM to be utilized within a work package
  • Or other possible framework cascades.

What the frameworks do is enable employees to lead, manage, and govern effectively and efficiently. The frameworks’ findings can be summed-up in the detail behind the acronym OPTiCKS:

  • Observations: people reflect on their experience and make observations on the subject
  • Principles: seek universal principles that would be true in most organizations or industries
  • Tools and techniques: select relevant tools and techniques
  • Critical success factors (CSFs): define what can be influenced
  • KPIs: monitor improvements through relevant KPI’s categorized under CSFs
  • Case studies: practices are to be backed by research versus speculation.

OPTiCKS, indicative of the characteristics shared by many frameworks, allows these same frameworks to illumine each other’s global best practices. For example, PRINCE2 principles and precision will help optimize PMI’s holistic tailoring focus.

This is all about equipping those in leadership, management and governance roles to make brilliant decisions quickly based on globally accepted best practices. The alternative is to allow emotions to slowly drive decisions. The key is employee training in best practice certification programmes, such as those developed within AXELOS.

See our Best Practice Solutions and Certifications sections for more information.

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