Lone Wolf to lead Wolf-The Evolution of Leadership

Privately held businesses vary in dimension sort really compact “Mom & Pop” operations with revenue as low as $100,000 or less, to huge multi- million dollar distributors with locations all across North America. Wholesale distribution also has some mega-distributors with sales ranging from $1 billion to as much as $27 billion. The majority of wholesale distributors are family owned.Col. Kevin FarrellĀ 

Family owned organizations, both tiny and large, with succession issues, family preparation and second and third generation leadership issues have been subjected to the evolution of management. These organizations are often founded by an aggressive, highly talented entrepreneur. Many of the principles of leadership that helped build the success that the organization enjoyed in the past is not the type of leadership that will maintain that success through generations of ownership. Contrary to some “leadership authorities” belief, the Machiavelli theories on management just don’t apply today. Niccolo Machiavelli is considered by some a management guru who lived during the renaissance period and is often quoted and written about today. Machiavelli believed that “Men are more ready for evil than good.” “A leader’s goal is one of power and domination.”

The Evolution of Management

Times have changed, leadership has evolved. The days of the “Lone Wolf” leader at the top who dominates with power are gone. Successful privately held organizations have gone through the management evolutionary process. They understand that today’s leader must create change in the organization to meet the needs of their customers, to meet the needs of their employees and to meet the needs of their vendor partners. It involves a particular life cycle change. This change varies according to the generation of leadership.

More often than not, the “seat of the pants” based on intuitive judgment management style of the founder with highly autocratic methodologies won’t work in today’s business environment. Today’s environment demands a stable administrative structure that requires a change in the nature of past leadership practices. Simply put, it’s an evolution from a highly reactive, autocratic individualistic style to a more empowering, people employee oriented proactive style. It’s about going from a “Lone Wolf” leadership style to a “Lead Wolf” leadership style that has confidence in the employee’s ability to make things happen and empowers the employees to get the job done.