BLOG – Transformational leadership in a disruptive environment

Disruption is not new, disruption has always been feared and sometimes even the experts get it wrong when underestimating the changes that disruption will bring, both positive and negative.

In such a fast-shifting landscape, particularly from an automotive perspective, the importance of transformational leadership to address, and flourish, in ever-changing circumstances is vital.

And while it might seem a daunting task, applying just a few simple guidelines, and sticking to them, can pay dividends, whether it’s in the automotive or other manufacturing sector.

Stand out and stand apart

Leadership starts at the top but even great leaders need a single high performing team, whereby a clear chain of command and set of responsibilities removes any dysfunctional behaviour, whether that is an absence of trust, a fear of conflict or an avoidance of accountability.

Meanwhile, face the reality that disruption, no matter what industry your business is in, will happen as inevitably as night follows day.

Seize the opportunity to act like business owners and promote the virtues of credibility and integrity, while also challenging the status quo for the good, while remembering it’s results that count.

Don’t be afraid to employ some streetwise skills to stay politically astute and abreast of the geo-political landscape. Remember, however, that while politicians come and go, your business is in it for the long-haul so be prepared to react with decisiveness and speed as circumstances change.

Just as importantly, always ask the question – why should people choose us?

Define strategy

It is imperative, such as in the in the automotive sector, for leadership to define a set of key strategy requirements.

Of particular importance in the motor industry are brand reputation, product innovation and customer experience.

Indeed, as we have seen on various occasions, including in the car world, brands that have spent decades and unlimited resources in building their good names, can see this evaporate overnight through unforeseen and uncalculated circumstances.

In the meantime, product innovation waits for no business as we are currently seeing in the automotive industry with the major OEMs now racing ahead, some a bit slower than others, to secure the hearts-and-minds of future EV owners as low carbon mobility takes hold, while also spending millions in autonomous vehicle technology.

However, these innovations are nothing without the customer, and buying a car like many other major monetary purchases is a journey, so make it enjoyable, and not a burden, for the end-user.

Understand the new landscape

The overriding advice is to focus on a small number of priorities and do them well, embrace technology and build a high-performance team.

Be tough but fair and results driven, while retaining a customer centric approach, so that disruption is not something to be feared but something to be embraced.


Geoff Cousins

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