I read an interesting interview with Stephen Sadove, chairman and chief executive of Saks, who discussed his approach to management. Here’s an excerpt:
I have a very simple model to run a company. It starts with leadership at the top, which drives a culture. Culture drives innovation and whatever else you’re trying to drive within a company — innovation, execution, whatever it’s going to be. And that then drives results.
My take: Sadove’s approach is spot-on; and can be simplified to:
Leadership => Culture => Operational effectiveness => Business results
Sadove seems to understand what many executives lost sight of over the past decade, which is well stated by Jack Welch: “On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy.” Rather than focusing on profits, he recognizes that profits are the outcome of a chain of events that starts with good leadership.
Sadove’s comments also line up nicely with several of the 6 New Management Imperatives that I outlined last year:
- Invest in culture as a corporate asset
- Make listening an enterprisewide skill
- Turn innovation into a continuous process
- Provide a clear and compelling purpose
- Extend and enhance the digital fabric
- Practice good social citizenship
The bottom line: Execs that want results need to focus more on people