Leadership Foundations 1

A major limitation that hinders a leader’s performance is when they are not skilled at laying foundations their organisation can build upon. Oftentimes, your job as a leader is not to do the work but to empower your teams to do the work. You achieve this by laying the foundation that others can work with. Foundations make success replicable, repeatable, and sustainable. They make the work easier for both the leader and the led in that everyone is working from the same template.

There are three types of foundations effective leaders lay for their organisations. Your success in driving your organisation will depend largely on how effective you are at laying these three types of foundations.

i. Visionary Foundation

Visionary foundation is about developing and communicating the vision, mission statement and objectives of the organisation and ensuring the stakeholders in the organisation are very clear about them. It entails the stakeholders being clear about why the organisation exists, where it is currently, where it is heading and how it intends to get there. Any organisation – commercial or non-commercial that lacks clarity in these critical fundamentals will hardly grow and even if it grows, the growth will not be sustained because the fundamentals for sustainability are out of sync.

Leaders often struggle because they are not visionary in their drive. They are mostly transactional and operational and rarely step into the higher dimensions of visionary and transformative requirements that their office demands. That is why their organisations don’t grow.

ii. Cultural Foundation

Cultural foundation refers to the fundamentals that shape and influence the culture, behaviour, and ethics of the organisation. Cultural foundation shapes how members and stakeholders of the organisation behave towards one another as well as towards external parties – customers, patrons, service users and the public in general. Cultural foundation includes the values, code of conduct and ethics the organisation operates by.

It is your responsibility as a leader to put structure that ensures the expected behaviour is communicated and modelled for others to see and follow. This explains why a key requirement for effective leadership is for a leader to internalize and embody the same values that the organisation espouses. If the values are integrity and patriotism, then the leader should be an embodiment of integrity and patriotism. Much of leadership is about propagating influence and it is very difficult to influence your team positively unless you are modelling the same attributes you want to see them manifest.

iii. Operational Foundation

This is about developing strategies, models, and systems that your team can build on and utilize to perform operational functions. It requires developing an operational template for the various units within the organisation; typically these units will be production (concerned with creating the value, product or service for users), marketing (concerned with promoting the product or service to target users), sales (delivering or exchanging the product or service in exchange for money or other benefits), accounting (managing money related matters), human resources (managing all personnel related matters including capacity building) and customer service (engaging with existing and new users)

For example, a marketing strategy developed for a business will serve as the basis of the marketing activities the company undertakes. Such a marketing strategy will clearly outline the company’s marketing objectives, describe its target market, their demographics, and the various approaches the company intends to adopt to reach the target customers.

Organisations struggle to grow where the leader has not put in place one or more of the three foundations required to drive their organisation – visionary foundation, cultural foundation, and operational foundation.


Written by : Ayo Adebamowo


About the Facilitator – Ayo Adebamowo Ayo Adebamowo is an Author, Speaker and Tech Entrepreneur. He is the founder of MyMedicalBank, a health technology company promoting digital access to healthcare through creating innovative digital solutions.

A Nigerian-British national, Ayo has been named as one of the 70 Most Outstanding Healthcare Professionals in the United Kingdom.

Having started and run various businesses himself in healthcare, technology, agriculture and publishing, Ayo very much understands from a practical point of view the pains, struggles and mistakes aspiring and established business owners often make that delay their success. He therefore brings his wealth of experience coupled with years of experience and research to help other entrepreneurs succeed in their journey.

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