Why Do Some Business Leaders Attain Greatness Whereas Others Fail?

What Makes Some Business Leaders Truly Great?

Business Leaders such as Bill Gates of Microsoft, the Late Steve Jobs of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Paige and Serge Brian of Google, Warren Buffet of Hathaway Berkshire, and closer home, NR Narayana Murthy are known around the world as great persons who exemplified the best in business.

Indeed, one can almost say that these leaders are household names as can be seen by the face and name recognition that one associate with them. Also, there are others such as Ratan Tata who has achieved greatness due to their association and subsequent development of family-run businesses.

So, what makes these leaders stand out from the crowd whereas other business leaders, both aspiring and established, struggle to remain relevant or become famous outside of their circles and beyond the corporate world.

Apart from this, what makes some business leaders role models for entire generations of management students and professionals whereas others become just leaders who lead their chosen organizations are not known or are role models?

Greats Have Vision that captures the Spirit of the Times

To start with, all businesspersons and entrepreneurs, as well as corporate honchos, have a vision, both about where they want to go as individuals as well as where they want to take their companies in the future.

However, there are only a few who make their vision reality while most ensure that some parts of their vision translate into action, and the rest simply drop by the wayside. Indeed, no entrepreneur or corporate honcho can afford to be without a vision and what differentiates the greats from the average is the way such visions have relevance to their chosen business niches and the wider world.

For instance, Bill Gates recognized the transformative power of computing as did Steve Jobs and both recognized the power of Smartphones, though Jobs ensured that he actualized the vision and that too in a pioneering manner.

Further, Mark Zuckerberg saw how social networks could be enabled and empowered by technology whereas NR Narayana Murthy realized how India could be a software and information technology hub due to its abundant human capital of engineers and science graduates.

Thus, the key aspect here is that it is not enough to have a vision without it corresponding to what is known as the Zeitgeist of the times or the power of an innovative and inventive idea whose time has come.

Great Business Leaders also believe in their Vision with a Missionary Zeal

Indeed, all these business leaders went beyond having an idea and a vision that predicted the future but also had a sense of mission about them.

In other words, they believed in the power of their ideas despite skeptics claiming otherwise.

For instance, when Microsoft and Apple came up Personal Computers, not many were willing to buy into the idea that personal computing was the future. Similarly, when Jobs released the Smartphone through the iPhone device, not many in the mobile industry were taken in by the idea of a touchscreen device which could double up as a personal assistant.

Indeed, even NR Narayana Murthy and other software industry leaders were not taken seriously when they promised to take India into the 21st Century as many Western business leaders still saw the country as a land of snake charmers and Elephants.

The fact that these business leaders succeeded is a testament to their self-belief and the sense of mission they had. Many management experts often insist that to be great one has to have a missionary zeal and a sense of purpose that is internally driven and which does not waver despite setbacks that they say should be treated as temporary and lessons to be learned.

Great Business Leaders Work Hard and Execute Flawlessly

Apart from having a vision and mission, what great business leaders have is also hard work and flawless execution.

In other words, great business leaders do build castles in the air, but they also ensure that they base such castles on strong foundations built on sleepless nights of hard work and labor.

Further, they also ensure that what they build lasts for the future wherein they not only lay the base but also take their organizations to greater heights by flawless execution. In this respect, there is a need for attention to detail as well as superlative people skills as can be seen from the way in which great business leaders often take their work seriously.

For instance, Steve Jobs is known to have woken up one of his associates during a weekend night to ensure that his colleagues were following his design and font specifications for the iPhone.

Thus, for these leaders, their work is a 24/7 obsession, and even when they relax, they are constantly on the lookout for bettering their organizations and ensuring that they carry everyone along with them.

Great Business Leaders have Social Conscience and a Desire to Give Back to Society

Lastly, what great business leaders also have are values and a social conscience which can be seen from the way in which they become philanthropists and social visionaries who give back to society in the same manner in which they have benefited from it.

In other words, their aim to make money in life is to ensure that they better the lives of millions of people and that too through ethical and value-based norms.

Indeed, all the business leaders mentioned in the introduction are known to contribute to society and are known to be ethical and value based in their dealings. To conclude, great business leaders embody these and other traits in their quest for personal and professional excellence and in their belief of making the world a better place.

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