A Management lesson from history
One critical element to the success of any organization is leadership. A leader with a vision and clear goals, who can inspire people around him to adopt same vision and motivate them to achieve these goals, definitely is an effective leader.
However, effective leadership is also about other competencies and attributes, and being strategically flexible is one of the key attributes required for an effective leader especially during crisis or difficult times.
There are many leaders in history whom we can learn from their historical success stories or from their fatal mistakes.
The management lesson I always remember when talking about flexibility and how could some leaders destroy their firms or countries by being rigid is the story around the Gulf War 1 which happened 30 years ago.
In August 1990, Saddam Hussain (former president of Iraq) and his regime at that time invaded Kuwait due to some conflicts and dispute around oil production. But when they have captured the country, the former president justified the invasion by claiming that Kuwait is a natural part of Iraq.
The international community and the United Nation stood firm and condemned the invasion and described the act as the ugliest aggression of the modern history. Coalition forces from more than 40 countries started to prepare for a war to liberate Kuwait.
Saddam Hussain insisted on his opinion and rejected to negotiate with any international mediation to withdraw from Kuwait. A few months later, A horrific war started and he and his regime were defeated with heavy causalities.
The deadly mistake he had committed at that time was his stubbornness to change his strategy and kept managing the risks with same plans and tactics despite all of the surrounded risk and danger around the country.
The key lesson from the story that, the former president did neither show any flexibility nor willingness to change his plans and strategy although he knew that he could not enter a war against almost the whole world and win.
Same applies for business leaders, to be strategically flexible is to go ahead with changes, revise your priorities and plans, be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses, identify opportunities during challenging times and revisit your strategy and execution plans.