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What separates strong and successful organizations from those that struggle or eventually disappear? It is not a question of luck or chance. Rather, it is a matter of leadership.

According to Grand River Enterprises Six Nations Ltd. (“Grand River Enterprises”), a licensed domestic manufacturer of tobacco products located on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve in Ontario, there are six key ways that great leadership makes the essential difference between success and failure in the big picture and the long run:

6  Ways Great Leadership Creates Strong, Successful Organizations

  1. Establishing the Mission and Vision

An organization’s mission captures what it does today, and who it serves, while its vision is an aspirational projection in the future, and points towards what the organization strives to become. Both of these elements lay the foundation and framework for strong, successful organizations.

“The importance of clear, effective, and motivational mission and vision cannot be underestimated,” commented a spokesperson from Grand River Enterprises, which is wholly native-owned, and fully licensed by the Canadian federal government as a tobacco grower. “They are not just words that appear in documents, websites, presentations, proposals, or posters on the wall. They are commitments that the organization makes to its employees, its stakeholders, its customers, its partners, and its community. And they are especially vital during difficult and uncertain times — which is exactly what we are all dealing with now during COVID-19. Great leaders set the bar high, and rally their people to meet — or in some special cases, exceed — expectations. We are extremely fortunate and proud to have this kind of leadership at Grand River Enterprises for more than a quarter of a century.”

  1. Empowering Staff

Most organizations claim that “our people are our greatest asset,” but those that are headed by great leaders practice what they preach. They enable, encourage, train, and support employees to make meaningful contributions to the mission and vision. Leaders also recognize and reward those who go above and beyond — whether that means resolving a particularly difficult situation with a customer, helping out a colleague in need, or doing anything else that elevates the organization.

“In our organization, our strength is rooted in our people,” commented a spokesperson from Grand River Enterprises, which employs more than 400 people at its facility and is the largest private employer on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. “We stive to help our employees succeed, and try to be flexible, understanding, and accommodating when personal problems arise. We foster a workplace culture that is professional, cooperative, friendly and fun.”

  1. Maintaining High Quality Standards

Great leadership takes this wisdom to heart by establishing and enforcing quality control standards that support ongoing excellence, and drive continuous improvement.

“In our organization, we must meet extremely high quality standards at all times,” commented a spokesperson from Grand River Enterprises, which sells cigarettes under the brand

names Sago, Putters, DK’s, Ménage, Oakdale and Golden Leaf in Canada, and Seneca, Opal and Couture in the United States. “Strong and consistent leadership is critical to achieving this goal, and ensuring that our customers domestically and internationally consistently receive top-of-the-line products.”

  1. Effectively Responding to Difficult Challenges

When everything is going well and the future looks bright, leadership is relatively easy. However, when things get difficult and the future looks grim and daunting, the difference between great leaders and mediocre ones becomes clear — and usually within a matter of months, weeks, or in some cases even days.

“Effective leadership is not just about sitting in boardrooms developing strategies and identifying priorities,” commented a spokesperson from Grand River Enterprises Six Nations Ltd. “It is about navigating challenges, mitigating threats, and analyzing the potential consequences and implications of various decisions. For example, one of the things that we continue to do in our organization at a leadership level is support local farmers, and create long-term employment opportunities.”

  1. Supporting the Community

Strong corporate leadership does not confine itself to the workplace, or function from 9 to 5. It extends into the broader community, and understands that organizations have a moral obligation to support and improve the communities within which they operate, and where many of their employees live.

Giving back to the community must be a top organizational priority, and mut be demonstrated by effective and meaningful actions. Organizations do not exist in isolation. They are part of the community, and when organizations succeed, they must strive to elevate the community as well.

  1. Cultivating a Legacy of Leadership

Last but certainly not least, great leadership is not just about guiding organizations forward so they can establish their vision, carry out their mandate, inspire and motivate staff, deal with tough challenges, and support the community. It is also about cultivating a legacy of leadership, so that it continues long into the future. Strong and successful organizations have a culture of leadership.

The Bottom Line

Every strong organization is different, and takes its own, unique path to success. However, there is one thing that all high-performance, world-class organizations have in common regardless of their sector, industry, product or service: they rely on great leadership to achieve all of the critical goals described above.

“Leadership is dynamic, not static,” commented a spokesperson from Grand River Enterprises. “Organizations have to keep innovating, advancing, and looking for ways to be more efficient, customer-centric, employee-focused, and quality-minded. Leadership is critical to all of these aims, and we see and experience this every day in our organization.”

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