Why Focus-Based Leadership is Important to Huawei’s Business Strategy

May 22, 2016 • David De Cremer on Management, LEADERSHIP, Leadership Development, Strategic Spotlight

By David De Cremer and Jess Zhang

Contemporary business develops at a rapid pace, with many uncertainties, internationally connected stakeholders, and little latitude to make mistakes. In such a dynamic environment companies need strong leadership to survive and build a long-term and sustainable reputation. But what does strong leadership mean?


Looking at companies with a clearly visible and strong leader present, the ability to focus and pursue this focus with a strong determination seems to be a crucial element. Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, was known as a man who never lost sight of the ultimate goal. His reputation of setting priorities in almost any aspect of life is vividly remembered by those who worked together with him to make Apple the primary brand. Steve Jobs truly believed that a lack of focus can drag you down or at best will make you mediocre.

The main reason given why being a focused executor makes for great leadership is because in the minds of people it makes you a wise leader. In a 2011 Harvard Business Review article, Ikujiro and Hirotaka Takeuchi argued that in a world with an ever increasing pace of change, business leaders struggle to reinvent their corporations rapidly enough to cope with new technologies. As a result, many companies fail in their leadership to develop truly global organisations that operate effortlessly across borders. The reason for this failure is that most business leaders are all over the place and as such lack focus in what makes their company great. And, it is exactly this kind of leadership that is regarded as wise leadership. If we take the example of Steve Jobs again then we can see that in addition to being very focused on a few priorities he has been named one the smartest leaders around. It is as if he was able to predict what was needed in an ever changing world – a mystic idea that is covered by the concept of wisdom.

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