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THE MAGAZINE OF LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, MANAGERIAL EFFECTIVENESS, AND ORGANIZATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY
Downpour of Ideas
To develop leaders, you need great ideas . . . .3
Employee engagement is the key variable . . . . .13
Power follows ideas, not positions . . . . . . . . . . .3
Create a Great Place to Work
It’s the aim of developing leaders . . . . .14
ELIYAHU M. GOLDRATT
In four years, net what you now earn . . . . .4
Master these skills to contribute more . . . . .15
CLAYTON M. CHRISTENSEN
Assess Your Capabilities
Is the organization up to the task . . . . . . . . . .5
Think Inside the Box
Choose the right box and play the game . . . . .16
Change How You Change
You first must change your identity . . . . . . . . . . .6
Coming back from the brink of extinction, the bald eagle embodies the spirit of courage and freedom that characterizes authentic leaders—those who have a viable vision, appreciate assets, capitalize on talent, align resources, execute priorities, and create a great place to work.
Help your team to explore options . . . . . . . .17
JUDITH GLASER AND NANCY SNELL
Ike: First in Leadership
Learn how to lead a coalition of allies . . . . .18
Reducing fear has a bottom-line payoff . . . . . .8
Looking in the Mirror
Execution is all about aligning people and priorities . . . . . . . . .19
Capitalize on Talent
Avoid the herd instinct and confusion . . . . . . . . . .9
GERARD A. ABRAHAM
You really don’t want subordinates . . . . . . . . . .10
Culture of Appreciation
Ensure your assets appreciate in value . . . . .11
Effective execution is your top priority . . . . . .12
Improve performance through purpose . . . . . .20
E . D . I . T . O . R ’ S
N . O . T . E
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Downpour of Ideas
by Ken Shelton
1806 North 1120 West, Provo, UT 84604.
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ence of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) held in Washington DC. during four days of torrential downpour in June, I met with about 15,000 of my closest friends to hear Colin Powell and David McCullough, among others, underscore the importance of authentic leadership. So, as I greeted people, I asked them, “What do you do in the area of leadership development?” Sadly, even shockingly, some HR directors admitted that they do nothing (or next to nothing) to develop the leadership capabilities of their people—no program, process, plan, model, map, or mindset. At the opening General Session, General Colin Powell said that leadership makes all the difference—on the battlefield and in the workplace. He urged HR professionals to create an environment where people are inspired, not just motivated or engaged. “Leadership is getting 110 percent out of your relationships—it is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.” Historian and best-selling author David McCullough said that the spirit of 1776 is needed in 2006. In addressing the adventures of George Washington, he taught lessons on leadership. “The great men and women of history lived in the present,” he said. “They had no idea how things would turn out. Their lives provide us with lessons and standards for measuring our own courage, patriotism, and leadership. As leaders, we need a sense of history—a sense of who we are, where we came from, and what it took to get us here.” SHRM chair Johnnie Taylor and president Sue Messsinger talked about the courage needed by leaders as they face such challenges as rising health care costs, diversity, change, and competition—chal2
T THE ANNUAL CONFER -
Louis V. Gerstner Jr.
Editorial Purpose: Our mission is to promote personal and organizational leadership based on constructive values, sound ethics, and timeless principles. Editorial: All correspondence, articles, letters, and requests to reprint articles should be sent to: Editorial Department, Executive Excellence, 1806 North 1120 West, Provo, Utah 84604; 801-375-4060, or firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Editors: Chip Bell, Dianna Booher, Kevin Cashman, Jim Loehr, Norm Smallwood, Joel Barker, Joseph Grenny, Jim Kouzes Executive Excellence Publishing: Ken Shelton, Editor-in-Chief, CEO Sally Franco, Managing Editor Rick Weiss, Production Manager Allan Jensen, Chief Information Officer Sean Beck, Circulation Manager Detail from Sovereign Repose © by Daniel Smith Artwork courtesy of art print publisher. Artwork may have been cropped to fit. To order, contact: The Greenwich Workshop 151 Main Street Saymour, CT 06483 1-800-243-4246 www.greenwichworkshop.com
lenges met by another speaker, former IBM CEO Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Leadership Excellence Whatever you do in the area of leadership development—whether you now do
next to nothing or you have a world-class program in place. I invite you to experience excellence by making Leadership Excellence an important part of your development process.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Copyright © 2006 Executive Excellence Publishing. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from the publisher. Quotations must be credited.
Any great leadership development program or process starts with great ideas and ensures the timely application of timeless principles. I invite you to make our Instant Consultant CD archive and plan the foundation of your program. To gain access to these leadership tools, visit LE our website www.LeaderExcel.com.
Modest leaders concentrate more on the intrinsic rewards of doing good work and recognize that their role has a moral dimension that is just as important as fattening the bottom line. Even if the Berlin Wall had not fallen in November 1989. the New Economy emerged. even immoral. however gifted. The world has also undergone economic transformation. For every ousted CEO. the ability to rally the others. by Warren Bennis N S O M E WAY S . lengths to ignore bad news. Technology has done what ideology could not—create a worldwide community. One dreadful trend of the 1990s was the emergence of celebrity CEOs. the take-home lesson is that power follows ideas. The disappearance of the middle class. I And so. may be the most important economic story of this new century. Historically. The days are gone when the most important assets are buildings and equipment. there are thousands of able. We still tend to think of leaders. 3 Leadership Excellence . and everyone can watch it on satellite TV. not position. made up of people who believe that loyalty and hard work will bring security and a comfortable standard of living. the ability of people worldwide to effectively communicate electronically would bring down all the walls that once separated nations. Great leaders cultivate cultures of candor. China has embraced entrepreneurism and other forms of capitalism. can solve our problems. a sense of fairness. it can later take away. leaders must treat their people not as underlings. Where does this leave today’s leaders? People are now demanding more genuine performance of their leaders. the ability to recognize correct choices. the Internet’s 400 early adopters predicted that it would revolutionize how people communicate. Neither extreme is true. We tend to lavish disproportionate attention and praise on them for a time. as solitary geniuses. honorable leaders. Yet no one is more valuable than the person who speaks truth to power. Our attitudes toward leaders are cyclical. Nothing sinks leaders faster than surrounding themselves with yes-men and -women. That will probably be a good thing. In the United States. the euro. One thing that has become clear to me is that integrity is the most important characteristic of leaders—and one that they must demonstrate again and again. second-rate leaders can exercise power recklessly with impunity. More people need to ask: What is our purpose. the days are gone when a single individual. Great leaders and followers are always engaged in a creative collaboration. and may pay the price for candor. Instant communications has facilitated the rise of religious fundamentalism in a form that demonizes nonbelievers and puts the most up-to-date technology to medieval use. Leaders need to create meaningful rewards and humanize the workplace. Americans tend to see their institutions as the lengthened shadows of great men and reward charismatic leaders out of proportion to their contribution. In good times. to treat them like royalty. Thomas. only to turn on them at some point and treat them like devils. and superb curatorial and coaching skills—an eye for talent.” The World Wide Web provides the most dramatic example. in The Lexus and the Olive Tree. we long for work that seems meaningful enough to justify missing out on big chunks of our children’s lives. It would be tragic if scandals cause business to be perceived as an unworthy calling. Those who speak truth to power need courage. but even they could not imagine how pervasive it would become. Today we need groups of talented people to tackle complex problems. Indeed. Too many leaders forget that they are under scrutiny and can be called to account at any time. But authentic leaders embrace those who speak valuable truths. everything is different now from how it was even 20 years ago. Leaders will likely receive less money and more scrutiny. They forget that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right— and that what the public gives. but as colleagues and collaborators. Organizations sometimes go to absurd. Good ideas are made stronger by being challenged. contagious optimism. And the European Union is now a reality— replacing the franc and Deutsche Mark with the Esperanto of currencies.Leadership Authenticity Authentic Leaders Engage more in creative collaboration. We live in a world where a woman can be stoned to death for adultery. In fact. Friedman writes: “The world is only 10 years old. we see the organization as a community where we spend much of our lives and we hunger for greater balance between work and personal life. and crashed—fueled by intellectual capital. beyond creating value for stakeholders? Today. led by gifted leaders. like artists. ideas are now the currency of the global economy. But even as technology has facilitated the exchange of ideas and made the world smaller. To lead a Great Group. they force leaders to reevaluate their positions. however hard they are to hear. Scandals have a devastating effect. dissenters are rarely embraced. the ability to facilitate communication and mediate conflict. Everything we learn about creativity suggests that money is more often an obstacle than an incentive. In tough times. and an authenticity and integrity that creates trust. it has not made it peaceful. integrity. a gift for bringing out the best in others. soared. For leaders. leaders will have to reward people who have the best ideas. Even when principled nay-sayers are wrong. leaders need not possess all the skills of the members. L. And unless the current trend toward more wealth in fewer hands is reversed. In 1989. What they must have are vision. it could be a grim story indeed. Trillions of dollars of wealth were destroyed by men who walked away with princely severance packages. Even as we are shackled by our pagers and cell phones.
what is the minimum number of points we must impact to impact the whole system? If the answer is “10 points. ACTION: Create a viable vision. yearly net profit equal to its current yearly sales? The obstacles are daunting. and speaker. he felt himself most deeply and intensively active and alive. Their adaptivity includes resilience or hardiness—a kind of creativity that enables them to identify and seize opportunities. we must identify those few elements that govern the system. If you read these books. Third. Timeless leadership is always about character and authenticity. William James said. attuned to their followers. To see the potential of a company. author of 27 books. is your team capable of implementing such a change? Yes. I ANALYZE A company. “The best way to define a man’s character is to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which. and feel their pain. within four years. a powerful belief in something outside themselves. ‘This is the real me. such profitability is impossible without a huge increase in sales. if we clarify the cause-and-effect relationships among all elements of the system. wants. In recent years. they engage others by creating shared meaning. philosopher. they become more optimistic and open. All leaders have four essential competencies. or an opportunity. and author of The Goal. The more complex the system. and this is doable only if you have a remarkable new offer accepted by your markets. How complex is the system you manage? How many pages are needed to describe every process and the relationships with each client? Most companies. if you put it into practice. We manage a complex system by dissecting it into subsystems that are less complex. when it came upon him. Goldratt is an educator. even though they fly in the face of common practice. true leaders have character or integrity—a strong moral compass. the reaction of top managers is: “This is common sense.net. annual net profit equal to its current total sales. you’ll agree that the conclusions are common sense. the cause-and-effect relationships turn our system into a maze. Moreover.” this system is easy to manage. Considering the complexity of your system. Now. This ability is more complex than networking. we can manage the system to achieve higher performance. and needs. Since our systems are complex. business leader. correct course. authentic leaders have a distinctive voice— purpose. leaders have the adaptive capacity to respond quickly and intelligently to relentless change— to act. Goldratt ACTION: Nurture your authentic self. the more complex it is. as talented younger people draw me into their lives and make me care about them. I am struck by how effectively some people recruit the mentors they need. the fewer degrees of freedom the system has. Mentoring is a reciprocal dance that benefits both parties. Fourth. I share my diagnosis of what is blocking performance. I deduce the steps that will remove that block. Whatever is thrown at them. and the silo mentality. and quickly act again. The few elements dictating the performance of the system are the constraints or leverage points—the Theory of Constraints (TOC). we might think that all we can do is to improve synchronization and foster collaboration between the subsystems. www. 4 Leadership Excellence . like being mentored. before all the data is in. If this is the only option we consider. But that fact also provides the key to the solution. I am somewhat satisfied only when I clearly see how it is possible to bring the company to have. fully integrated human being.” I’m careful when sharing this expectation with the top management.goldratt.” this is a difficult system to manage because it has too many degrees of freedom. whether the transformational experience is an ordeal. Can such an offer exist? Can you deliver on such an offer? What investments will be needed? And. Using logic. The marketing and strategy of companies is in It’s Not Luck. LE Eliyahu M. and then on project-based systems in Critical Chain. only a few elements govern the entire system. LE Warren Bennis is founding chair of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California. even small ones. That’s what I mean by a “viable vision. They are richly endowed with empathy. And. self-confidence. a sense of self. First. No matter how cruel the testing. scientist. within four years. It is the ability to spot those people who can make all the difference in your life and get them on your side. harmful local optima. and emotional intelligence.’” Finding and nurturing your authentic self is the sure way of becoming a leader. leaders emerge from their crucibles stronger and with new skills. The process of becoming a leader is the same process that makes a person a healthy. and then assess the results. like Mandela’s years in prison. In this way. To capitalize on the inherent simplicity. are complex and thus difficult to manage. this can lead to miss-synchronization. if you follow my proposal. wbennis@earthlink. For example. and persuade others to make that vision their own.Leadership often emerges after some right of passage or crucible. Why aren’t we doing it?” Any complex system is based on inherent simplicity. Is a viable vision possible for your company? Is it feasible to have. if the answer is “one point. we need to realize that the thing that makes our system difficult to manage HEN is that what is done in one place has ramifications in other places. you experience impressive improvements in a short time. However. I expose the reasons why I believe this vision is viable. We’ll think that creating net profit equal to current total sales in less than four years is unrealistic. Leadership Vision Viable Vision W Net your current sales. Second. Capitalizing on the inherent simplicity enables incredible improvements within a short time.com. As I watch people become leaders. Some magic takes place in the crucible. by Eliyahu M. we’ll believe that achieving a major jump in profit within a short time is a rarity. I’ve seen the process from the mentor’s side. About 20 years ago I demonstrated the TOC approach on production systems in my book The Goal. They have a vision. the more profound is its inherent simplicity. the more interdependencies between the components of the system. The more data needed to fully describe a system. But. There is a voice inside which speaks and says. consultant. Then I detail the steps to take to capitalize on that breakthrough. Examine a system and ask.
are consistent with the strategic direcdepreciated or enhanced. They need to ensure that the organization in which those resources reside is capable of succeeding—and in making that assessment. information. Managers who face the need to change or innovate need to do more than assign the right resources to the problem. Seeing agers use a process to execute the innovations coming wasn’t the problem. notation. skill. business model. processes. employee development and compensation. And. is a very flexible resource. This is scary news—because when geting. Three factors affect what an organi. Their values change. equipment. and clear values. and customers. however. it is likely to prove pace with required changes. whether a customer is more important or less • Resources. and energy. research. They may also assess the people’s values—how they decide what should be done. most resource allocation are done. Processes are to tackle a critical innovation. you learn which people make decisions about about your capabilities by sorting priorities—whether an order is attracyour answers into these categories: tive or unattractive. Organizations just didn’t react to tasks for which it was designed. Organizations create HE PACE OF CHANGE value as people transform resources is accelerating. • Processes. they develop processes for evaluating the technological potential and assessing their customers’ needs for alternative sustaining technologies. They work and judgment required to sort through it—is increasing dramatically. functionality to their products and serWhen assessing whether they can implement changes. Christensen tomers in premium markets. values have a and values. The companies have the resources—the people. meant not to change—or if they must. managers will look for the requisite knowledge. the information availcoordination. these innovations are inconsistent with the values. Disruptive innovations bring to market a new product or service that is actually worse along the metrics of performance most valued by mainstream customers.Change Innovation Assess Your Capabilities You need a framework to avoid wishful thinking. are valuable and flexible. include those by which product development. managers must scrutinize whether their processes and values fit the problem. In evaluating whether people are capable of executing a job. whether an idea for a new ple. and the pace of change was slower. and able to managers—as well as the decision-making are processes. manufacturing. T Creating Capabilities A manager who determines that an employee is incapable of succeeding at a task would either find someone else to do the job or train the person. When manwith change weren’t so good. budThe Internet exacerbates this trends. gross margins that at one point were attractive later seem unattractive. tively identify resources. Large companies often surrender emerging growth markets because smaller. This capability resides in their processes. because the disruptive products promise lower profit margins per unit sold and can’t be used by their best customers. and processes. designs. Processes managers’ track records in dealing evolve to address tasks. product product is attractive or marginal. Disruptive innovations occur so seldom that no company has a routine process for handling them. and relationships with suppliers. dis. Yet resource analysis does not tell a sufficient story. Few think as rigorously about whether their organizations have the capability to successfully execute jobs. Values carries an ethical conzation can do: resources. services. When asking what innobroader meaning as the criteria by vations you’ll implement. they often add overhead cost. disruptive companies are more capable of pursuing them. But their processes and values constitute disabilities. managers instinc. Processes are not as flexible as re5 Leadership Excellence . brands. Sustaining or Disruptive Technologies Sustaining technologies are innovations that make a product or service better along the dimensions of performance valued by customers in the mainstream market. Resources include peoimportant. in that they promise higher margins from better products sold to their leading-edge customers. it is what their employees and leaders saw likely to perform efficiently.• Values.vices to capture more attractive cusby Clayton M. Cash. judgment. to change Capabilities Framework through controlled procedures. The patterns of interaction. as companies grow. Resources tion. and into products and services of greater worth. money. Managers need a framework to help them understand whether their organizations are capable or incapable of tackling the challenge. technology. Resources are usually things or assets—they can Managers need to train people to make decisions about priorities that be hired and fired. But when the same process is employed to tackle in a way that enabled them to keep a different task. As a result. bought and sold. tributors. for As companies add features and example. they try to match the requirements of the job with the capabilities of the individuals charged to do it. perspective. Sustaining technology investments also fit the values of the leading companies. inherently inflexible. When managers assign employees slow and inefficient. they tend to lose the capability to enter emerging markets. communication. procurement. Hence. cash.whether to invest or not invest in new products. and technology—to succeed at both sustaining and disruptive technologies. As they introduce improved products to gain a competitive edge. Industry leaders introduce sustaining technologies over and over again.
you others have done. customers. When people internalize a new Principle 2: Explore. To assure agendas I follow for meetings reflect sustained change. Values that focus priorities on large customers can’t focus priorities on small customers. investors. and exercise more. courage to make the change happen. They then need to ask: Does the organization have the processes and values to succeed? Few managers ask this question because the processes by which work is done and the values by which employees make their decisions have served them well. Managers who determine that their capabilities aren’t suited for a new task are faced with three options: 1) acquire a different organization whose processes and values are a close match with the new task. It test by reflecting on these questions: becomes a new identity where being Do I know what matters most to: and acting occur without thinking. Most assume that the weight or two. question. Sustained change or priority. seeking people who have counter-intuitive ideas. then you will accord low priority to the project. LE Clayton Christensen is a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. you need to figure shift means that we internalize new out options to get it done. most? Am I easily distracted? Without To let an old identity die requires focus. Exploring principles and associated practices so options means looking for alternathat actions come naturally. Managers who are confronting change must first determine that they have the resources required to succeed. and focusing on what We need to change the delivers the most value. tives. trusting others to change are not assimilatdo the detail work. behavior fall short when diets or proMoving up in leadership means movgrams that we depend on to cause ing on. ask the simple may begin with actions. it is not easy to do it. selected. do not address hard problems. your capabilities also define your disabilities. if there is a strong. from actions to identity. orities in my public presentations and my private conversations? Do the But. It is simple to say Can I define what matters most to “we have to lose weight” and we need me? Do I communicate the same prito eat less. requires a new identity. Question 2: change. is tied to a diet and well than try to do too may things that I will return to my former size. but want?” Knowing what is must evolve to adopting a wanted requires reflectidifferent identity and ing on what could be assimilating a new way of done. and experimenting Change How You Change I ACTION: Assess your processes and values. even those that we enemy of great. they can sponsor others. Some things that are important to do may simply not be by Dave Ulrich priorities. Then what matters most hapdor about the need for change. Each one aligns with a question you need to ask of yourself and your team: Principle 1: Focus. prioritizes. but then getting thinking and acting. 2) try to change the processes and values of the organization. innovation. Some things are so important to do they are worth doing poorly. they won’t endure. If there is a poor or disruptive fit. canpeople. Best intentions to change always make hard decisions correctly. A focus sorts. The processes that make an organization good at outsourcing can’t make it good at developing components inhouse. “What do I checklists. It is better to do a few things loss. ask. you try to be all things to all clarity about what has to change. they take ownership for it. or 3) separate out an independent organization and develop within it the new processes and values required to solve the new problem. way we think about To determine the focus change. People ask me they personally champion. and habits. you can expect that the energy and resources of the organization will coalesce behind it. So. accepting what I can do that no one else can do? personal ownership for the new iden. and tools. sustaining fit. Having a focus requires that a leader N RECENT YEARS . However. exploring what patterns. Question 1: What do I want? Focus on the desired new identity. eat right. or from checklists to transformation. and employees? Making change an identity shift is simple but not easy. Change Principles need to learn and apply six principles. However. We have never seen a company succeed in addressing a change that disrupts its mainstream values absent the personal oversight of the CEO. routines. Leaders need to know are good and right. having forums Six Principles for dialogue. Assess whether your values will allocate to the new initiative the resources it will need to succeed. not being locked To make the shift from events to into traditional ways. and breakthrough thinking. but can only own one how. Only the CEO can ensure that the new organization gets the required resources and is free to create processes and values appropriate to the new challenge.sources—and values are even less so. I may only have limited priorities that have lost a lot of weight. are the processes by which work gets done appropriate for this new problem? And will the values cause this initiative to get high priority or languish? Understanding problems is the most crucial step in solving them. Good is the Most changes. and is author of The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail and Leading for Innovation. and do them poorly. You pass the focus shift in thinking and behaving. weight loss must those priorities? Am I clear about come from a change in identity— letting go of an old identity. Innovation often seems to be so difficult because managers employ highly capable people and then set them to work within processes and values that aren’t designed to facilitate success. and pens least. In O b s e r v e s i x p r i n c i p l e s . 6 Leadership Excellence .Am I clear about what I want to be known for? What percent of my time tity. and turning the actions into patdo I spend on things that matter terns. and change not everything worth doing is worth doing well. Wishful thinking can set teams charged with developing and implementing an innovation on a course fraught with frustration. Identity what is wanted. It What are my options? Once you know becomes part of who they are. highlights what matters most. clear about what is wantAssimilation requires a ed in the situation. Sustained change ing the right priorities. or change.
At some point. do I find ways to talk about the option and imbue the message with new metaphors. In change. and involving key people. testing alternatives. Ponder these questions: Am I clear about the path I will take to reach my goals? Have I passed the calendar test? Have I dedicated 20 percent of my time in the next 90 days on the option I have chosen? Have I passed the rhetoric test? In every speech. They set an agenda.com. Look for lead customers who might engage in a new project. LE Dave Ulrich is a professor of business administration at the University of Michigan and has authored and co-authored many books including The Boundaryless Organization (Jossey-Bass). Leaders who act to sustain change will need to surround themselves with those who model the desired changes. With a focus. Adopt the mantra: Think big. A pattern of decisions shapes an identity. They forge a new identity for themselves and their organization. They can see so many ways to do a project that they never get around to doing it. and adapt and improve what they do and how they do it. Decisions protocols also turn a direction and path into a set of choices. and engage others. and claim their path with boldness. Principle 4: Decide. learn always. clarity and rigor. but claim the unique combination that works best. Question 4: What decisions do I need to make? The leader must now decide to make things happen. improvements. define a path. explore their options with insight. Just as leadership is a choice. Principle 5: Act. As actions accumulate. Look for early adopters of a new idea. finding out what others have done. To claim an option requires personalizing the change and answering the question.josseybass. what meetings to hold. which option works best. first steps. they lead. and ownership. The tracking indicators should lead to insights. others begin to expect the new identity and its actions. They take a stand and become known for something. It makes the identity something that the leader petitions and claims. • Start small. You must weigh in and figure out what helps or hinders your goal. they more likely accept the decision. They recognize things that could be done. they become patterns. As you follow this protocol. but others judge our identity by our actions. A leader chooses how to spend time. start small. you should look for early signs of success by identifying lead indicators of what is or is not working. and they gain or lose credibility by the extent to which they accomplish their claim. but also why they personally want to do it. 4) How will we make a good decision? This involves knowing the quality level the decision requires. Seek a lot of people making small changes. Question 6: How will I know and grow? Sustained change requires follow-up. leaders should ensure that the option is congruent with personal values. Make actions part of the new identity. To pass these tests. asking the right people for input. monitoring and learning. Deadlines generate commitment to action. leaders pass a calendar test of their time. They talk publicly and privately about the direction they are headed and the path to get there. ACTION: Change how you change. Seek small. Explore the options for creating that new identity and examinine each option. and the key decisions that will move the change along and shape a new pattern or identity. 7 . you pass the decisiveness and decision test. Leaders observe events. Leaders stake. and upgrades. Clarity of decisions leads to lucent actions. 2) Who will make the decision—and who is accountable for the decision? 3) When will the decision be made? Work expands to fill the time provided. and what issues to address. “What do I think?” This question internalizes an identity. learning can’t occur. • Involve others. they monitor progress.with new ideas and learning from those experiments. You not only know what you want. try new things. New identity requires letting go of old actions consistent with an old identity. so is the identity that follows from what and how leaders make decisions. who to spend time with. These six principles and questions help you move from the tyranny of todo lists. claim. When people feel heard. Try this “four 3s” methodology: 1) 3 hours: What can I do in the next three hours to make progress? 2) 3 days: What can I do in the next three days to make progress? 3) 3 weeks: What can I do in the next three weeks to sustain progress? And 4) 3 months: What can I do in the next three months to show progress? In three months. an emotional test of their passion and energy. while ambiguity leads to delayed or random acts. www. Change requires a social support network. what information to process. As old actions are replaced with new ones. accessing the right information. own. symbols. Thoughtful leaders ask four questions: 1) What decisions do I need to make? Leaders focus on the few key decisions they need to make. you know what you want and explore alternative paths to make it happen. Being clear about decisions and protocols enables leaders to shape an identity. We often judge ourselves by our intent. actions may be delayed or misguided. In the absence of decision. and are accountable for their choices. she creates an identity. When people know the why they accept the what. options. Question 5: What actions do I need to take? A new iden- tity requires new actions. • Let go. Principle 6: Learn. see patterns. • Sustained change takes time. and a resource test of the investments required to deliver on the option. are self-aware about strengths and weaknesses. They don’t claim a choice or decide on a solution. think critically and creatively about problems. Principle 3: Claim. events. and images? Have I passed the passion test? Do I put Leadership Excellence my energy into the path I have chosen? Is my direction and path consistent with what I believe? Do I feel passion for it? When leaders declare their desires with a focus. you know the options. Without indicators to track progress. They must explain not only why the company wants to do something. Question 3: What do I think? Some leaders get lost in the options game. Through this pattern of decisions. and programs to the assimilation of a new identity. they put energy and passion into these paths. These questions will help you to explore options: Have I looked inside and outside my industry for best practices and new ideas? Have I tapped into the expertise to accomplish what I desire? Have I assigned creative and talented people to explore options that might work and given them resources and support to generate ideas? With focus and exploration. fail fast. and a new identity is forged. old patterns may be replaced by new patterns. leaders need to claim the option that will achieve the focus.
by Judith Glaser and Nancy Snell Interpreting Meta-Messages Fear is a natural response to a perception about the future. They know that metamessages live inside of every communication. • Keep an open mind even if you disagree with what is being said so you can understand employee concerns. Leadership Excellence . LE Judith E. Clarify what employees are saying before drawing conclusions or making assumptions.com. Lack of shared focus. and confusion will result. how Tips for Leaders well our leaders interpret and inteHow can you as a leader build an grate the dynamics and complexities environment where people feel safe? of workplace life for us. turning to other leaders outside the team for advice and information. Mixed messages cause employees to 8 retreat into fear. but do not ask questions to clarify understanding.com. misunderstanding. Inevitably employees will think one thing while you say something else. Evaluate information without bias. It is woven invisibly into the fabric of our existence and often sets into motion a chain of reactions and circumstances. The key to reducing fear at work is direct and clear communication that eliminates mixed messages— the catalytic driver of fear. minimize misunderstandings. Management’s self-serving and exclusionary approaches cause isolation and fear among employees. Low morale due to leadership’s inability to acknowledge the truth causes fear. and fear. which causes resentment—another form of fear. Lack of communication opens the door to paranoia (the ultimate fear response). and decisionmaking policies enhances isolation. It shows up as people start distrusting your leadership capability. Great leaders put themselves in someone else’s shoes temporarily in an effort to interpret these events for them in a straightforward and truthful way. and that’s what you want to release. Create a safe environment so they know that you are there for them. and direction. yet fail to do so. www. Nancy Snell. we can’t do our best. listen actively so that you can respond. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications and author of Creating WE and The DNA of Leadership (Platinum Press.nancysnell. speaking in hushed tones. set the context for inclusion: • Don’t be afraid to stand up for your people. Mixed messages create a metaphorical moat. For example. you set the context for mixed messages. As a result. security. Communicative people are less fearful and more secure because they know where they stand. Unless leaders set a clear and explicit context for this communication. Failure to develop team agreements. Our sense of security and well being are profoundly affected by how well we are kept in the vital loop. As time passes. Negativity and complaining become both the cause and effect of fear. For example. you leave your team without a leader. 212-517-6488. and building mountains out of molehills. Instead of allowing mixed-messages and worst-case scenarios to take over. Be genuinely interested and acknowledge good effort and accomplishments for others to see. Positive emotional connection is good for business. Lack of interpersonal communication causes more emotion. Be a change agent. strategies. Emotions have a dramatic effect on our success. As leaders we need to ensure that fear does not consume our workplaces and degrade the performance of our people. In doing so. fear starts to dominate your team. control. Dealing with it by unraveling mixed messages will have a big bottom-line payoff. Walk the talk—people will know that they can trust you. • Accept responsibility for the impact of the way you are communicating. ACTION: Turn down fear and turn up clarity. Worstcase scenarios seem to be whispered. F EAR SOMEHOW TOUCHES ALMOST every aspect of our lives. they reside in fear. and without the security of knowing where we stand. Lack of respect for others undermines security.People Fear Diminishing Fear Unravel all of your mixed messages. is a certified professional coach and director on the board of the NYC—ICF. purpose. • Respond rather than react. and vision creates confusion. and refusing to address rumors directly. forward movement. you send meta-messages. Give constructive feedback. Understanding how unspoken fear is affecting your business. Listen to the logic and the emotion—convey that you hear what is being said at all levels. CEC. Repeat what employees say and ask questions to uncover hidden implications. Failure to tap the inner talent and creativity causes deeper isolation and fear. they create a sense of calmness. and one-on-one side conversations echo the halls. Ask questions to hear concerns. We don’t know which side of the river we are standing on. you may fail to keep your team in the loop. 212-307-4386. Fear elevates under certain conditions. Take timely action. and they strive to create clarity and understanding. Employee fear often becomes the ever-present fabric when their managers and leaders are suddenly behind closed doors. not amplify. employees create their own worstcase scenarios. Be sure that reviews are realistic so that people know exactly where they stand at all times. When having vital conversations about the future direction. 2005). When you talk at employees and give directives.creatingwe. www. Soon your people feel disconnected from your activities. Remember emotions don’t always reside in logic. if you seek new business. This sends a very direct message. They are less afraid to ask the awkward questions and less intimidated to have difficult conversations. when you say you care about keeping people in the loop. Say what you mean and mean what you say! • Don’t be a people pleaser—speak the truth. creating concentric circles of communication with others. Acknowledge employees’ issues and points of view.
They carry a lot of permanence around inside themselves. They define value and permanence • Herd instinct. but they may experience it as an unwelcome flood that they have to work around or as where water flows naturally downhill. tempers their anxiety during bad out possessing it. Most of us invest Many hardworking employees live they reconnect with an essential part a lot of blood. The herd repEach time they connect with someone. and sense rally downhill deep inside themselves. and An employee with WITS can enerideas or to regain their perspective. Like expert gardeners. sweat. It rests on bedrock and has the than being loved. They know how to create a Their jobs drain them. Locating our inner spring and figuring out what to direction and sustenance. Each member suspends judgif we knew how to use that wellspring ment and choice in deference to the rary. gize himself and others even when he it calls to them. tangible finished product mesmerizes They are wise. That indicates a natural ever losing complete touch with either. This perspective increases many people end up on molehills one else does. You may not know Think about those moments when ing others is unthinkable to WITS. Each animal their fuel and why change doesn’t do with it can be a tricky process. with a wide range of people. Your inner spring is sarily love their protégés. thoughtyou. so it’s hard to tell when you’re doing that you enter a state of identify your distinctive talents is to they may need support. and spunky. and enables them to empathize a lot of good people astray.experience is always present and power to inspire. They cultivate growth ignore the call of water flowing natuwith great energy. flows like water downhill—naturally drop by precious drop. WITS not only help colleagues transcendence. Or. you may discount it as ordinary or unnecessary. ple do see where water flows naturally downhill for them.their gratitude during good times. The herd instinct How much simpler life would be if refers to animals that all look alike and very differently than most people. loss and challenge. Springs begin deep underground. spreadWITS not so much for what they do sheets. but the people They pull themselves up by their own you lose track of time. Perhaps they turn to you reservoir of permanent experience. but creating a boundaries and helping others thrive. and even if behave alike without much individual that connection turns out to be tempo. In honest moments. sign points the way. but for what they elicit from others. and exchange for insulation. you’ve identified a spot where water flows naturally downhill for you. if you do. and tears digging their entire careers inside the herd. and they watch culture that invites growth. not conbeing understood is more important experience they’ve had.flowed naturally downhill for us. sacrifices its identity and freedom in paralyze them. Their pool of trived. HAT DO PEOPLE deplete WITS. Your own unique artesian well is such an essential part of you that you might not see it. People seek colleagues with They’re resilient and empathetic you lose yourself in numbers. They’re in touch Instinct and the Power of Confusion lead with a sense of wonder and purpose. of calling. Do strength. WITS are attuned to the sound of when they struggle to articulate their water flowing naturally downhill. which encourlike frauds. the feelings that accompany it herd. and adds to their show them how to honor and refine it. of themselves: a deep inner place Capitalize on Talent W Leadership Excellence 9 . Perhaps set is ideally suited to removing abstract ideas bore you. and detail? Maybe it’s writing.ties to help others. we all knew exactly where water WITS value connection. dripping faucet in the This inner spring replenishes them and helps explain why change doesn’t background that they block out in order to concentrate on their career. but they also transform volumes of data into a con. Some peoK e e p y o u r W I T S a b o u t y o u . they often stay hidden there. This is where WITS get to our best advantage. times. The idea of drainand effortlessly. cise exhibit. When do you around you do. WITS are curious about what It takes a lot of misspent energy to makes people tick. speaking. one way to find yourself so absorbed in what bootstraps. it merely ushers in turn to you for? more opportunities for connection and They don’t see it for what it really is: Maybe people seek talent. innovative. They bring out the people in miscast roles because they best in others. itating. In fact. Change deepens their you out because you know how to sense of purpose.locate their inner spring. So why do so may understand them in a way that no highly complex but nimble perspective on life. and thought. unsatisfying success. They build their careers on ages people to change their behavior a pebble of talent and experience debiland improve their performance. and big-concept thinking WITS refers to people whose skill that come naturally to you. They experilook at the dependencies you create in ence adversity and happiness without flow? This is a good indicator that others. instead of on mountaintops? The Herd WITS invest in the environment with. purpose. swaddled existence. it himself is undergoing great personal bring their inner spring to the surface. what’s natural for you. Members look to the herd for are permanent. They help people Whatever your distinctive talent. presents opportuni. they feel change safe and fun. The corporate world is full of ful. This gives them a your piece of greatness. Sometimes because they’re in touch with every real mountain is natural. but they accessible to them. by Michelle Gall an annoying. A draws people to them. People don’t neces. This makes the clock. and that’s what make a mountain out of a molehill. No neon resents a small.People Talent holes that lead nowhere.
They remind colleagues how important it is to find the right fit. Without their inner spring to guide them. ACTION: Fit your talent to their roles. and you will have partners. You talk differently to partners. The brighter you are and the more choices you have. Unless you make an effort to discover in what ways you do this. Make it happen. It is harder to get a real feel for what is happening. It is not just what you say. LE Michelle Gall is an executive coach. stakeholders. this is what I want—and there could be consequences if I don’t get it. Herds travel together on common ground for a common cause. and problems. the less direct experience you have of customers. ACTION: Create partners with your people.com. www. your delivery would create part- W HO WOULD YOU nership. You want to do the right thing and live up to your potential. not individuality. you may be the senior partner. So. WITS do this naturally and creatively because developing others is their talent. An exceptional culture translates into a sustainable competitive advantage. When you act as a superior. Have you ever kept quiet when superiors were creating problems? What caused you to withhold your counsel? I guarantee you they were being “the boss.” What is the message? It’s not just “Get the order done now. and bearing was signaling you that they were the boss and you were the subordinate. but you may discourage people from giving you inconvenient information. You might ask. “Can you tell me more about that or give an example to help me understand it better?” • Ask questions until you have clarity on the points. body language. our inner spring has presence whether we acknowledge it or not. One key difference between the behavior of a “boss” and a “partner” is the way you talk.Individuality (where water flows naturally downhill) undermines the herd order of things and is repressed. LE Ira Chaleff is president of Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates and author of The Courageous Follower: Standing Up To and For Our Leaders. “This client wants his order fulfilled now.” Everything about their tone. and yet most leaders don’t know how to identify or find these valuable people—or don’t appreciate how WITS contribute to a healthy culture. So what? The higher you go. 10 Leadership Excellence . • Thank the individual or group making these points. Management People Creating Partners by Ira Chaleff Stop having subordinates. the more confusing life can be. That’s why so many people end up ricocheting through corporate life. To a subordinate. some of it rubbed off on you. WITS help colleagues define themselves and their relationships. • Invite this truth-teller to sit in on more meetings and after each one give you feedback on anything you did that made others act as subordinates. author. People have a very human need to belong. You become more dependent on good information and insight from those who are in touch. Find a way to reward the honesty. however. WITS respond to that presence and feel compelled to cultivate it. Locate your potential WITS. This defuses the Herd Instinct and disables the Power of Confusion. and speaker. Most people can’t resist the siren song of the common herd. verbal language. Don’t interrogate—just clarify. It would be easier for you to capitalize on your distinctive talents if life weren’t so confusing. Don’t argue. Creating Partners To create partners. Experience usually helps you define what you don’t like—not discover what you do like and what you’re good at. “Can you make it happen?” You would seek the individual’s knowledge. especially when it differs from the one you believe is out there. By doing this you will have the selfawareness to create partners. That’s how corporations end up with a swaddled workforce that is disconnected from the marketplace. not subservience. but how you say it. Reflect on your career. You will also have earned their trust. You might be just as clear about what you want and when. You talk differently to folks below you than to folks across from or above you. not underlings or subordinates. They will give you their best advice and enthusiastically support decisions that are based on reality. you want the former. Act as a partner. You likely think that you already extend this invitation. • Power of confusion. you will have subordinates. and mutual commitment. Whether you admired their style or not.” but it’s also “I’m the boss. convey your gratefulness. No company can thrive without WITS. you might say. Yes. “How can we do that?” Or. Like a hidden magnet that attracts iron filings across a sheet of paper. you will continue to do so. The result is a bigger herd that keeps trampling over the same ground. after the meeting ask the individual who is likely to be forthright. try this exercise: • Start every meeting with a question: “Is there anything I’m not getting about this issue that you think I should?” • Whatever the answer. but its productivity is limited to what the entire herd can or will perform. A herd can still be productive. rather have at your side in a tough spot? A partner who shares full responsibility for decisions and their outcomes? Or a subordinate who does just what you say and shuts up about ideas he has that may be better? Rationally.exe-coach. • If no one spoke up. Keep Your WITS About You. “What am I doing that keeps everyone from talking?” • If this individual gives you insight into how you discourage feedback. responsibility. you may choose the latter. Conformity determines a herd’s survival. This article is an excerpt from her book. even smart people can mistake molehills for mountains and pap for vision.com. This often means that performance is determined by the lowest common denominator. • Incorporate what makes sense into the decisions. The herd feeds and responds to this common need. but they are still partners. they need to feel invited to tell you the reality they see. respond with interest and ask. They help colleagues discover their natural talents.michellegall. emotionally.” It doesn’t require a dramatic act to make the point that the receiver is your subordinate. www. Are you aware of how often and in how many ways you send similar messages? This is not how you would talk to a partner. Education often raises expectations without providing clarity. but you have no idea what that is. Chances are you learned from them what a boss looks and sounds like.
Your company. Catch employees in the act of going to matter and what isn’t. and decide to make valuing your right. you the value of things. increase the possibility that employees So. search for the value or worth of whatWhen I interviewed the leaders of ever or whomever you come in conthese companies. by Noelle Nelson want to step up to the plate for you. It’s not just a catchy phrase—it’s a solutions to future problems. Adopt an appreciative focus. two out of three workers say they didn’t receive a single word of praise or simple recognition in the past year. or supervisor—what process. And the cost is considerable. Your business cannot help but prosper. hiring. and training new hires? How much time—productivity—is lost in the process? And what about absenteeism and lack of motivation and enthusiasm? Because those who aren’t quitting. pany. It’s scientific. you think. Yet. are coming to work less often. and more valuable to your How? It all starts with you— whether you’re the owner. on everything that’s going wrong as Appreciation is not just another you come to work: all the problems word for gratitude.therefore more willing to do what it takes to see it through. and you determine what is 3. the number 1 reason people leave jobs is lack of appreciation—not low pay. Take time to acknowledge the The reason appreciation works so positive reports from your managers. everything that’s going right. innovative. not too many hours. becomes your way of doing business? Companies such as Southwest Airlines and See’s Candies have embraced the appreciation approach. Appreciation has a real and measurable impact on your bottom line. longevity. catching people doing something those you manage will appreciate right. something of value. The result? Southwest Airlines is making money while its competitors are filing for bankruptcy. by valuing your employees. and profitability in Appreciation is an active. or too few benefits. we have enormous impact. Businesses effectively valuing their employees enjoy triple the returns on equity. and most emphatically fail to word appreciation is used in the marvalue. So often. art appreciates—they eyes. This is the way the ignore. ask employees what they think might resolve the issue. When you see value in people. the value of your being made. See’s Candies has tremendous customer Leadership Excellence M OST OF US THINK Here are five ways you can appreciate beyond Employee of the Month: 1. vices as having tremendous value. who’s going the extra business skyrockets. When valued this way. spectacularly is scientific: Appreciation ask for more details. We say “good job” for work well done. Studies reveal that the degree to which people feel their company recognizes employee excellence results in dramatic differences to the company’s bottom line. purposeful an industry fraught with competition. Well. Five Ways to Appreciate we appreciate our employees. returns on assets. What do you think can happen—what does happen—when you have an entire culture of appreciation? When an obsession with value. In the process. and higher operating margins. In truth. those people will business spontaneously. department business. you is an energy that attracts like energy. especially since they often know the workings of their particular job or department better than anyone. Look at your business with new gold appreciates. Appreciation is that you must somehow solve or deleabout recognizing and caring about gate to be solved. focus on only catching employees If you see your products and serdoing something wrong.People Appreciation Culture of Appreciation Yo u r a s s e t s w i l l i n c r e a s e i n v a l u e a n d w o r t h . mile. ate and find of value in every person. is far more them in the same way. 2. ketplace: we say that land appreciates. when employees are part of the solution-making head. When problems inevitably arise. most workers will try to produce good solutions. where the greatest progress is number-one priority. By using this approach. others will not always solve problems for you. you are acknowledging your employees’ value before usurping it with yours. you increase the chances that they will. your focus is they have a culture of appreciation. When you are genuinely concerned every moment of the day. loyalty. Many times. but by valuing your workers’ ability to do so. If you see the beneficial to your business. In addition. we give out Employee of the Month awards. Search for what you can appreciall increase in value and in worth. Your business. with less zeal and less commitment. you will become proactive and eagerly seek attract value from them. and be enthusiastic about what they have to say.managers to report what’s working ple. manager. I’m grateful. People quit first because they don’t feel appreciated! How much does turnover cost you? How much do you spend in recruiting. with the worth of people and situations. You doing something right. Ask your with the value and worth of your peo. And by acknowledging their value. but who feel unappreciated. you set the pace. Problem-solve with appreciation. “That’s the other guy—I appreciate. And that’s just when employee excellence is appreciated. Like attracts like. Like attracts like.” Yet. people who work for you as having Make a habit of walking around the tremendous value. I discovered that tact with. you scientific reality you can use to your free them to be more creative. Of course. You set the tone. they own the solution and are you think and what you feel affects every person involved with your com. more direct benefit. And who incurs the cost? You. and we honor our top producers. Using the 11 .
the Board loses confidence. If you want to see the tremendous advantage an appreciative approach can make. Corporation X misses badly on its commitments several quarters in a row and the stock plummets. technology businesses. From you. By fostering a culture that acknowledges good acts within your community. Management Alignment Strategic Alignment Learn how to execute effectively. We want to be appreciated for who we are and want the opportunity to be winners. and the goals of each key contributor. and reinforcement. LE Gerard A. This is best done by using simple measures of key performances (KBMs= key business metrics.ThePowerOfAppreciationInBusiness. We are all starved for recognition. Collect stories of work done well. and do it clearly and simply. Wanting to know their thoughts lets employees know that what they think and say is valuable. or KPMs=key performance metrics) that can be connected to the employee’s annual performance review.com. Look workers in the eye. 5. Celebrate workers’ good acts outside of work as well.noellenelson. Strategic alignment. Celebrate the value of those who are deserving. Implementing strategic alignment requires a strong commitment from the top leadership and a focus on frequent communication using simple management principles of focus.” Ask employees what they’re working on now. the CEO “resigns. the key element is strategic alignment. Yet not much happens in terms of deliverables! Ambitious year-end targets are missed. Discourage negative talk and gossip about anyone or anything. www. Specific comments are much more appreciated. Since many corporations and their leadership teams try to gain strategic alignment. I T IS AN ALL-TOO-FAMILIAR What is Strategic Alignment? Strategic alignment is the linkage between the goals of the business. The objectives are incorporated into our annual performance targets and support the key goals of our leaders. clarity. 2) it results in increased speed of execution. In the end. Create a culture of appreciation. we use a cascading set of goals that measure the progress of the strategic implementation. An international speaker. Link the results of each employee’s job to the progress of the entire corporation strategy. Improvement curves keep being shifted to the right. 2. use their name. He is best known for his C-level leadership in global. and profitability. It is even more critical today when employees often have a variety of career choices and move on when they feel unappreciated. a $400 million global manufacturing powerhouse of Thermo Electron. is everyone rowing in the same direction. we have seen many such reports. Questions arise as to why these events occur: What has gone wrong and why? Are the goals too aggressive? Are the visions or strategies inadequate? Are middle managers unable to execute? If the answer is yes to all these questions. In recent years. business units. It is a paradigm shift. Appreciation is not a fad or technique. results fall short of expectations. This ensures focus and alignment as employees deliver on their objectives. Don’t trash or bash others. ACTION: Appreciate your people. Abraham is president of Process Instruments Division. LE Dr. her latest book is The Power of Appreciation in Business (MindLab Publishing). and 4) it boosts motivation by giving people a keener sense of contribution to the results of their groups and the corporation as a whole. Both teams populate long PowerPoint presentations and exhaustive spreadsheet files. Noelle Nelson is a psychologist and business trial consultant. which quantify the progress of the implementation of the strategy toward the vision. author and seminar leader. At Thermo Electron Corporation. and departments. The success of TV reality shows is predicated on our need to be valued and to be seen as valuable. your company will reap the benefits. however. gerard. Saying “You’re doing a great job” isn’t as meaningful as saying. divisions. Tell them how their “good act” was noticed and what it means to you and to the company.com. Abraham scenario. but few corporations realize them.com. 12 Leadership Excellence . for genuine applauding of our talents and skills. Lead by example. infuse your business with appreciative thoughts and practices. As a result. Management teams come up with supportive annual budgets. Make heroes of the men and women who work for and with you. ACTION: Execute strategic alignment. The leadership team spends long hours agreeing on a strategy to improve performance. by Gerard A. and the restructure begins. Once implemented properly. then why is it so? All are good questions. nnelson@dr. Objectives are rolled back up the “goal tree” in reviews of goals. Engage them in conversation about their work. These are great results. Don’t indulge in “the economy is terrible. company meetings. then.” or “meetings are a waste of time” conversations. It all starts with you. The tighter the linkage and the better the alignment. We have all been there. including groups. let workers know that you appreciate a specific aspect of their effort. Even where top-level executives show signs of “vision” and articulate what seems to be a sound business strategy on paper.” “stockholders are a nuisance. Know enough about what workers are doing in different departments so you can make meaningful comments about their contributions. email@example.com reports gleaned from your department heads. effective execution of strategic alignment is a leader’s top priority and ensures that goals are met and success achieved. and operational business reviews—enables each employee to understand vividly how he or she can contribute. appreciation can spread to the great benefit of your performance. This “waterfall effect” or “goal tree” starts at the top and cascades down. a new approach. and be genuinely interested in their comments. productivity. Communicate extensively to help people understand the elements of the vision and of the key strategic directions. 3) it promotes team efforts toward common goals. “The specs you wrote up on Project X really made a difference to our customer. Repetition by the leadership and management teams at every opportunity—including sales meetings. the likelihood of flawless execution becomes stronger.” and a new CEO is appointed who announces a restructure. what barriers must be overcome? I see two key components of successful strategic alignment: 1. strate- gic alignment delivers four major advantages: 1) it allows an efficient use of usually scarce resources. regardless of position or department.
Customerfocused engagement occurs when employee work groups are committed to (and passionate about) delivering excellent service to their customers. ment requires a special survey—not coordinated effort in serving customers. feel safe to make decisions. HR policies. Leadership Excellence Engaging employees is not simply a matter of telling them what to do. Organizations that Engaged employees (focused on ensure their HRM systems promote customers) feel passionate about procustomer satisfaction—who gets hired. trusting of their manager. employees receive • Satisfied employcomes from cues ees feel pleasant. and customer satisfaction. ACTION: Boost your customer satisfaction. involved in their in performance management—prowork. Immediate managers.Time passes quickly. they are more a dramatic impact on your financial engaged in their customer service. They establish rela. Raising customer-focused give. Job design.before you make changes. they feel involved. of service quality and customer satis4. A mere one point rise in your ASCI score can boost your ROI as reasonable and attainable. The way to change someone’s work behavior is to first change the way loyee engagement. It takes time and effort to nurture an environment where engagement can take root and grow. take risks. And they what is important. There is a difference between employ3. employee engagement periodically to support coworkers so that they can gauge progress. 858-488-7594. everything employ• In contrast. content. In fact.Benjamin Schneider is the CLO of Valtera Corporation. and set ed to expend extra goals for service effort in their work or excellence. you will increase customer satisfaction. but ones that also provide a “stretch. resources and information. T HE FASTEST TICKET TO Evidence for Engagement Will an investment in employee engagement pay for itself through increased customer satisfaction? We measured satisfaction levels of 50 firms using the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).” and “The norm here is to help customers. many find that improving service quality and customer satisfaction can be elusive. Tailor your programs around six areas: 1. The first step to achieving both is to raise employee engagement. tive to ensure consistent service.4 percent! 2. ensuring a collective. When you increase customer-focused engagement. Service message. customer They go the extra mile in the interest satisfaction likely won’t emerge. and low service excellence. To measure customer-focused engagement.” When we mapped the employee survey results for each company against ASCI score for that company. it can have do their jobs well. and effort required to do the work is easy to faction. tend to have low Managers must recabsenteeism. When employees feel faction. excellent service. not just fill and other assessment tools to measure orders. LE provide service excellence. Most of the seree satisfaction and vice message engagement. a special type of employee engagement. we found that the higher the level of customer-focused engagement. An accurate measure of employee engage. 13 . Employees won’t become engaged with service quality just because you wish them to. low ognize and reinforce turnover. With the right leadership. They are knowledge about employee engagecommitted to the goal of providing ment levels and customer satisfaction service excellence. satifrom their immediated. customer-focused engagement. Managers What Gets Measured Gets Attention play a big role in how employees feel about their jobs. and ate manager as to gratified.will create a culture of engagement in the work group. the employee satisfaction survey. You need baseline or speak up with concerns. Engagement is high when employee engagement translates into dollars on the bottom line. we see a direct correlation between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Benchmarking. But for those whose success hinges on delivering excellent customer service. Fairness and trust shown Before you can increase engageto the employees by their managers ment. bschneider@valtera.” by an average of 11. When your customers receive they have the resources they need to superior service every day. potentially employees are working to achieve specific difficult goals—goals they accept a lot of dollars. we asked employees to rate items like. They duce customer-focused engagement. But ensure that obstacles they may be neither to excellence are engaged nor motivatremoved. anticipate customer needs. are rated the highest in customer satis. health. has an even stronger impact.Management Engagement Creating CFEE Customer Satisfaction It begins with emp by Benjamin Schneider customer satisfaction is through consistent. ees experience engaged employees focuses their efforts behave in ways that on service quality enhance the customer experience. All organizations benefit from having an engaged workforce.com. viding excellent service. Use surveys tionships with customers. what is measured helping customers. “We help customers beyond what is required. the better the score on customer satisfaction. you can shape the environment to engage employees and focus their efforts where it matters most—on customer satisfaction. they feel about their jobs. energized by how they are trained. When jobs are challenging and allow employees to use Companies whose employees are highly engaged with customer service all of their talents. Resources. substance abuse. and find answers to customer questions. 6. As companies battle for competitive advantage. 5. Unless for customers. you first must measure it. take initia.
we put some teeth in our tracks for your people. but how of our vice presidents. it has been positive because it has driven far more conversations about issues between managers and their people.Management Culture Create a Great Place to Work Assess the way you now manage your people. When we first did the survey. we had to lay people off. In late 2001. and Leadership Excellence 14 . At great dialogue about what we togeth. “Tell Dell. We soon real. no one pays much attenbelieved and were committed to what tion to issues like “effective we were saying. would you take it? I feel like I can be successful and retain my individuality at Dell. The skepticism was driven by a when your stock is going up 300 per. what are we? What do we aspire to? What kind of company do we want to be?” Our president. Each year. and we use five of them as core metrics for measurements: My manager is effective at managing people. That’s what caught people’s attention. What was even more amazing is that this happened across the board—we got better everywhere. we can get better at a lot of things— even things that seem intangible. Kevin Rollins.” It is a statement opinion survey. “If we aren’t going to be a company where you can come in and be rich by noon tomorrow. We’re using simple metrics to measure change. In to be a winning culture. that has accounted for our suc. town-hall meetings. year. we focus on a different facet of leadership at Dell. Each year. We all share our expectations with our teams about leadership. dent. the first year. director.short.become a great place to work over cess.asm and great skepticism at the same pany for a long time—almost to the time. This has been a very positive experience for everyone. we decided employees would ized that we would have to broaden vote on whether or not we had made the definition of what we cared about. It is a powerful change mechanism—to stand in front of your team and discuss what you expect them to do differently.” People willeffort to improve the quality of maningly work very hard for long periods agement and improve the culture. Our leaders are reminded that if we put our minds to it. and other discussions to talk learning what it means to be a great about what we aspired to do—all of company and a great place to work. we advance what it means to be an effective leader at Dell. We continue The results were interesting. We did get 20 percent better! I think we were all surprised at how much progress we had made. which were met with great enthusiDell has been a results-driven com. It’s one-day long. they really pay attention?” The major The biggest gap was between change we made was to identify metwhere we were and where we wanted rics. And they discuss their own scores.concern about whether or not we cent a year. but will er aspired to become. We wanted to send a signal: early drafts of the documents with all The results are important. based on responses by employees. We because the payoff is so huge. which was to be expected. First. There are about 30 statements on the survey. but are broadening our definition of what it means to be a great company. They direct the senior team to share the results. After focusing more on performance for 15 years. So we startthat measured how well our managers ed to talk about what it would mean managed and how well leaders led. any progress. and on down the company. Our crisis of conscience came in 2001 when. we came up with what probably looks to outsiders like a beliefs-and-values statement. Slowly but surely. The enthusiasm was driven by exclusion of everything else! In many the view that we needed to do more to ways. behind programs. and had some you get results is also important. and winning. and manager to get 20 customers. plish it. In the end. in front of their peers. we went through a self-discovery process where we started to ask. If you had an opportunity to work some place other than Dell. When we did the second survey. to be with the Dell team. My manager gives effective feedback. when we came out with a beliefs-and-values statement E ARE KNOWN FOR our employees were a bit skeptical. We call decided to administer our employee it “The Soul of Dell.first people said. we’re getting better—as are our managers throughout the company. We shared before. Then each of us repeats that leadership training with our direct reports. beyond financial results. and we are sessions. and CEO Michael Dell began a dialogue about what it really means to be a great company and a great place to work. and accomplish. management” or “creating career Last year. we had a series of prohowever. and all leader-led (we never use consultants). They devote one day to teach our strategy committee—our senior-most decision-making group— about what it means to be a good leader. For our employees.” twice a of our aspirations as a company. My manager helps me manage my work/life balance. and we asked every vice presiThere are five aspects: the Dell team. direct relationships. And every year it starts with Michael and Kevin. But Michael and Kevin talk about it every time we get together as a senior management team. In our productivity. but also how we accomby Paul McKinnon W over 90 percent the second time we did it. Leadership Development For three years we have had a company-wide leadership program. global percent better results than the year citizenship. “That’s nice. which is amazing itself. to care very much about what we we got 90 percent participation worldwide. One thing I discovered is that time. it was fun. brown-bag ductivity are people. for the first time. we didn’t show much progress from earlier years.
and rapport. We also have short tutorial workshops for anyone who scores below 50 percent on any of the five items. Then. you can’t do this until you help the team members interact with each other on a level playing field. He’s the architect of Dell’s Winning Culture initiative. that you have been coaching a direct report on an important project. and create an atmosphere where people share information. 2) asking for ideas and you. is not about leading by committee or getting everyone together and asking. you do not disengage! You can’t expect what you don’t inspect. professional speaker. This enables them to make better decisions. Acting on input does not mean doing everything the group tells you to do. Facilitative leaders listen to multiple points of view. there are times when a leader can.” You are ultimately responsible for your group’s performance! Now. they will be punished. and the team will tell you what the final decision is. Again. Two years ago. for example. we set a goal to double the size of the company in five years—and we’re already ahead of pace to do that. We came at this from an opposite position. the leader stood in the middle of everything and directed the team with one-way communication. they step out of the middle and become a part of the team. they can step away from the day-to-day management.” and followers F ACILITATIVE LEADERSHIP would only ask. when you step away. Facilitative leaders capture the key kernels of information. I know that they know what the leadership issues are with me. The leader would say “jump. You can then be free to work on the more strategic elements of your job. but they are still in the middle directing the activities. they allow for twoway communication. but where leaders act on those inputs. Leadership Facilitation Facilitative Leadership Transform your organization. get people together to talk about how to improve operations and ask for input. If you’ve got an approval rate of higher than 75 percent. build bridges between people. “Well. We have put together a consistent worldwide management-development curriculum that defines expectations as well as builds skills. we still want to be better—not just on our business results. 4) requiring input. Our business continues to do very well. “What do you and you think?” Not everything can be decided by committee. 5) giving input to the team. what would that be?” Then they were asked to develop a 45-minute approach to teach that lesson. Once. That’s facilitative leadership. So. The role of the leader is changing. and the team will make the final decision after reviewing it with you. LE Paul McKinnon serves as senior VP for Dell Human Resources. and so I have to fess up and say.GlennBrome. Our European team. This affords even more communication among the members of the team. I feel very exposed during those conversations. in addition to doing what we’ve done. will make the final decision. as leaders continue to progress. The leaders are still responsible. but you need to ensure your people are on-track. to get people to follow them—not to push and micro-manage them. I’m proud to say that for a company on top of its game. let the group know if you are: 1) just asking for ideas and you. Leadership Excellence 15 . He is a leadership expert. the leader. So. where do we go from here? We will do the survey again this year. Clarity builds respect. you will want to talk with that direct report about what happened. we’ll ask you to stay at that level. and should. the leader. Many times a leader gives the impression that if the team members give honest input. It is the employee’s responsibility to achieve the goals. So you must be accessible. leaders must create a culture where people not only feel comfortable contributing ideas and suggestions. 3) requesting input so the final decision will be made together as a team. The front lines are not the place to take a straw poll. These are examples of how to explain your intentions when involving direct reports in decision-making. they take an hour and teach their lesson in leadership. It means making it clear to the group that their input is valued by defining how that input will be used. including those they do not agree with. It’s powerful to stand in front of your own team and lead a discussion about leadership. you become a facilitative leader. These skills are becoming more critical because the leader’s span at control is expanding! Now. Personally. but also in the way we manage our people. Even so. As leaders progress even more. Clearly you need to revisit the miscues. by Glenn Brome ACTION: Create a great place to work. asked their entire management team. ACTION: Create a facilitative culture. First. it’s hard to ask those people to get a 20 percent improvement when they are already doing so well. “What happened?” You might explain how you have been coaching a member of your team who let you down. LE Glenn Brome is the author of Facilitative Leadership. it’s powerful that our chairman and president are willing to spend a day to talk about this because it is a very revealing process. This is why the leader must clarify how the input will be used before asking for input. but. and author.” We have also used 360 assessments more with our VPs and directors. here’s what I think I need to work on. driving positive change in Dell’s goal to be viewed as a great place to work. He is responsible for all human resources functions and activities as well as security and global diversity. Almost every culture change has a back-to-basics emphasis because people tend to lose their focus on the business. Every time they meet with a new group or visit a new country. and have the courage to hold people accountable and not fold under pressure. For this process to work. you need the courage to also say. Your boss calls you in and asks. The project does not reach its target. They talk about things that they did well and poorly.com. trust. will discuss options with the group before making the final decision. www. “I am responsible. When you master these skills. Suppose. For instance. It puts our leaders up in front of our employees more consistently. but they do not push their people—they tend to pull. and I will make sure that it doesn’t happen again.then have them tell you what you need to do to improve. “If you were going to teach one lesson in leadership to the people on the Dell Europe team. “How high?” As leaders progress. continue to coach. and this time everyone will be expected to get at least 50 percent favorable responses on each question.
more mess You manage mess in a safe. You delicately presented in slick slidedon’t have a lot of time. the mess. and Step 6. Try taking these seven steps: Step 1. Innovative problemfirst play with the mess. urgency. disintermediation. our workplaces and our world also isolate innovators. Now you play.” The of your workplace— word POET then your box—to innobecame an acronym vate and excel. Result: increased dissatisfaction with themselves. Defuse the fear. talents. that come with earnspouse. Define your stakeholders’ environ. office polibor that can stand in for the mess—as tics. much less play. ment. Find a safe hardynamics—team-building. Step 5. The four words also lenges. Find it. And the greatest outside-the-box (OTB) thinking will get you fired. to see and play with patterns to achieve extraordinary results? Then stop thinking outside the box and get back into the box of your discipline. So I start in the toybox. Our modern workplaces hide our messes behind reports. But people hate mess! No one wants Mess can be found and managed in to talk about it. and culture. you simplify their mess and maximize You’re in the mess. popular media. Try again. We have to wade in the mud to grab Step 4. leaders identify next steps to solve messes just in time. and pressure with your staff. And the mess holds the key to improving our performance. and reveal the grid. words that will crack open your box. You have some your effectiveness. Whether the four Step 3. Start writing it down now. limited resources. within the day-to-day realities. I wanted work. been so orderly. we miss the mess. Play unleashes our performance innovation potential. Inbox thinking helps people change commess with success! plex messes into defined barriers to excellence. Now use your participants to see skills. they encounter unfinished work and resentful colleagues. and no change will stick. Thus. you miliar complexity. cultural diversity. Now you get Mess is unfamiliar. and the innovation process. Get your meaning for you. find grid. If we can see and play with patterns we uncover in the mess of work. and 3) constant environmental change—restructuring. activities). value. lansimple as a cartoon you use to “hook” guage. discredited.Change Innovation Think Inside the Box Innovate with less: by Todd Packer innovate with less. so fear it. and maybe killed if you can’t solve an immediate problem—now. slides. sometimes you’ll need help.” Step 2. We must unearth powerissues. spoken word.tent when using different media (handouts. Be crethree areas of performance: 1) internal ative. Find your crystal question. and creativity The four words? “I within the constraints am a poet. Rearrange what you have. boss. Thinking OTB frustrates leaders who have to solve problems back inside the box of their work. Play more. for four activities. Here’s how: Summarize Welcome to work in our supposedly critical needs. If you ignore solving inside the box defuses fear. See mud. and life. dynamic. ways to see and dig into our workDefine a critical question (related to place mess. Unfortunately. Accept your messy box. Deal with the unleash the mud. Name your words are a full senmess. organization. and opportunities into patterns for change. No off-site retreat necessary. tise. Prioritize. Identify a sparkly clean and tidy “knowledge change objective in language that has economy. thinking OTB doesn’t work for what many people need. Print that spreadsheet. Reframe as a question. their work. With less stress. Everyone wants to think outside the box. the grid within. leaders face can use this to clarify your strategic more complex and unfamiliar chalinnovation plan. No more indecision. Grab feet off the desk! Work hasn’t always some paper.” Don’t spill on your computer. Mess is unfatence or four categories of change. I adapt lessons from how kids play to help adults at work. Use only four words. We work in mess. We must innovate with less at work in order to see and play with patterns across multiple arenas of our lives. But where’s the practical side of OTB problem-solving? It creates tension between innovative “outside” learning and the everyday constraints of a real job. to achieve goals with what we have now. We can’t think right when Before you go cleaning up the grid. Find four key shows by fashionable professionals. and meaning) ful patterns that we can change. we sense fear. ing a living and makAn example: For ing a life through one session. tools to clear things up. 2) external trends your audience or as complex as a Leadership Excellence . 16 and influences—market forces. OTB thinking denies our vital problem-solving capacity. the “crystal question. social norms. right? to work…right? Wrong. And we have to do it cheaply. we can make decisions that will provide solid business value. fact that you have to Use these four words work inside a messy to frame positive box filled to the brim change in the first with the murky poliseven seconds of tics. But how? You guessed it: Think board. will build. the fear remains. choose the right box and start playing your best game. You’re in the box. We have to find new Want some change? You gotta ask. expertheir creative power. I call this inside the box. No one is going to give you more resources until you prove yourself. and respectful environment. So. and to answer for your innovation springsafely. familiar. workplace communications. Today. Sometimes it’s easy to do. barriers. or others. your call to action pain. quickly. D O Y O U WA N T T O Take Seven Steps To think inside the box. resources. When people return after an off-site retreat. Mess fills the gap between help you make your message consiswhere we are and where we want to be.
since some workers may not respond. Your passion can make it work. If there is little correlation. your ability to maintain neutrality will be challenged due to your vested interest. Reward yourself and your team for effort. Get feedback—formal (evaluation forms) and informal (hearsay)—on the change process. while it’s hard work. Leadership Facilitation Facile Facilitation by Michael Goldman Establish and maintain neutrality.com. See learning shift as your participants explore and manage the mess. If it isn’t working. Now get back in. Before commenting on content. Here are some guidelines to consider when asked to facilitate: Say no when your opinions need to be heard. Praise ideas and new ways to think. As a facilitator. Get people to apply their new clarity and ideas at work. Model learning through appreciation. This way you can act as a participant and be free to say what you feel needs to be said. In-box thinking allows people to use cognitive skills they may not use to solve problems— skills we use when we play. you may ask someone else to facilitate the group. it can be a lot of fun. let people know that you’re putting on your subject-matter expert hat to let them know your point of view. The difficulty with providing suggestions. therefore. Take the lessons you learn to make a better mess next time! The patterns you see. Build excitement and commitment. You will struggle to maintain neutrality when you have management status. when you’re too influential. of course. Make mistakes and learn from them. Co-create responsibility. especially if you’re perceived as a decision-maker or highly influential. and toys. when you believe you have the right answer. How can you ensure that your group sees you as a neutral person engaged in managing them through their decision-making? When I train internal consultants on facilitation. The principle remains the same: Use play to think inside your box to see patterns and options in new ways. then act. many eggs. Our workplaces. Discover another way to interpret mess: “Model Enthusiasm. Trust your gut instincts and watch your audience. Preempting criticism around neutrality puts others at ease and builds trust. and innovation coaching as principal consultant of Todd Packer and Associates. Use simple. Also. I then have them challenge their group’s decisions and ideas to ensure that they weren’t made to please the manager. is correlated to your level of influence. Hold each other accountable to make the patterns change after you in-box think. we’re all experts. However. Above all. The group always has the right to not respond or agree to what the facilitator questions or suggests. do something different. And. improve. Congrats. when you’re willing to let members call you on a perceived bias. You’re out of the box. This. Devote time to debrief. If your vested interest is very strong. Some gurus believe that facilitators have the right to “take off the facilitator’s hat” if they feel the group is off track. practice! You must play with the mess yourself.facilitationfirst. acknowledge with the group upfront that as an employee or fellow team member. Be open. Questioning also assists the group in increasing the breadth and depth of their ideas that they would not otherwise get to without permission to do so. Evaluate. Share your mess. If you’re required to be in this position—having a vested interest while having to maintain neutrality—you can speak with like-minded participants before the meeting to determine their viewpoints or ideas noting if they correlate with yours. LE Todd Packer provides research. even when you are the only one available to facilitate. Many baskets. you are allowed to ask probing questions that help the group address any ambiguity in their discussion. Step 7. Leadership Excellence 17 . can only occur when the manager truly wants the group to come up with their own decisions. ACTION: What’s in your box? poses special challenges. LE Michael Goldman is president of Facilitation First. When I train managers and influential people how to facilitate. our world.structured series of activities around a relevant metaphor. celebrate. and then try it with trusted others. ACTION: Maintain your neutrality. accessible stuff—pads and paper. Create respect. You are also allowed to throw out suggestions that may expand the group’s possibilities. or when you’re the F ACILITATING A GROUP only available facilitator. especially when you have some expertise on the subject being discussed. Luckily. when you can control body language (your non-verbal bias). You can’t predict results. Document and prioritize tasks. First. the ways you play. their first questions around neutrality are typically: “How can I be neutral when facilitating my own group when I have a vested interest in the outcome? Won’t people see me as being biased since I work with and lead them. provider of meeting facilitation and training. and when you have access to an external facilitator. and now I’m playing the facilitator role?” These concerns can be managed. For example.com. however. Support Success!” Process your mess. Openly express new insights. Find many patterns for change. www. Say yes when you are willing to challenge your own assumptions. you can still help the group expand its possibilities during decision-making and action-planning. and activities to purse. some participant education is required. Frequently the group is not clear as to what constitutes neutrality. I have them acknowledge upfront to the group their concerns around being perceived as biased. 216-752-6926. cheap. tp@toddpacker. you may want them to present your idea as well—if they are willing to. 416-465-9494. if you make a suggestion to a group of direct reports. and the successes you stimulate may differ from one change effort to another. Allow yourself to learn together. your suggestion will not be perceived the same way as if a co-worker makes the same suggestion. when you have problems being neutral. Here are some tips for playing in the box: Participants will change your mess. I find that questioning and providing suggestions are enough to help a group explore their options. markers. and our future depend on our ability to see and play with patterns in new ways. Remember the key: Ground what you use in your crystal question. training. be aware of your own patterns and habits—they can be part of the mess.
nizing principle. General John Abizaid. whom do you regard as West this day.Leadership Coalitions of the leadership of Eisenhower. ment. that’s assault. from five nations under his command. mechanical instrucwas his influence in shaping modern squabbles by sticking to Eisenhower’s tion disconnected from the human problems of the individual soldier. dining room of Pershing fought to maintain the Quarters 100—the elegant residence integrity of U. 1973 .” Eisenhower felt that the West Point Point—for spirited conversation on French Commander-in-Chief. a student ACTION: Become a coalition comander. leadership principles for officers in maxims. Military Academy. “awaken the cadets to the necessity of handling human problems on a human We brought to the Academy some of His approach to combined command basis. What he observed in the behavior of many U. officers in the European theater disturbed him greatly. with George Patton. opment is the core mission component Command” in coalition operations. was a revolutionary. the complemented a improve leadership in supper conversation reflected the sophisticated coalition the Army. Ike also knew what it took to lead mand. cers. MacArthur. “You don’t lead by hitting people over the for 200 years of the Superintendent of of the American Expeditionary Force the U. and by the Academy Superintendent in the war’s end. not leadership. Pershing. The consingle person in charge Leadership. among others.S. Further. General even physical abuse of subordinates. This article is adapted from the Afterword to Eisenhower on Leadership.” and thereby the best thinkers on leadership. Eisenhower was passionate about leadership development for junior offiL e a r n h o w t o l e a d a c o a l i t i o n o f a l l i e s . inspiration. profited from the trailtook the time to write to parents of his alliance personalities like Churchill. LE Army leaders. Ike had no equal in stroking. But he knew this could never His soldiers trusted him because he soldiers and build cohesive units at be effectively exercised unless he had exuded the values of integrity and the tactical level. General guide senior military commanders.” of the Academy. two Central The Supreme Commander who armies of a democracy.his Arab partners. and honesty. Ike led curriculum should include coursework history. leader develset the standard for “Supreme “patience. frequently in the with coalition command. inspirational. This had instilled in cadets the USMA Class of 1915. he was passionate consent of those he led. for his brilliant to be exercised through principles of smallcommand of allied forces in the “earnest cooperation. tolerance. George Joulwan in Bosnia and General Ike knew these could not be created in the intellectual equivalent of a straight Even more profound than Ike’s Wesley Clark in Kosovo. Military Academy at West in WWI. achieved brilliance as a coalition commander coalition success despite intra-alliance jacket. Before him. I relished this give-and-take. and Italian Marshall Bodoof alliance sensitivities and alliance glio—to say nothing of his challenges politics by deftly managing more than Day jump. Eisenhower. Too many officers never identified with In both arenas—supreme command by Daniel Christman their soldiers. de Gaulle.” unit leadership. but he ment of Behavioral Groves. For more sensus seemed always to focus on one was insufficient to than 50 years. energy of the participants. and leadership. Without ques. to talk to 101st Airborne Montgomery. As a result of his suggestions to the Saudis. ensure unity. commander had been entrusted officers who substituted screaming. had over four million men in practical and applied psychology to late 90s. Similarly. Goethals. He was the con30 coalition partners in Desert Storm. Patton. And he summate Supreme Commander. Iraq. Besides revolutionizing the doctrine of combined command at senior levels. Again. Ike earned through Today. and imagination. soldiers.S. with rote. European theater during WWII. and knew that placing a Psychology and Eisenhower.S. to prescribe leadership doctrine while he commanded millions. frankness.S. sonified in the 1940s continue to Commanders in the 1990s. particularly respect—values that remain the core of about leadership and leader develop.Command combatant commanders. Eisenhower’s coali. Ike said. Lee. US Chamber of Commerce. blazing experiences of Eisenhower. Ike—First in Leadership W 18 Leadership Excellence Portrait by Nicodemus Hufford. Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and leadership ethic of my generation. they were too removed and officer leadership—Eisenhower from the needs of their troops. but reflected in the leadership exercised in intendent of the United States Military Academy. The emphasis is on the principles he articulated and perTwo NATO Supreme Allied values. Ike cajoling. in short. no Ike was appalled by the behavior of E G AT H E R E D U. As allied forces from fall 1942. also the leadership ethic for young 2005 by the Coalition Commander in officers commissioned after 1945. He clearly personified unity of compersonified the essential bond—trust. Bradley. and most visibly. and managing prickly John Abizaid. A frequent leadership model—a Eisenhower’s sugquestion was this: “General Christmodel employed to gestion was soon folman. Eisenhower influenced tion leadership principles proved deci. Admiral Schwarzkopf displayed a knowledge Division paratroopers prior to their DDarlan. forces as commander for positive leadership. And they are international affairs. but he was subordinate to the head.LT. General (Retired) Daniel Christman is senior vice president of not only the formal leadership prosive—and enduring. lowed by the estabPoint’s most distinguished graduate?” Unity of Command lishment at the AcaThe menu of alumni was a rich was his simple orgademy of the Departone: Grant. connected with his troops shaped the tion.S. politics.our Army’s leadership doctrine. it has graduate: Dwight D. He was. and former supergram of the U.
By measuring too Competing for the Future. Prahalad in opportunities and debate issues. K. The strategic solving. traits that limit them. I was a gardener their weight becomes harder to take.” So. If you place your garden doing it? Jack Welch. can do it. they measure nothing. What is happenthey struggle through it. former CEO of under a large shade tree. That is their in relationship to the sun makes all the ing on the ground to the foot soldiers main job. It seems like they have part. Everyone looks out for themselves. yet fearannounced. The value of a wonderful Four Bad Models plan to get there suddenly has strong strategy is only achieved when it is carried out. make the grand vision a reality. developing talent. or Any concept of a team breaks tant but managerial duties such as they can follow a more sensible leaddown. dropped the words “right now” from Collaboration comes to a grinding his statement. obtained through draconian measures. they respond: “Tough! If I dedicated leadership center. Soon people start telling the nailed his hide to the wall for that leader what the leader wants to hear. inspire followers. Kotter conon the team becomes non-existent. • Detached: They become emotionally distant and lose the intimacy and to invest like GE. Any sense of people.” streets.Gary Hamel and C. Describing what the organiza.” Some people clothes. thereby losing focus. as Jack Welch points out. And it is the people who Even leaders who articulate a com. Honest den analogy. strong sense of the direction. and belonging a culture of leadership. statement. Fixing do. Here them. and believe that they don’t Crotonville. General Electric. as discussed by leaders come together to identify minutiae and sometimes miss the for. you cut it off ple feel becomes unbearable. While a leader needs to have a providing water and other nourishAny semblance of work-life balance is ment to our top 750 people. but becomes the politically correct thing to short on getting the job done. He explains that reporters lest their heads are chopped off. The GE. cultivating new culture by changing people’s lost.” The constraint of a smaller budget When these behaviors occur. Gerstner felt that IBM halt. and greed. These tend to astray. and people feel like glorified mindset and behaviors is the hardest Clearly. camaraderie. is hardly an excuse to not operate key levers that drive superior performance results follow quickly: Any construcwhat is your main tive confrontation within the executive job? According to John in people. As Michael why. In doing so. Any sense of empowerment planning. setting a direction for the order-takers. ership. you might have • Know-it-alls: They start believing resources at your disposal like the GE that they know and do this better than A Look in the Mirror John F. budgeting. leaders display passion and courage to take Maccoby notes: “Narcissistic leaders need to make it a priority to plant and on challenges can have unproductive can self-destruct and lead their people nourish talented people at every level. leaders prepare organizations exchange of ideas on options and their tion are free. they can follow the future is an important aspect of leadceded all authority to the boss. but little followership. intimidation. Further. To any by Abhay Padgaonkar push-back. controlling. So they tend to treat others as ing for the future is to foster competeneveryone from important customers dispensable and tune them out. But for change and help them cope as how you choose to orient your garden pros and cons ceases. Welch Leadership Center at anybody. The vision of the leader staffing. some aspects of cultivaKotter. Conversations become one-way I had to pull out some weeds. evaporates. Lou Gerstner albeit with more self-esteem. and providing lip service was long on vision statements. becomes a pipe dream. But est for the trees. “The last thing IBM needs ful to say that the emperor has no right now is a vision. if they Execution is nothing but aligning exist. such as sunshine. motivating them. and problemmotivation. trasts execution with equally imporon fear.disbelievers. the company was all about execution. organizing. But how do they go about becomes irrelevant. the world’s first major need others as much as others need A key challenge for leaders competcorporate business school. and become harder to sustain. Going back to Welch’s garteam ends almost immediately. and any mutually shared goals. cies that provide access to tomorrow’s and partners to present and future GE • Micromanagers: They get mired in opportunities. the foremost duty. The pressure peodifference. the F YOU ARE A LEADER . too. take a back seat. ership model based on inspiration. so can you. and enthusiasm.Competency Assessment • Perfectionists: They spend too much time doing things right rather than doing the right things. They can’t operate a connection to other people. there is plenty of leaderIf you lead a big organization like manifest themselves in four ways: ship. They take any constructive feedback as a direct hit and return Conduct soul-searching interviews with outsiders.profit-at-any-price model by relying The leader is quickly surrounded tion should become in the long term by loyal sycophants in the inner circle and how it should get there becomes who simply want to ride the coattails. That’s pelling vision. Soon after taking Everyone else is in the outer circle— the helm of IBM. The short-term results. Of course. to find innovative applications of the Looking in the Mirror I Leadership Excellence 19 . leaders need few organizations have the resources much. and creating intimacy. what they see as not-so-friendly fire. once said: “My main job was “guilt trip” that nobody else is pulling from necessary nourishment.
Rather than define grew fast as a result of its dedication success solely in terms of short-term to fair trade. What does your company do betaddress serious problems and make ter than anyone else? How can you use more money as a result. and focused interviews by an outsider with each individual on the executive team can deliver unvarnished truth—rich information about what’s really happening behind closed doors. Face the truth. suppliers. and the interviewer can’t make any direct attribution to a specific individual. Choose a relevant crusade.efficiency. This way emissions by over 10 percent. To embrace a high. he must take stock of his own. “If you hold it too tightly. making them one of the best bility and a high-purpose strategy: 1. a Today you must deliver social value. the approach backfires. Despite all the talk about openness. helped struggling dairy farmers to surThe benefits that you gain through vive. but if you hold it too loosely. blackballing is still a common practice. LE Abhay Padgaonkar is a management consultant.causeforsuccess. by Christine Arena employees. you kill it. christinearena@mac. in 1997 British Petroleum took a stand and expertise to help solve the chosen on global warming.” Finding that delicate balance between providing nourishment and pulling weeds is the key to effective leadership. Then. www. this review can reveal opportunities and can serve as a ACTION: Define your high purpose. Surveys— whether leadership or 360 degree—are popular and necessary. On the contrary. the cirsaved $230 million in overcumstances surrounding it.innovativesolutions. Effective charitable programs pay for themselves. and lower overhead costs. While recognizing that everyone’s reality is different. By 2003. or shareholders? Discover financially self-sustaining philanthropic models that are relevant IGH-PURPOSE companies exist to to your business. engineer commitment to environbusiness-building solutions.S. However. sibility—no longer an afterthought. • Objectivity.com. confidential. Is there a true strategic alignment? How is the leadership style perceived? How much constructive confrontation occurs? Do people collaborate or simply provide lip service? Is everyone pulling in the same direction? There are five prerequisites to getting the most from these interviews: • Right reason. But it begins with looking in the mirror. environment. but rarely tell the leader the whole story. What problems are unique to your company or category? What issues are most pressing to your customers. There must be a commitment to develop an action plan at the individual and team level. or environmental problem Interface Corporation. Leaders must objectively assess and proactively improve the caliber of the executive team and the organization as a whole. They can. BP 4.org Ethics Purpose powerful catalyst to galvanize your organization and enable it to move in unison towards the best solutions. compliance issue. they build busiperformance through social responsiness.tionships. before a leader can assess the caliber of the executive team. conduct the interviews for the right reason: improving leadership by eliminating unproductive behaviors. Do something that no one else advanced form of capitalism. and also your core assets become recognized as become the leading provider of cleanbeing of service to humanity. If the hidden agenda is to vilify non-performers or to find scapegoats. the should point the direction. you lose it. though practices that tor your performance. • Commitment. Put the problem first. founder and president of Innovative Solutions Consulting. Hewlett-Packard has positioned high-purpose strategies range from itself for long-term by helping close competitive edge and growth opportuthe digital divide. Define and monibrand in the U. the interviews have to focus on direct observations. High-purpose strategies do not Five Keys derail companies from achieving the Here are five keys to improving your highest financial returns for shareholders. largest producer of solar panels. Your company can create more social and financial value by supporting a cause that directly relates to your business. If these criteria are met. • Confidentiality. resources. higher innovation. Study the problem. serve basic human needs. build value and sustaincompany became the largest organic ability in all forms. mental sustainability. 20 Leadership Excellence . PR gimmick. thus er-burning fuels and the secondincreasing the company’s value. Objective. the company’s strengths. and involvement rather than hearsay. Carefully evaluate your tor of Cause for Success Seminars to help companies build profitable and strategic social responsibility programs. 2. It can operate without regard to the collechelp your business prosper. The honest feedback and recommendations can raise the candor and constructive dialogue.current competencies. author. Stonyfield Farm yogurt profitability. The interviews have to be treated as confidential. you need to “own up” to Christine Arena is the author of Cause for Success and direcyour past. Often. Baseball manager Tommy Lasorda said leading people is like holding a dove in your hand. nities to improved stakeholder relaEach of these companies is commit. Green 5. company’s impact on society and the www. the products and policies. This person must not be afraid to find out the truth and tell it like it is.investments a company can make. You need an objective outsider to hold the mirror. nature of the chosen social Similar examples abound. the insights gained from interviews can help create a high-performance culture. largest commercial carpet Take a needs-based approach. improve society. which provides strategic advice to major clients such as American Express. quality. Although generated $650 million worth of value every company should aim to reap on a $20 million investment rewards from their highin environmentally friendly purpose initiatives. and foster an 3. ted to a wider concept of social respon. tive interests will fail in the long term.com. or ugly Companies that compete unfairly or stepchild to profit and strategy. For instance. head costs and gained marand the people most affectket share as a result of its ed by it. and textile manufacturer. Expand definitions of Mountain Coffee Roasters success. High Purpose H ACTION: Engage in a constructive dialogue. First. speaker. LE er purpose. • Specificity. Put profits second. experiences. the comproblem? Develop an approach that pany had reduced its greenhouse gas can’t be easily mimicked.