Leadership

Why would anyone follow you? You may be an excellent technical manager, but are you an effective role model for your teams? How many people take their lead from you?
Executive Summary This Orange Paper discusses the relevance of generic leadership models in context with the current uncertain economic climate. It draws from recent Harvard research and features Ed Catmul, CEO of Pixar and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and their views on Leadership. Four key themes are central to the discussion: Providing direction and focus, Engaging hearts and minds, Role modelling desired behaviour and Unleashing creative talents. The paper looks at neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) as an effective set of tools for leaders and references current Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development research on the topic of ‘Shaping the Future – Engaging Leadership’.

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eaders are an important part of the organisational network, but research and experience shows that many businesses go about training their managers to be leaders inappropriately. A current poll1 of 200 executives on business network Linkedin shows leadership and creativity as being far more crucial than financial astuteness, team working and technology in helping to navigate the current economic chaos. With such a demand for strong leadership, should organisations be demanding more from their leadership development programmes? Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood2 of Harvard Business School think so and state the problem with conventional Leadership training very clearly:
“Thousands of companies spend millions on leadership development—only to get lukewarm results. Why? They rely on leadership competency models that identify generic traits (vision, direction, energy). Then they try to find and build next-generation leaders who fit the model. Result? Vanilla managers and executives who aren’t equipped to manage their firm’s unique challenges.” If you are responsible for getting results through others, then you know that leadership is necessary. Left to ones own devices employees are capable of being distracted and taken off course by the merest suggestion of a ‘good idea’. This Orange Paper emphasises four crucial aspects of leadership that pertain most closely to the purpose and role of a leader: 1. 2. 3. 4. Providing direction and focus Engaging hearts and minds Role modelling desired behaviour Unleashing creative talents

This is the job of leadership – to ensure that people know how to make a valuable contribution and to leverage the combined strengths and creative talents of individuals. However, as Ulrich and Smallwood suggest, you have to
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You need to delve into the detail and make development relevant to each individual leader’s unique challenges.
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get away from the generic models when it comes to developing leaders. You need to delve into the detail and make development relevant to each individual leader’s unique challenges. As I write this Orange Paper our financial institutions are collapsing and the global economy is in a deepening crisis. As leaders around the world grapple with what is happening, no-one seems to be certain of a solution – even top economists can’t seem to agree with each other. The best anyone can do is to keep an ear to the ground, use whatever information you can get hold of and listen to your intuition. The world has changed and will never be the same again. The future is unknown. Uncertainty reigns large in the minds of the brightest futurists. Gradual change has been hijacked by a new kind of chaos with seismic global shifts in human behaviour. Never before has business needed leaders with the desire to overcome egotistical self-interests, to come together and cooperate creatively. Greed and self-interest are mainly responsible for getting us into this mess, but these attitudes will not get us out. We need leaders who are more concerned with nurturing our creative talents than purely financial reward and status.

We need leaders who are more concerned with nurturing our creative talents than purely financial reward and status.

Leaders who make it their priority to engage employees act as a catalyst for change – getting to grips with what’s actually happening, engaging others in the process and forging a way forward. If others are to take their lead and follow, then the leader needs to be someone people can trust with their career and their immediate future. You may be thinking, ok then, let’s get to it! If it were that simple we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now. The trouble is a great number of managers are promoted purely for technical ability, motivated more by self reward and technical excellence than wanting to engage others. So there are plenty of barriers to overcome if we are to develop leaders who really care about unleashing creative talents.

Can you be trusted?
One company whose phenomenal success has come about through excellent leadership is Pixar. In an article published in HBR, Sept 2008, Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, states: “The key to being able to recover is talented people! What’s equally tough is getting talented people to work effectively with one another. That takes trust and respect, which we as managers can’t mandate; they must be earned over time”. Today’s economic climate is challenging leaders like never before, such that conventional views of leadership are becoming redundant. Leaders need to update their skills in order to create and drive change faster than ever before. The training a world-class fighter goes through gives him the ability to recover quickly from blows and knockdowns. Without this he would get floored with the first good punch which finds his chin. This can so easily happen to any company which fails to develop its leaders. 2
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Conventional methods of leadership training will certainly not deliver the capability leaders need today. You can’t merely create a vision in your own head, give a rousing presentation, set goals, measure performance and give feedback. Leaders need to be seen on the ground, taking initiative to make sure the physical working environment and the emotional and intellectual climates support high performance. This doesn’t happen on its own. It takes time, as Ed Catmull says, to earn trust and respect, before people will follow your lead. He goes on to say: “What we can do is construct an environment that nurtures trusting and respectful relationships and unleashes everybody’s creativity. If we get that right, the result is a vibrant community where talented people are loyal to one another and their collective work, everyone feels that they are part of something extraordinary, and their passion and accomplishments make the community a magnet for talented people”. Taking Ed’s lead, this particular aspect of a leader’s role must be a priority. Talking and walking the talk, listening without judging and resisting any natural tendency to be overly risk averse are good places to start. Add to this the ability to create both the environment and climate conducive to superior team performance, where creativity can thrive, and you have a recipe for success. These are all skills you can learn. Go to the link below for an interview with Ed Catmull on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iizL2iCMe28

The consequence of poor leadership
With poor leadership people easily fall into bad habits and adapt work to their needs and desires. They distract each other with the unimportant. Focus gets fuzzy, and when there are problems teams become defensive, silo mentality prevails and inter-functional battles weave through the fabric of the working day. If this all sounds normal you might ask what your leaders are doing about it. You might ask if they are actually aware that the current state is far from conducive to high performance. How many leaders are actively working to earn respect and trust? How many are actively listening? How many are aware of hidden talent being blocked by the ignorance or short-sightedness of others?

Incentives alone are not the answer
Leadership research and science has developed for over half a century and the key givens about what really motivates people have changed very little, but the messages don’t seem to be getting through. Whether motivating an employee or a child, the basics are pretty much the same. In a local store the other day I overheard a mother yell at her adventurous young toddler ‘remember what I said about Father Christmas!’ Like many parents this mother was using fear of loss to try and control her child. Parental leadership offers positive rewards for good behaviour, such as a trip to the movies and by engaging the child in conversations about how satisfying it feels to have done something worthy of praise. This latter part builds self-esteem and teaches the youngster the value of good feelings, not just material rewards. It also engages the child in focussing on positive outcomes. 3
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If you only motivate your child through fear of loss, it may grow up to be jealous of others and always wanting. If you motivate your people the same way (otherwise known as ‘managing by exception’) then expect people to hold back their efforts, resist collaboration, and kill the creative thinking required to come up with new ideas. Think back to a leader who you respected, and for whom you were happy to pull out all the stops. My guess is that your motivation came more from the relationship, and positive incentives, rather than a fear of loss. This concept can be demonstrated in the leader who understands the importance of job enjoyment. Matching a person to a job they enjoy makes the job of motivating and engaging easier. It’s mismatching person to job and expecting great performance that creates stress for both job-owner and manager. This is why leaders need to have a good understanding of motivation and the ability to apply what they know to the job of engaging employees in positive outcomes.

Where to start?
Begin with increasing the leader’s awareness of the interaction between individuals, teams, their work and the working environment. Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat has turned around the company’s fortunes by getting close to people so that he could observe them in action. He wanted to find a new leadership team and change the culture in order to compete with the market leaders. He benchmarked against companies like Apple, and as a result he slashed the time to get a new model onto the market from four years to eighteen months. In an interview with HBR3 he said, “We’ve abandoned the Great Man Sergio Marchionne model of leadership that long characterised Fiat and have created a CEO, Fiat culture where everyone is expected to lead”. He adds, “…. I recognized that Fiat had a leadership problem … our senior leadership wasn’t used to taking responsibility ….. they had too many bad habits”. Marchionne decided to seek out talented managers and put them in leadership positions. Then he spent a lot of time engaging them. He was most interested in how they could lead people and lead change. “I don’t believe in 360s. They’re hard to manage, and people can game them”. Marchionne understands that engagement isn’t about surveys, tick boxes and other ways to help bosses … engagement isn’t construe the answers which make them feel good. about surveys, tick It’s about having meaningful conversations with boxes and other ways people about what really matters in the business. He also realised how engineers had been dominating the to help bosses construe culture, looking inward, and he had to change that the answers which so new ideas could be created and shared across the make them feel good. company. He sums up with “I’m a conduit for change, but it’s the people in my organisation who actually make change happen. I derive my greatest satisfaction from seeing them succeed”. When managers develop bad habits they become anchored in their behaviour. They find it very difficult to change because the anchors go deep and group conformity helps keep them in place. To break these anchors you have to go deep into the values, beliefs and core motivations so that new perspectives and possibilities can emerge. 4
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Becoming more aware of which anchors create positive responses and which create negative ones will help the leader maximise the use of positive anchors. I will explain what I mean by anchors with a true story: A company hired a manager, Mike, to replace an ousted tyrant, Adam, who was responsible over the previous 5 years for lowering morale. The office Mike acquired was furnished with a power desk, power chair, power ornaments and power pictures on the wall. Adam managed by exception, so the only time you were invited into his office was to receive a telling-off. Mike tried all his listening and coaching skills, but his team would not play ball. He observed people arriving at work. He watched them park their cars and walk into the office. He also noticed their bodies sagging as they passed by his office and made their way to their desks. Then their heads would droop down for most of the day with very little interaction with each other. Mike decided to take dramatic action and posted a notice saying “On Friday at 4:30pm I will be burning my desk at the back of car park number 2”. Of course everyone thought he was crazed, but on Friday at 4pm, with the help of some muscle from the factory he carried the desk outside, poured petrol over it and threw on a lighted match. Whilst this was taking place a crowd of employees had gathered around the flames, shocked at what he had done. As the flames died down he looked around and made eye contact with the crowd as he said, “let’s all go home now and next week we begin something new”. Over the weekend he had the walls of his office taken down and an ordinary desk placed amongst the team. He also took down all pictures and anything associated with the previous manager. Over the next few months morale picked up and through a series of engaging meetings team interaction increased as did quality and productivity. The manager in this story really understood how people became anchored to negative behaviour. A symbolic gesture along with a change to the environment collapsed their negative anchors quickly and allowed a change process to begin; and in this case a change of attitude and motivation. You may also observe the anchors which are limiting your own behavioural range in various circumstances. This will help you to develop flexibility in your communication and behaviour, and become a more dynamic role model for others. Often this alone is enough to have employees pulling out the stops for you. Some leaders skip this and try to implement performance measurement systems in order to keep control. Systems like this become just another task to be ticked off the list. To really engage your people you need to invest time connecting with them and earning their trust and respect. 5
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Leadership is about interacting face-to-face, in the same place and time. You can’t be a positive role model without Leadership is it. You can’t engage without it. You can’t really know about interacting people without it. Texting, emailing and video-conferencing face-to-face, in the are all useful at times, but you will never get away from the need to be with people in order to engage and unleash same place and creative talents. There are just too many misunderstandings time. You can’t be without it. There are too many miscommunications and too a positive role many false interpretations - but there is an answer and it comes in the form of something called NLP which stands for model without it. ‘neuro-linguistic programming’. It’s been around for some time, and we have been teaching it to leaders and business professionals for over 12 years. In fact the interest in NLP from the business community has grown significantly over the last 5 years due to the number of books4 now published on the subject.

So what does NLP have to offer leaders?
There are 2 distinct areas where NLP is having success, one is in therapy and the other is in business. At Quadrant 1 International we are specialists in the latter. The reason why NLP is so popular amongst business leaders is because of the highly effective skills of communication, learning and change it has to offer. For leadership development to be effective it needs to be PURPOSE personalised, and the best models for learning are those which ROLE or IDENTITY allow learners to individualise the model to their own personal set of leadership circumstances. NLP does this better than anything VALUES / BELIEFS else hence it is often called ‘the study of subjective experience’. CAPABILITY The most widely used NLP model is the universal alignment model, BEHAVIOUR or to use its proper name ‘neurological levels of communication ENVIRONMENT learning and change’. The background to this model lies in the 5 work of the anthropologist Gregory Bateson , and popularised by Robert Dilts6. This powerful model gives leaders the conceptual framework for working effectively with change at all levels NLP Alignment including individual, team, organisational, and cross-cultural. It is Model also used in various exercises as a change framework and is a superb vehicle for assimilating a new and more dynamic sense of leadership role. One of the key NLP skills is ‘sensory acuity’ – or in layman’s terms the ability to notice whether a person is engaged or not. When you add the advanced communication skills of NLP to this you have a leadership engagement toolkit. We all know how important it is to connect with people, and this is exactly what NLP skills offer. It may be no surprise to find that the major investors in NLP skills among the business community are sales executives, HR professionals and CEOs. They know the importance of engaging a prospect and motivating that person to buy a product or buy into a change initiative. NLP models and skills are taught on the Real Leadership7 programme which gives participants so much more than you would get on a generic NLP programme. You learn advanced skills of behavioural modelling8 with an assignment to practice your skills by modelling someone who is a leadership exemplar. Imagine being able to understand so much more about what makes people 6
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tick and to utilise this knowledge for positive influence. A leader who is trained in NLP will notice more about people and ask more insightful questions than their counterparts without NLP skills. Applying NLP to Leadership gives you a vast array of practical tools with which to engage, motivate, influence and unleash creative talents. Used alongside the Harrison Paradox Assessment9 you will learn how to balance certain paradoxical traits to make you a more rounded leader. The actual traits we work with from Harrison are: • • • • • • • • • • • • Opinions (certainty and openness) Decision Approach (analytical and intuitive) Strategic (analyzes pitfalls and risking) Delegation (authoritative and collaborative) Innovation (persistent and experimenting) Communication (frankness and diplomacy) Power (assertive and helpful) Motivation (self-motivated and stress management) Self (self-acceptance and self-improvement) Driving (enforcing and warmth/empathy) Organization (organized and flexible) Strategic Acumen (analyzes pitfalls and optimistic)

Participants on Real Leadership have an opportunity to change any or all of these traits using advanced NLP techniques including Anchoring, Belief Change, Alignment of Values, Language Patterning, State Management and Confidence Building, plus many more.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
As a closing comment I will refer to a current leadership research project conducted by the CIPD entitled ‘Shaping the Future – Engaging Leadership’ which states: ‘Organisations waste thousands, and in some cases millions, of pounds every year by appointing the wrong people to leadership positions, or by not developing them to become effective leaders, or by creating cultures in which even the most potentially effective leaders are frustrated daily in their efforts to have the greatest positive impact on the performance of their employees. This Research Insight is about how an organisation, irrespective of size, sector or area of business, can exploit the potential of its people such that they can give their best in performance terms, in a way that increases their motivation, morale and well-being. It combines up-to-date research on leadership with what we know about the phenomenon of ‘engagement’ and its effect on organisational success, with recent UK research into the nature of engaging leadership, and the evidence of its validity in increasing employee morale, job satisfaction, well-being and performance. Other topics discussed include how engaging leadership can be assessed, the current debate surrounding competency frameworks for leadership, questions around leader and leadership development, and factors to consider in embedding a culture of leadership in an organisation.’ 7
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The findings in this research are used with the latest NLP tools we have developed to help leaders grapple with the issues, realise what they need to do and create fast personal change according to their personal development needs and organisational context.

Leadership needs to unleash creative talents today more than at any other time in our history.

Orange paper written by David Molden, FCIPD, NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer, Director with Quadrant 1 International, author of Managing with the Power of NLP, and NLP Business Masterclass, co-author with Pat Hutchinson on Brilliant NLP book and audio CD and How to be Confident using the Power of NLP, co-author with Denise Parker on Beat Your Goals, coauthor with Jon Symes on Realigning for Change.
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A Linkedin poll revealed 66% of top executives consider Leadership the most crucial, with Creativity a close 2nd. Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood ‘Building a Leadership Brand’ Harvard Business Review reprint #R0707G 3 Harvard Business Review, December 2008 ‘Fiat’s Extreme Makeover’ Reprint #RO812B 4 Read Managing with the Power of NLP or NLP Business Masterclass, both by David Molden. 5 Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, ISBN 978-0226039053 6 Robert Dilts, Skills for the Future, ISBN 978-0916990275 7 Go to http://www.quadrant1.com/Quadrant-1-Courses/real-leadership for details 8 Behavioural modelling is the term used for eliciting the psychological and physiological patterns which together create a specific behaviour. 9 Refer to http://www.harrisonassessments.com or www.quadrant1.com/Profiling-Tools/

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