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Lead PeopleManage Things


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Lead PeopleManage Things

Master the Five Key Facets of High Performance Leadership

Brian Ward

Affinity Publishing Edmonton, Alberta Canada

AFFINITY PUBLISHING Published in Canada and the United States of America by Affinity Publishing, a division of Affinity Consulting #105, 215 Blackburn Drive East, Edmonton AB T6W 1B9 Canada | | Copyright 2009 by Affinity Consulting All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. First Print Edition August 2009 ISBN 978-0-557-14720-5 FACET Leadership, The FACET Leadership Model, The Customer Loyalty Grid and the 4M Model of Change are trademarks of Affinity Consulting. DiSC, Personal Listening Profile, Coping and Stress Profile, Team Dimensions Profile are registered trademarks of Inscape Publishing. Time Mastery Profile is a trademark of Inscape Publishing. Affinity Consulting and Training Inc. is an Inscape Publishing Authorized Distributor.


This book is dedicated to the many leaders in this world who are striving each and every day to make a real difference in the lives of others. You know who you are.


PREFACE .............................................................................................................1 INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................5 CHAPTER 1: THE POWER OF FOCUS........................................................... 13 ONE BIG IDEA THAT ENDURES .......................................................................................... 13 WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO FOLLOW A LEADER?........................................................ 18 TIPS FOR CREATING A CLEAR FOCUS................................................................................... 20 SELF-ASSESSMENT: DO YOU HAVE AN INSPIRING FOCUS? .......................................... 24 A FINAL NOTE ON FOCUS................................................................................................... 27 CHAPTER 2: AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP ....................................................29 SHOWING THE REAL YOU...................................................................................................... 29 THE LEADERS INNER JOURNEY........................................................................................... 31 HOW CAN YOU ACHIEVE GREATER SELF-KNOWLEDGE?................................................ 31 HELP OTHERS BECOME LEADERS TOO ............................................................................... 32 MUTUAL TRUST AT NISSAN .................................................................................................. 34 TIPS FOR DISCOVERING YOUR TRUE SELF .......................................................................... 36 SUMMARY OF KEY QUESTIONS............................................................................................ 38 A FINAL NOTE ON AUTHENTICITY ............................................................................... 42 CHAPTER 3: THE POWER TO LEADTHE COURAGE TO WIN ............43 AN ODD THING ABOUT ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE ...................................................... 43 LEADING CHANGE ................................................................................................................. 44 THE COURAGE TO FACE REALITY ........................................................................................ 48 THE COURAGE TO ALLOW CREATIVITY TO BLOSSOM ...................................................... 48 THE COURAGE TO CHANGE ALL SYSTEMS THAT DONT SUPPORT THE FOCUS ............ 51 THE COURAGE TO SHUT THINGS DOWN, PHASE THINGS OUT ....................................... 52 TIPS FOR DEVELOPING COURAGE ....................................................................................... 54 SUMMARY OF KEY QUESTIONS............................................................................................ 55 A FINAL NOTE ON COURAGE ........................................................................................... 58 CHAPTER 4: EMPATHY - MAKING CONVERSATION A CORE COMPETENCY .................................................................................................59 SLOW DOWN AND LISTEN ..................................................................................................... 59 HOW TO HAVE QUALITY CONVERSATIONS ........................................................................ 60 GIVE PEOPLE SPACE AND TIME TO THINK ........................................................................ 63 WHEN TEAMS DONT LISTEN ................................................................................................ 65 LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS .............................................................................................. 67 WHEN YOU LEADDO OTHERS FOLLOW?........................................................................ 70 WALK A WHILE IN THEIR SHOES .......................................................................................... 71 TIPS FOR ACTIVE LISTENING ................................................................................................ 73 SUMMARY OF KEY QUESTIONS............................................................................................ 75 A FINAL NOTE ON EMPATHY ........................................................................................... 77 CHAPTER 5: TIMING - BETTER VALUE, FASTER .....................................78

AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME ........................................................................................78 ITS OKAY TO BE IMPATIENT .................................................................................................80 THE ROLE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN A TIME-BASED STRATEGY ..........................82 TIPS FOR GETTING TIMING RIGHT.......................................................................................84 SUMMARY OF KEY QUESTIONS ............................................................................................87 A FINAL NOTE ON TIMING ...............................................................................................90 CONCLUSION................................................................................................... 91 USERS GUIDE TO THE FIVE KEY FACETS................................................ 93 FOCUS .....................................................................................................................................93 AUTHENTICITY .................................................................................................................94 COURAGE .............................................................................................................................95 EMPATHY..............................................................................................................................96 TIMING...................................................................................................................................97 RESOURCES AND SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................ 99 REFERENCES ON CHAPTER 1: FOCUS .................................................................................99 REFERENCES ON CHAPTER 2: AUTHENTICITY................................................................100 REFERENCES ON CHAPTER 3: COURAGE .........................................................................102 REFERENCES ON CHAPTER 4: EMPATHY..........................................................................103 REFERENCES ON CHAPTER 5: TIMING .............................................................................104 SELF- ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENTS ......................................................... 105 ABOUT THE AUTHOR .................................................................................. 106


When you become a leader, you take on a great promise to change the world for the better. If your reaction to this statement is Im only managing an organization, or department, or project, Im not out to change the world, then I respectfully suggest that you learn to be a good manager, but not a leader. Leaders cause positive change to happen, through people. Managers control things. Thats it. The world needs great leaders. It has its fill of managers. If you feel that you are not sure whether you are truly committed to becoming a great leader, if you have not yet made that decision, I would like you to take a look at two scenarios: SCENARIO 1: What if you were to make a total commitment to becoming a great leader? Project yourself ahead 3 to 5 years from now. You have become a great leader. Visualize what positive impact you are having on the world around you How has the world benefited from your actions?

What does that feel like? What type of people are you associating with? Who are you collaborating with? Who else is totally committed to the same cause as you? What positive actions are you and these people taking? How are other people responding to your successes? How worthwhile and meaningful has your life become? What does that feel like? How are you growing and developing? How does all this differ from today?

SCENARIO 2 What if you were to be less than fully committed to becoming a great leader? Project yourself ahead 3 to 5 years from now. You are in a leadership position. Visualize how things will be Have things changed much, or not at all?

Who are you associating withperhaps others who are also less than fully committed? What positive impact have you had on the world around you? Less than you desired? How do you feel about that? How worthwhile and meaningful has your life become? How does all this differ from today?

I have no doubt that the first scenario is one that you desire, as we all do. The second scenario is one that you probably want to have no part of. The difference between the two scenarios is so stark, so dramatic, that sometimes we find it difficult to see ourselves in the first one, and easier to see ourselves in the second. But for many of us, the second scenario is totally unacceptable.

Many leaders however get caught somewhere between the two scenarios, and feel at a loss about what to do. So they reach out to techniques to solve their dilemma. That is why I have written this book. My focus is to enable others, like you, to become great leaders. I have seen many leaders get caught up in fads, and I also have had the pleasure of being associated with leaders who knew the distinction between WHAT they were attempting to achieve and HOW they achieved it. That led me to crystallize my thoughts and experiences into 5 key questions for leaders, which this book is designed around. Keep these questions foremost in your mind, and you wont go astray. I have written this book to inspire, inform and challenge you to become a great leaderthe rest, as they say, is up to you. Every leader who achieved worthwhile outcomes did so with help. This book is designed to do just that for you. It will assist you on your journey by asking critical questions in five key areas. By answering these questions you will be led to discover insights and above all take action concerning five key facets of your leadership FOCUS: Developing your leadership focus, understanding its true significance to the world around you and how truly committed you are to achieving it AUTHENTICITY: Discovering how much you know about yourself as an authentic leader, your beliefs and values, your strengths and weaknesses and how others perceive your authenticity COURAGE: your level of courage and persistence, your ability and willingness to identify and stop doing those things that dont support your focus, to start doing some new things that will support it, and to improve dramatically in other areas that will benefit your focus, both personally and organizationally

EMPATHY: your ability to listen to and work through other people, to garner support for your focus, to develop an atmosphere of collegiality and inclusiveness, and to empower others who share your focus TIMING: your sense of timing in getting things done when they need to be done. Your ability to get off the treadmill and concentrate on what matters most, and to enable others to do the same I call this the FACET Leadership Model. The world needs great leadersif you want to become one, use this book. A word of caution howeveronce you start asking these five key questions, you will find that there will be no turning back. Proceed only if you are serious, only if you truly have the desire to become a great leader

How to Lead People and Manage Things When writing this book, I received an email from a manager in the Czech Republic who had read some of our published articles on leadership. She had a question that had been causing her grief for some time. Her question was simple, but not an easy one to answer. She asked, Whats the difference between leadership and management? She went on to explain that she had been working as a manager for almost ten years, and had not yet discovered an answer that was satisfactory. To complicate matters, she was an English-speaking expatriate who worked for a government agency in the Czech Republic, and the availability of English texts was limited. She asked me if I could recommend some texts to her that might lead her out of her dilemma. In my reply to her I used the above quote, which I have always felt captures a key distinguishing factor between the two related tasks of leading and managing. But I hesitated before I recommended texts on leadership. The reason for my hesitation was simple: texts written by consultants and academics differed dramatically from those written by leaders themselves. I asked myself why this was so?

The answer came from an unusual source, my second eldest daughter Gillian. At the time, she was in her second year in university studying early childhood development, and hoping to carve out a career as an educator, probably a grade school teacher. Her answer came in a discussion I had with her when I told her I was writing this book. She reminded me that the Guiding movement has always been strong on leadership fundamentalsthey were also pretty darn good at managing. They describe it as a Movement for girls, led by women. It challenges girls to reach their potential and empowers them to give leadership and service as responsible citizens of the world. Having three daughters who all were (and two still are) part of this marvelous movement, it struck me that they never seemed to confuse leading and managing, nor got themselves in a tangle over the differences between them. They simply went about doing both at the same time, which is what every good leader does. How do they do this? Some clues might be obtained from the fact that the whole movement is based on a simple Promise and a Law, with some Principles added. Each member is asked to make a sincere promise to do their best, to be true to themselves, their God (or faith) and to accept the guiding Law. The Law in turn challenges them to be honest, trustworthy, use their resources wisely, respect themselves and others, recognize and use their talents and abilities, protect our common environment, live with courage and strength and share in the sisterhood of Guiding. Now, what corporation do you know of that has similar promises and laws that every member must subscribe to and live up to? Not many would be my guess.

This is what makes the topic of this book so important to the whole subject of leadership. The leadership qualities that go into making the Guiding Movement so successful have stood the test of time, and in their totality are unique to that movement. Some of these facets may work for you and your organization, while some may not. Now this book is not about the Guiding movement it is about what works in leadership developmentand more specifically, what will work for you, or those you mentor or coach, to help you or them become a high performance leader. This begs the question what are the key facets of high performance leadership that have universal application? From my work with leaders, as both an internal and external consultant and coach, I have isolated five key facets of leadership that are consistent with my personal research on leadership and with what I have personally observed effective leaders doI call it the FACET Leadership Model: Focus Authenticity Courage Empathy Timing Focus Effective leaders stay focused on the outcomes they wish to create, and dont get too married to the methods used to achieve them. They provide this 'outcomes focus' for their organization by emphasizing the mission, vision, values and strategic goals of their organization and at the same time building the capacity of their organizations to achieve them. This capacity building emphasizes the need to be flexible, creative and innovative and avoid becoming fossilized through the adoption of bureaucratic structures, policies and processes. Authenticity

Leaders who are truly authentic attract true and loyal followers, even leaders who are viewed as being highly driven and maybe even difficult to work for. Simply put, authentic leaders are viewed as always being themselvesand therefore followers know what to expect from them. Followers know they can rely on them, come thick or thin. The great quality pioneer, W. Edwards Deming referred to this as constancy of purpose, and it stems from leaders who know themselves, what they are focused on, and what they are capable of delivering. Authenticity builds leadership integrity. Integrity in turn helps to build and maintain trust, which is the currency a leader needs in order to obtain sustained 'buy-in' from key stakeholders. Courage The challenges facing leaders today are immense, and require great courage to overcome. Leaders are constantly being challenged by others, be it their own team, customers, unions, the public or other stakeholders. Standing firm in the face of criticism is one hallmark of courageous leaders. For example, shifting an organization from being introspective to becoming customer focused requires courage when people pay lip service to the new means calling people on their bluff, demanding that they too be focused and authentic. On the other hand, having the courage to admit when they are wrong is also a hallmark of courageous leaders. When I am coaching leaders, one of the questions I ask them early on is are you willing to stake your reputation and career on this (focus)? If the leader hesitates, even if it is a great focus, a BIG idea, I know that the leader is not yet ready and I will advise against moving forward at that time. After all, if the leader hesitates with me in a private coaching session, what will happen when others, who know her better, call her on her level of commitment to the focus?

Followers need to know just how committed a leader is to a declared focus. Its one of the very first tests of leadership, and many leaders dont make it. Making a firm commitment has a single rule: If you cant make it, dont fake it. Empathy Effective leaders know how to listen empathically. They seek to understand before acting and by doing so they legitimize others input. Thats not to say that they always promise to act on every piece of input they receive. They know that the vast majority of followers mainly want to be heard, to have a say in decision making, action taking and in shaping the changes that affect them personally. There is a saying regarding change People may resist change for a variety of reasons, but they will always resist BEING changed. When leaders engage in focused dialogue, they promote consensus building, and as a consequence people feel less like change is being forced upon them. By coaching others to do the same, leaders create a culture of inclusiveness. But great leaders don't get bogged down in overly complicated or never-ending dialogue. They know when to 'fish or cut bait', and they communicate this at the outset. They will say something like We need to discuss this, reach a decision and commit to a course of action by [date], which brings us on to the fifth facet... Timing The single most critical facet is in knowing when to make critical decisions and take appropriate actions in support of your focus, and when not to. This applies throughout your organization. All of the other facets must be viewed as subservient to getting the timing of critical decisions and actions right. Some leaders like to think that creating a sense of urgency is critical in order to overcome complacency. This may be so, but just remember that the opposite of

complacency is chaos, which is no way to run a business, despite what the theorists have to say on the matter. By creating a sense of urgency, you may end up with bunches of people running around looking busy and acting out their own misdirected and misaligned versions of your strategy. As one leader I know put it we went from sleepy hollow to an organization that had teams for everything, all engaged in an orgy of misdirected problem solving and innovations that had little or no focused impact. The truth is that timing is vitally importantsometimes there is a need to hold off on critical decisions or actions, and sometimes there is a need to act fast. Knowing the difference is absolutely critical to successfully executing your focus. Get the timing wrong on critical decisions and everything else is nullified. Great leaders move with appropriate speed. They don't believe that everything must be done immediately...they know how to prioritize, and how to get their team to prioritize. As well, they engage in timely follow-through to ensure actions that are committed to happen in a well-coordinated and timely way.


Take the FACET Leadership Model Self-Test These facets of high performance leadership are not exhaustive. Just as one would look at the facets of a diamond, upon closer observation other facets become observable. Any person can aspire to being a great leader by working on these facets. At the end of each chapter in this book is a set of questions pertaining to the facet covered in the chapter. Asking yourself these questions will allow you to reflect on your leadership style, and will provide greater insight into how you can improve as a leader. If you are in a leadership role, regardless of your position in your organization, start by asking yourself the following key questions: How focused am I? How much of my time do I spend communicating and inspiring people about our mission, vision, values or strategic goals? How much focus do I create in my organization? How married am I/my organization to methods that have outlived their usefulness, that do not support the focus? Am I viewed as authentic? Do people see and hear the real me? Do I wear a mask at work, and remove it when I leave each evening? When I commit to something, do I always keep that commitment? How high is my integrity quotient? How courageous am I? Do I have the courage to stand my ground when my focus and values are challenged? Do I stand firm, and only change my position when I know that I am wrong? How well do I communicate whats not negotiable (the focus) and what is (how to achieve the focus)? How empathetic am I? Do I show too much/too little empathy? Do I create enough opportunities for open and candid dialogue? Do I ever find myself getting bogged down in consensus building, or achieving false consensus?

Is there a feeling of inclusiveness amongst the members of my immediate team, my organization, and with other stakeholders, including customers? Do I make and execute decisions in a timely fashion? Do I know when to 'fish or cut bait?' Do I demand well-coordinated and timely execution of strategy from others? Do I follow-up regularly? Asking these questions in a candid way will open up many possibilities for you and your organization...if you have the courage to do it. As you make your way through this book, keep in mind that your diligent attendance to these five facets is what will distinguish you as a great leader in the true sense of the wordit will present to you many opportunities to develop and share your leadership skills, but only if you are prepared to make the effort.



Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there - Mary Carty Focus of this chapter: Developing the ability to be focused on creating an outcome that matters and will endure, describing it clearly and unambiguously, and assessing your readiness to move forward with it.

One BIG idea that endures

A leader without a clear focus to offer can have no true followerswhat would they follow? They might follow the person because he or she is charismatic, but we all know that this type of pop idol followership simply does not endure. On the other hand, history has provided us with examples of leaders who have pursued a BIG idea and have had no problem in recruiting dedicated people to their cause. Think of President John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Jack Welch of GE, Walt Disney, Sam Walton, Fred Smith of Fed-Ex. They all had BIG ideas. It might be argued that many of these had a personal charisma, but in the final analysis it is their BIG ideas that they are remembered most for.

While they all had crises to overcome from time to time, they did not believe that overcoming a crisis was enough of a legacy to leave behind, or that it was necessarily the mark of a good leader. What do I mean by a BIG idea? The following are some noteworthy examples:

John F. Kennedy Gandhi Nelson Mandela Rosa Parks

A man on the moon by the end of the decade Peaceful opposition An end to apartheid No (her simple refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white man) Be #1 or #2 in each of our business sectors Make people happy Everyday low prices

Jack Welch (GE) Walt Disney Sam Walton (Wal-Mart) Fred Smith (Fed-Ex)

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BIG ideas? You bet! Crystal clear? That too! These are what I call The Great Attractors ideas or stances that are so compelling that the leader becomes obsessed with achieving them, and followers find such meaning in them that they simply wouldnt want to be anywhere else but behind the leader and be part of something BIG.

How clear and compelling are your ideas? Heres a short exercise: Try to distil your focus (it could be your vision, mission, values, core philosophy, or strategy) into a shorter statement. Use the Rule of 7, plus or minus 2, i.e. the statement must contain no less than FIVE words and no more than NINE. Play with it for a while; fine-tune it until you come up with something that is a great attractor. Now, how does your focus stack up against the leaders focus listed earlier? It does not have to be as grand as theirs, but it should hold up well against the following criteria: Does it describe what you want to create? Can you be crystal clear about it? Are you truly committed to it? Is it a significant departure from business as usual? Will it be inspiring for you and others?

You will have the opportunity to conduct a more in-depth self-assessment of your focus at the end of this chapter, but for now just work with the criteria above. Dont worry if it may seem to others to be unachievable. BIG people, i.e. ones that are larger than life are attracted to BIG ideas and then they make them happen. Attract to your ideas only those who want to share in the challenge and the adventure. Attract big thinkers and big doers. The leaders mentioned above had their detractors, and they also knew that they were not involved in a popularity contest.

You too will have your detractors. Dont let them mess with your BIG idea. If you do you will lose focus and then very quickly lose followers. One BIG Crisis does not make a leader So now youre at a point where you have developed a clear and inspiring focus that you are truly committed to. But the world does not owe you anything, and sometimes it has a strange way of reminding you of that. When President John F. Kennedy entered office he had a thin margin of support over Richard Nixon. His popularity however rose dramatically when he was able to focus his countys attention on his one BIG idea: We will have a man on the moon before the end of this decade, even though he wasnt around to see it come through. His followership also grew when he had to deal with his one BIG crisis, the Cuban missile threat. Most leaders who have gone into the annals of history, whether it is politics, sports or business have led in this fashion: they have had at least one BIG idea to pursue plus one BIG crisis to manage, and they pursued the former as tenaciously as they fought to overcome the latter. In a business context, Jack Welch, retired Chair and CEO of GE, rose to prominence because he had more than one BIG idea, and more than his share of BIG crises to deal with. In the early 1980s when he took the helm at GE, the mood inside the company was one of complacency. But Welch never bought in to that complacency. He had different ideasBIG ideas, and he had the courage and energy to pursue them. His first BIG idea was to focus his managers attention on being the #1 or #2 in their respective business sectors.

And he and his team have never let go of that idea. If they could not be #1 or #2, then they were forced to make tough decisions, which they did. His one BIG crisis was to overcome complacency, bureaucracy and a bloated organizational hierarchy. Initially, not everyone shared his view that this was a crisis. After all, GE was an established, successful, mature company. He nevertheless showed relentless determination and courage in removing layers of bureaucracy and overcoming complacency. During the 1980s, he reduced the workforce from 404,000 to 229,000he became known as Neutron Jack. If anyone thought that there wasnt a crisis, they were soon relieved of that illusion. And he wasnt an outside manager parachuted in to do a turnaround. He was a twenty-year veteran, having joined GE in 1960. For those that remained, the BIG idea, being #1 or #2 in their respective sector, took on a whole new importance. By dealing squarely with a crisis, he further reinforced his authenticity and courage before he established his focus. Since then his other BIG ideas, all successfully pursued, included a major move towards globalization, a substantial increase in high tech services and of course the now famous bottom line approach to Six Sigma Quality. GE grew from $25 billion in sales and $1.5 billion profits in 1980 to $110 billion revenues and close to $10 billion in profits in 1999.

Thats what a clear focus did for them. There are many other examples of successful leaders who had BIG ideas AND had to manage through BIG crises, e.g. Bill Gates (love him or hate him!) But think also of those leaders who were successful when a BIG crisis loomed, only to falter afterwards because they did not have or could not execute a BIG idea, e.g. Winston Churchill, George Bush Snr., and Jimmy Carter.

What motivates people to follow a leader?

Some people are drawn to lofty visions, a BIG idea, while some people are motivated to take action only when there is a real and present danger, a BIG crisis. How can you get both types on your side? Dont just identify what motivates them, but also identify their direction of motivation, then FOCUS your message accordingly. What do I mean by direction of motivation? A person drawn to your big idea can be said to have a towards motivation, whereas a person motivated by a big crisis can be said to have an away from motivation. If you can have BOTH motivations working at once, then you have a powerful driver of actions. We all are motivated in these two directions depending on the circumstances, but most of us have a particular preference or bias for one direction over the other. People with a bias for a towards motivation tend to be the dreamers and innovators, while those with a bias for an away from motivation tend to be good problem solvers.

You need both types on your side. Lets say that your chosen focus, your big idea, is for your organization to be an acknowledged centre of excellence in your industry. Those with a towards motivation will be motivated by what achieving that goal will do for them. For example, being a contributing member of a center of excellence will bring personal and professional recognition, perhaps even increasing their own market worth as well as that of the organization. Those with an away from motivation will be motivated by a message that clearly articulates what will happen if the FOCUS is NOT achievedperhaps it will mean a reduction in their market worth, or even downsizing and layoffs. In both cases, in order for motivation to occur, the consequences are best spoken about as if they were already happening, using the present tense. The consequences (what will achieving this focus do for us, and what will NOT achieving this focus do to us?) must be believable and credible. In the next chapter we will deal with the subject of Authenticity, which deals with this in much more detail. For now, keep in mind that your commitment to your FOCUS needs to be born out of a strong belief in the consequences that you will be articulating. If you have difficulty believing what these consequences are, then you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new or revised focus.

Tips for creating a clear focus

Lets get even clearer about focus. A clear focus is: A Central Theme First of all, a focus is your central theme. In time, you may move your focus to something else, but only after your initial focus is achieved and imbedded in the culture of your organization. When that happens, people will be able to tune in to other things to focus on in addition to the initial focus. In other words, they will develop the ability over time to have multiple focal points. But start with a single, overarching focus. This has to be absolutely central to the success of your organization. Komatsu adopted a central theme when they decided to take on Caterpillar, a company many times their size. They adopted the phrase Circle C, the C standing for Caterpillar. No doubts about where they set their sights! GE adopted a focus of being #1 or #2 in each business sector that they were in, and they were relentless about pursuing it. An Enduring End Result In all of the examples given, the focus was on the desired end result. And that result enduresits not a once off goal. It lays the foundation for even greater achievements into the future. Also, at the time each focus was established, there was no discussion on means, timelines, resources, and barriers. These details would be left open in order to attract others to join in, discuss them, establish an emotional connection with them, and always allowing as much room for creativity and innovation as possible.

Leaving this amount of space for people is one of the key ingredients that make each focus a great attractor. Neither was there any reference to the advisability or do-ability of the focus. This cuts right across the textbook advice often given in business schools around adopting goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-lined) the focus of our leaders above was on specific and measurablethey left the details, the how, to others, while they stayed loyal to the focus, the what. In many cases the leaders were viewed as out to lunch, even out of step with what the market wants, out of touch with reality. But they succeeded. They had an iron will and a relentless FOCUS on the end result. A Call to Action Leaders who have such an overarching goal, a central theme, also focus people on taking action. They start by taking action themselves. Jack Welch of GE took action in the 1980s when he had to scale down his organization and remove layers of bureaucracy. He knew that if he didnt he would fail, and failure on such a grand scale was not on his leadership agenda. He didnt stop there either. He took the slimmed down organization, refocused it and gave it a workout to get it fit to do battle. He called it the GE Workout - and it was the foundation for GE becoming a team based, continuous improvement powerhouse. A New, Much Higher Standard It cant be done! comes the rebuttal as the leader announces her new focus.

Why not? the leader replies. Because, no one else has ever attempted it, we dont have the capacity, the market wont take to it, were bleeding red ink, the unions will go on a rampage, we already have a focus: survival! But said the leader, were going to do it so lead, follow or get out of the way! New, much higher standards call for dramatic change. Change calls for actions on a number of fronts: STOP doing something we have always done, START doing something new (that we may not have a clue aboutyet), IMPROVE something that we are currently doing, but need to do dramatically better. This stop-start-improve approach is unsettling for many people...except those who are attracted to BIG ideas, for these are your champions of change the ones who will work long hours and dedicate themselves to making it happen. Use these champions as examples of the new higher standard. But dont stop there. Promote them, encourage them, train them, coach them, reward them and recognize them. If you dont, they will up and leave, and you will have to rely on the detractors and fence sitters.


And then your attempts at change will feel like trying to bowl uphill in the snow. You will fail. Some of the detractors and fence sitters may come over and become champions, but it will take a while and there are no guarantees. Some will leave the organization because the challenge will be just too much for them, or its not what they originally signed up for. And some you will just have to fire. On the following pages we have included a self-assessment questionnaire that will enable you to test your focus. To answer some of these questions you will have to send out some trial balloons, to test out your focus with others. Do that first, but dont overdo it. Modify the questionnaire to suit your needs. There are 17 questions in total, with a highest possible score of 85. Anywhere between 68 and 85 is regarded as high, and means that you are probably ready to move forward with conviction. But dont just use the score to make your decisionmove forward only when YOU feel ready.

Self-Assessment: Do you have an inspiring FOCUS?

By now, you should have a good feel for what your focus is all about. Its really quite simple. But its not easy. Thats what makes focused leadership so powerful not all leaders achieve it. When you do, you will stand out from the crowd. In that crowd, many leaders allow themselves to be distracted, even allowing others to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of followers. Dont let this happen to you. To help you with that, here are some self-test questions that you can use in addition to the main criteria used earlier: First, describe your focus (remember the Rule of 7, plus or minus 2): My FOCUS (Use the present tense):

Describe the towards motivators (i.e. consequences that will occur as the FOCUS is achieved). Use the present tense:

Describe the away from motivators (i.e. consequences that will occur if the FOCUS is NOT achieved). Use the present tense:


Rate Your FOCUS Now, rate your focus using the following five-point scale: 1 = Strongly Disagree 2 = Disagree 3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree 4 = Agree 5 = Strongly Agree Question 1. My FOCUS is clear and unambiguous 2. My FOCUS is specific and measurable 3. My FOCUS is central to the success of my organization 4. My FOCUS excites me 5. My FOCUS gets me out of bed in the morning 6. My FOCUS sometimes keeps me awake at night 7. My FOCUS sometimes scares me 8. I have the ENERGY to see it through 9. I am willing to STAKE my career and reputation on it 10. My FOCUS excites other key players 11. These other key players have the ENERGY to see it through 12. My FOCUS gets a negative reaction from some people 13. My FOCUS will endure & form a foundation for greater things to follow 14. My FOCUS sets a new, much higher standard 15. My FOCUS includes a call to action 16. I can describe the CONSEQUENCES of achieving it 17. I can describe the CONSEQUENCES of NOT achieving it Total Score: Score

Total the score you have awarded to your FOCUS. A score below 51 means that your FOCUS requires major rework; a score between 51 and 68 means that your FOCUS could do with some refining; a score above 68 means that you are probably ready to move forward. Keep in mind that a high score does not mean that your FOCUS is flawless. Some points may still need some work. Review your notes as well as your score! Revise your FOCUS if necessary and adjust your rating. Make a decisionare you ready to move forward with it? This is not a scientific process. People tend to respond to a focus emotionally, which pure science has great difficulty in dealing with. Refine the above questions, even add your own. Ask other key players to take the test and discuss the results with you. Use dialogue to refine your focusbut always, always remember that it is your focus.

If someone else were in your leadership position, they would come up with their own focus, which no doubt would be different than yours. Think of your focus as your leadership legacysomething BIG and exciting that you successfully lead people towards, and which bears your hallmark. Make it matter.


A final note on FOCUS

One of the determining factors that separate high performance leadership from all other calibre of leadership is the ability of the leader to focus attention, their own and others, not just on dealing effectively with BIG crises, but on creating and executing BIG ideas that will move their organizations, their communities, their industries (and even the entire world) forward. The latter is what eventually stirs people to action, or as Jack Welch so aptly put it: With leadership the question at the beginning and at the end of the day is, How far can we take thishow big can we grow itand how fast can we get there? Will people question your focus? Sure they will. This brings us on to the next chapter



Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken James Joyce Focus of this chapter: To develop the ability to be yourself at all times; to avoid wearing a mask; to talk about your feelings in a given situation; to avoid manipulative behavior and so build trust with those around you; to encourage others to take the same risk and reveal their authentic selves.

Showing the real you

So, you have developed a powerful and inspiring focus. Even though it may not exactly meet all the criteria covered earlier, you still feel strongly enough about it to move forward. Congratulations! With the rollout of your focus, your integrity is now on the line. There is no turning back. In your darkest moments you will sometimes admit to yourself that you must be crazy, including those times when even your staunchest backers will seem to doubt your sanity. This is when you must draw upon your greatest asset yourself. To do that you must know yourself intimately. No mirror, mirror on the wall here. No ego trips. Know your strengths and your limitations. If you cannot be open and candid with yourself, it will show through with others and you run the risk of being perceived as inauthentic, even a fake.

So what is authenticity?

Its about understanding enough about yourself to be able to step forward with confidence and say things like: I know what Im good at and what Im not so good at. I will build on my strengths and shore up my weaknesses I will surround myself with people who are good, really good at what I neither have the time for or the ability to do myself I will build a truly diversified team who can get the job done, who can achieve the focus When I mess up I will fess up. I will forgive myself and move on. I will do the same with other committed team players I recognize that when I trip up and fall, its because I am moving, and that without movement there can be no progress I will be myself at all times. I will not wear a mask I will deal with issues in a way that acknowledges how I truly feel about the situation. I will not skirt an issue in order to curry favor or look good I will avoid engaging in manipulative behaviors and face reality. I will demand the same of everyone else that I work withI will set the example

This is a tall order for most of us. But in order for people to follow you it is absolutely critical for them to see you as you are, to believe in you, to trust in you.


The leaders inner journey

Recommended Reading In his bestselling book Synchronicity The Inner Path of Leadership, author and leader Joseph Jaworski describes his personal journey from being a highly successful, top notch attorney, through a period of inner reflection, doubt and confusion, to ultimately a discovery of his real self and his true focus, which is creating leaders at all levels in the community, something he was not trained for in his twenty years as an attorney. His story is one of remarkable courage and personal change, but above all its a story of someone in a search to discover his authentic self. During his journey he encountered many facets of himself that were not very attractivehe faced many monsters and overcame them. He also managed somehow to attract to his BIG idea some of the greatest experts on leadership, who created a curriculum for The American Leadership Forum, a non-governmental agency he founded, with the purpose of developing collaborative leadership to deal with urban and regional problems in the United States. The Forum has based its work on eight propositions concerning leadership. The very first proposition is stated as: The trouble with American leaders is their lack of self-knowledge, - which reflects Jaworskis own journey.

How can you achieve greater self-knowledge?

One of the greatest capacities we possess as humans is our ability to deceive ourselves. We learn this very early in life as we compete for our parents attention, and the attention of other adults in our lives who hold tremendous power over us. We learn that to show signs of weakness in the presence of people with power might not be a very smart move. We form the perception that powerful people admire and support other powerful people, and therefore we try to become one, or at least form an image of ourselves as powerful. We do this in school, on the sports field, in extracurricular activities, in our hobbies, at home and at work. We tend to pay less outward attention to our weaknesses and more to our strengths. But inside many of us is a nagging voice that, from time to time, reminds us of our human weaknesses. Some people even grow up with imposter personalitiesthey continually try to show an image to the outside world of someone who is always in control, confident and powerful. On the inside however they may have serious feelings of weakness and insecurity.

There are many self-help tools available for discovering our true selves, and they make an excellent starting point for leaders who understand the value of selfdiscovery.

Help others become leaders too

Recommended Reading In their book Leading with Soul, authors Bolman and Deal describe the journey of Steve, a beleaguered executive and his quest for passion and purpose in work and in life. Steve consults with his mentor, and through a series of meetings with her, discovers some things about himself. He struggles with the question that his people do not feel a sense of authorship for their work, even though he felt he was technically good at delegation and follow-up. Many leaders unwittingly disempower people. Not knowing their authentic self, warts and all, they launch into an empowerment program, with the express aim of creating empowered leaders at every level in our organization. The only problem is that the newly empowered people are minted in the image and likeness of their leader, insecurities and all. The result is an imperfect attempt at cloning other people as leaders, who end up continually looking over their shoulders and wondering how the boss might do itno authorship, just failed attempts at plagiarism. If you want to get the most authentic effort from people, let them truly be the authors and designers, without interference from you. Allow them to be their authentic selves, not a fake you. To do this, you need to lead by example by being authentic yourself. Being authentic means letting go One leader I worked with, when asked by a group of his followers for his input on a proposed process improvement replied: My ideas on this are all flawed, but my need for control is encouraging me to interfere nonetheless. So Ill park my ego, and zip my lip. You guys have this corneredI trust your wisdom and judgment and I wont second-guess you. This came from a leader who had a reputation for interfering and secondguessing. The result was astonishing. The team working on the process improvement stopped looking over their collective shoulders, released their creativity and produced a process improvement that was nothing short of astounding.


In truth, this leader had been going through a personal transformation for some time, and the group had recognized it. In fact the leader would openly discuss his attempts at self-discovery and authenticity during weekly management meetings. The event was a watershed for the leader and the group, one that they talked about for some time after. The group was not about to let their newfound authorship slip out of their grasp! When you establish your focus, how much authorship are you going to allow your team in putting the pieces in place to achieve it? When we truly author something we take ownership. We feel responsible. We feel proud of our effort and accomplishment. Our minds are engaged, our hands are kept busy, our hearts are aroused and our spirit is revived. When this happens there is less need for such things as accountability contracts, 360 feedback or other instruments of control that masquerade as exercises in human resource development. Development simply happens naturally when you let go. Being authentic has a synergistic effect The renowned quality guru Joseph M. Juran defined management as the practice of controlling and improving things. The sad fact of the matter is that many leaders have made the mistake of trying to apply that to people. If you want to manage a person, try managing yourself. When you see how difficult that is, imagine the outcome when you try to control and improve someone else. Lead peoplemanage things. Where people are concerned, if there is anything to manage, it is the relationship between you and them. Focus on that. Set goals for that. Control what YOU do in the relationship. Improve the relationship. Nothing else will work. Try to manage a person and you will achieve one of three outcomes - they will revolt, comply or just plain ignore you. Mediocre performance will be the result, and you will be left wondering why people resist change, when the truth of the matter is that people dont resist change so much as they resist being changed. So if switching the emphasis from managing people to managing relationships is key, what has authenticity got to do with it? The bottom line on this is that people generally seek to develop relationships with other people whom they feel they can trust, and the whole basis for trust is authenticity. You wouldnt want to develop a relationship with someone you thought of as being a fake, would you?

Think of this as a reinforcing loop (see Fig 1). More authenticity leads to a higher degree of mutual trust, which empowers relationships and fuels the desire to take risks and inspires people to be the author of something BIG, (I might fail, but thats okay because theres a lot of forgiveness in this relationship). This produces more personal and organizational successes, which in turn reinforces authenticity.

Mutual Trust at Nissan

Carlos Ghosn (rhymes with phone) is a comic book hero in Japan. He is the star of Big Comic Superior, a serious biweekly Japanese comic book that began telling his life story in the latter half of 2001. Ghosn, born in Brazil, raised in Lebanon and a French citizen, came to Nissan in 1999 to head up a turnaround. At that time Nissan was deep in debt, and many observers doubted if an outsider could do much to rescue the troubled automaker. But Ghosn had different plans, specifically a three-year plan announced in October 1999, aimed at a revival of the Japanese firm. By January 2002, he already exceeded the three-year goals outlined in the plan. This was good news for him, because he promised to resign if the goals were not achieved.

His focus was clear, as he tells it in his own words: Our industry, and this is very important, is about products. This is extremely important. Anytime any car manufacturer has deviated from this, at the beginning there was some hype, but at the end a lot of sorrow Despite having to achieve a turnaround, he never lost sight of the need to involve people. He knew enough about his own limitations to know that the turnaround needed a solid team effort and to achieve that goal required a very high degree of mutual trust. He credits the success of the Nissan Revival Plan to one element: From the beginning, I was convinced that the main key to success is you establish trust with your employees and try to make sure they are motivated for what they are doing. This is the most important element. If you have this, if your people are fired up about the plan, even if it is difficult, if they believe it is going to be successful, if they trust you, you can do anything. Youre going to be successful, no doubt about it. And his plan was not without pain. He had to cut more than 21,000 jobs to stay afloat, including the closure of five plants. But he didnt just deal with the crisisthe other part of his plan was to reinvigorate Nissans product lineup, including spending on new product development representing five percent of sales, up from 3.5 percent. A big crisis followed by a big idea. Not bad for a comic book hero.

Tips for discovering your true self

In discovering your true self, consider the following tips as you embark on your journey: Spend more time with yourself. Remember the last time when you wanted to get to know someone better? Maybe it was your spouse, sweetheart, child or parent. The only way that you could get to know them better was to spend more time with them. Do this for yourself as well. Find solitude, escape to a place where you can be alone, without interruptions. Ask yourself searching questions, but be kind and considerate to yourself in the process. Show yourself the same kindness and consideration you would show to others in getting to know them. Be your own best friend. Explore all aspects of yourself, especially things about yourself that you may have put on the back burner or have given the least amount of attention to in the past. Face the futurelet go of the past. Avoid glib questions such as If I had only six months to live when in reality this is not the case. If you expect to live for another ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, think what you could achieve in that timeframe! Time is a resourceuse your time spent alone to plan what you will do with the rest of your time. You cant change the past, and the best way of letting go of the past is to grab hold of the future and start living it now! Learn how to trust yourself. In your discussions with yourself, stop berating yourself for past wrongs, imperfections and for being human. When you beat up on yourself, you erode the trust that needs to exist with your inner self. Would you trust someone who keeps beating you up emotionally every time you have a conversation? No, of course not! So dont do it to yourself. If you cant trust yourself, how can you expect others to trust you? When you do trust yourself, your conversations will become much more candid, honest, considerate and kindjust as they would be with your best and most trusted friend. Seek feedback from those who know you. Ask for candid feedback, but do not let it define you. Each person who gives you feedback has a unique perspective about youbut it is just thatunique. You are a complex human being, which no other human being, apart from yourself, will ever fully know.

Add the feedback to the information about yourself that you gather from other sources, and understand how the world sees you. Find a coach or mentor, someone who is not heavily involved in your life and who is not related to you. A coach or mentor can help you develop and answer the important questions that matter only to you. Professional coaches have a Human Resources and/or professional coaching accreditation, coupled with experience to make a difference. Find one you feel you can trust, not necessarily one you are cosy with. Use but avoid too much reliance on standardized tests and assessments (e.g. DiSC, MBTI, and other personality type assessments). While these are definitely helpful, they have been developed with broad application in mind. Keep in mind that you are unique, and try not to label yourself or your personality. Treat self-discovery as a lifelong journey We are constantly changing, and need to continuously update our body of knowledge about ourselves. Plan to have at least a once a year getaway where you can be by yourself for considerable periods of time, to reflect on who you are, what you have, what youve achieved and where youre headed. Dont limit yourself to these tipsneither are they steps to be worked on in sequence. Adapt them to your purpose, add what you feel will work for you, seek out other resources, but dont delay. Let go Its easier than you think. Let go of the disabling belief that you need to control people and what they do. Control is an illusion. People will always find ways to circumvent or overcome the artificial controls we put in place that box them in and suffocate their spirit. By letting go of the need to control and manipulate, you release a great energy. This energy will attract to you those people who share in your focus, your vision, your purpose. It has been said that the role of a leader is to find out what people really want, to gracefully articulate it, and then to help them obtain it. If your focus is truly inspiring and leads people to a higher purpose in life, then you cannot help but succeed. This requires great honesty and transparency from you...and it begins with being honest with yourself.

Summary of Key Questions

Now take another look at your FOCUS that you worked on in the first chapter. Is this really you? Does it articulate what you believe people want, that serves a higher purpose? Does it serve your higher purpose in life? When I coach managers, I ask them to articulate their vision or purpose. When they do, I ask What will having that do for you? When they give me an answer, I ask the same question again and what will having THAT do for you? I keep asking it until I hit a nerve. Heres an example BW: What is your vision for (organization) Manager: To be the best quality, lowest cost producer in our industry BW: What will having that do for you? Manager: Maximize market share and profitability BW: and what will having THAT do for you? Manager: Provide security for our employees and an above average return for our investors BW: and what will having THAT do for you? Manager: (getting a little bit peeved): I guess thats it BW: Is that all? Manager: (smiling) Theyre not bad outcomes! BW: Is that how you want to be remembered when youve passed out of this life? Manager: (looking puzzled) I thought that your questions were focused on the business outcomes? BW: Maybe we need to change the FOCUS? Manager: (still looking puzzled) What do you mean?


BW: What is YOUR vision or purpose? What you told me is almost a boilerplate reply that 95% of managers give me. Hardly uniquehardly compelling. If I were one of your employees or customers, I wouldnt be at all impressed. I could go to work for one of your competitors, or as a customer buy from them, and follow the same vision. If you attract people to a boilerplate vision, they will be boilerplate followers. Manager: I think Im beginning to get your drift Then follows a longer discussion on the meaning of personal vision or purpose. At a certain point, the manager will come to the conclusion that vision or purpose is highly individualized, highly personal. Forget what you learned about business being objective, fact based and impersonal. The truth is that we spend half (or more) of our waking hours in business situations, and we had therefore better make it personal, otherwise we risk being inauthentichaving our real selves and our business selves as two separate entities. Recommended Reading In their bestselling book, Built to Last, authors James Collins and Jerry Porras make a real distinction between the two types of organizations that were the subject of their extensive investigations into what makes companies last. They describe one set as clock builders and the other as time tellers. In other words, the clock builders personal visions were to build great companies that would survive and thrive, have a positive impact on the world, and outlive their founders (that was their BIG idea), whereas the time tellers were mostly interested in what they could extract from their companies in terms of profits, ROI, etc. So if your BIG idea does not contribute to building a better clock, i.e. a company built on lasting values, that serves a higher purpose, how long will it last after you are gone? Does your BIG idea have your hallmark stamped on it, does it express the unique and authentic you? Will it outlive you? Only you can judge this. Being authentic does not mean being perfect, being whiter than the driven snow. In fact, as you exhibit more and more of your true self, followers may at first think that you have gone too far, that you have exposed too many vulnerabilities. Will some people take advantage of that? Probably. But the alternative, being secretive and manipulative, is far too big a price to pay in order to avoid the hurt of being betrayed by some.

Being authentic, as discussed earlier, unlocks energies and creates synergies that would otherwise have been wasted on other pursuits. Make use of this energy. Use it to create an ever-widening groundswell of support for your focus. This groundswell will eventually overwhelm any attempts to exploit your very human vulnerabilities, or the vulnerabilities of those around you. Authenticity reveals itself in a renewed commitment to the achievement of something worthwhile. People around you will see it, feel it and hear itand so your own commitment will be reinforced and gain strength. You will literally gain strength from those around you, and they from you. The questions that you need to ask yourself concerning your authenticity are personal and unique to you. Unlike the questions that we asked at the end of the previous chapter on focus, there are no standard questions to offer you here. What I can offer is a guide to finding the questions that you need to explore yourself, that matter most to you: As you examine your focus, think about its higher purpose (what will achieving your focus do for you, your followers, the communities you serve, the industries you work in, the world at large?) Dont be afraid to explore. When the ancient mariners took off on their voyages, their maps showed areas which read There be dragons, but it still didnt stop them. Dont let your personal dragons stop you. Consider discovery of your weaknesses as an opportunity to strengthen your teamfind people to join your team who have these as strengths. As you reveal your strengths and weaknesses to your followers, ask them to follow you on your journey towards self-discovery. Expect some initial resistance, and then as people get on board, expect some profound discoveries and changes on their part. Understand that people will initially expect more of you in terms of personal change than they will of themselves. This is natural as there will be a time lag between your self-discovery and that of many others. Learn to talk sincerely about your feelings in given situations. This tells people more about the authentic you than any amount of advocating or proselytizing could ever do. Keep your word. Be careful therefore about what you commit to and be specific about it.


Admit when you are wrong, correct it and move on. More harm is done to leaders reputations when they hide a wrong than there is when they admit to it. When you do admit a wrong, dont dwell on it.

A final note on AUTHENTICITY

Being authentic requires that we drop all masks and reveal our true selves. So if all you have to lose is a mask, why not do it? We become truly authentic when we develop a deep understanding of who we are as unique human beings, and what worthwhile purpose were pursuing. This understanding brings joy into our lives and into the lives of others. Writer and playwright George Bernard Shaw put it rather bluntly when he said: "This is the true joy in life -- being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy" Nothing but the real you deserves success. Showing the real you requires, you guessed it, a ton of courage, which is the subject of our next chapter.



Have no fear of change as such, and on the other hand, no liking for it merely for its own sake Robert Moses Focus of this chapter: The courage to persistently challenge the status quo, to take calculated risks and to strive for breakthroughs, not just incremental improvements. Giving people enough time to deal with their losses before moving on to achieve the focus.

An odd thing about organizational change

When I talk with people about change, it never ceases to amaze me how much they seem to know about the changes that the other person or persons in their lives need to embrace. Sometimes this is so cleverly disguised even I get drawn inand Ive been at this for over twenty-five years. When people point the finger at others and spend time discussing how others are resisting change, it demonstrates a distinct lack of self-awareness or selfknowledge on their part and it scuttles more plans and great ideas along the way than most leaders will care to admit to. What about that failed expensive computer system introduced last year, that if only those folks in marketing REALLY understood? And what about that product or program launch that fizzled out if only those folks in operations put their back behind it, things WOULD have been different. To avoid playing this blame game, which can wreck an organization, the answer for you as a leader is to lead by personal example.

An odd thing about organizational changeit really is personal.

Leading change
With your focus already communicated and hopefully understood, its now time to work collaboratively with others to make it happen. This means figuring out the myriad details that must fit together into a coherent plan of actionin fact many plans. It also means keeping options open for as long as possible to allow for changing circumstances, and new opportunities. It means, as a leader, that you are going to be challenged to nail things down (What we need around here is more accountability) and at the same time, uproot things (Why cant our people be more innovative risk takers?) Achieving a delicate balance between these two distinctly different orientations is challenging. As you grapple with this challenge, you must demand the same of the people who report to you. And this is where it can get stressful. This is where leading by example will be your best ally. You need to be able to manage your stress. In a previous chapter, we talked about the STOP START IMPROVE approach to leading change. In attempting to achieve your focus, you need to ask the following key questions, and it will demand a great deal of courage, especially on your part, to find the answers: STOP: Which existing lines of business, programs, products, services and processes do we need to discontinue or phase out because they no longer support the focus? The greatest challenge here will be disturbing the status quo. People who run these programs have invested long hours, much sweat and a great deal of themselves in making them work. They probably even have new plans on the drawing board to improve or revitalize them. They may even be passionate about them. Expect the strongest resistance here. Emphasize the need to honor past accomplishments, give people sufficient time to mourn the losses they are experiencing, to close the book on the past and then move on. Keep in mind that its not just the people who are directly affected by these changes that you need to be concerned about, but other people in the organization are also affected in a more subtle it could be me next time way.


START: Which new lines of business, programs, products, services and processes do we need to introduce in order to achieve the focus? What new competencies will we need to introduce in order to make these new initiatives work? What existing competencies will we need to transfer into these new initiatives? This is the glamorous side of change. Expect a lot of interest and competition for positions on project teams here. Emphasize the need for innovation, and expect some failures. Celebrate the successesand personally lead these celebrations. IMPROVE: Which existing lines of business, programs, products, services and processes do we need to dramatically improve, in order to achieve the focus? Expect a lot of jockeying for favor here between those things that people want to discontinue versus improve. Sometimes the distinction is fuzzya fine line between what works and what doesnt. Again, this disturbs the status quo. To improve means a substantial improvement over a short period of time, not just more of the same incremental improvements that perhaps have already been taking placeit means a new higher standard. Watch out for competitiveness between this and the other two approaches. Some folks will want to escape to the more glamorous project teams who are starting out on a brand new journey, while still others will want to escape the possibility of becoming a victim of a discontinued function. So what do you, as a leader, do in these types of situations? First, lead by personal example, as stated earlier. This means that you must show others how you are coping with the changes that you must personally undertake in order to achieve the focus. What are you personally doing in the STOP START IMPROVE trilogy? This can and should relate, at least in part, to your voyage of self-discovery discussed in the previous chapter. What personal behaviors are you trying to stop, start, or improve? Maybe in the past you have been too autocratic in certain situations? Maybe you have been too easily influenced, or have not held people accountable, or have not practiced enough follow up? Maybe you have been slow to innovate? This is where you can make your personal journey visible to all.

Second, admit openly that you do not have all the answersnor does anyone elseright now. While keeping people looking forward in the direction of the focus, concentrate the dialogue on the many ways by which the focus can be achieved. Keep people looking forward and moving forward. This is critical. In todays business world, you are only as good as your last game, to borrow a sporting phrase. Third, use the towards AND away from directions of motivation discussed in an earlier chapter to get peoples attention, to get them to truly understand the consequences that await them, and to create an environment where people are self motivated. What will achieving the focus do for the organization; its customers and suppliers; for the people who run it; for the community; for all stakeholders? What will NOT achieving it mean for all these people? Be explicit, and keep the consequences at the forefront. Bear in mind, we are talking here about natural consequences, not contrived ones. These consequences represent what I call an inescapable logic, dictated mostly by your external environment, not rewards and punishments that might disappear if you or someone else happens to have a change of heart. Do not use these natural consequences as a threat, for it will be seen as coming from you, and not the external world. Fourth, dont back off from your focus, not even for a moment. When people see a leader blink in the face of opposition, they can lose confidence very quickly. When opposition arises, respect the right of the person or group to bring concerns to the surface, in fact encourage it, but demand that they bring suggestions for solving the problem as well. Try to think of opposition as falling into three different categories, or types: Type 1: The Test Much of the opposition you experience will be a test to see if you are really serious about your focus. Most people have been through change before, and believe they can distinguish between real change and a fad. Punch drunk veterans of previous waves of change even have a term for fads: BOHICA or Bend Over Here It Comes Again. Type 2: Did I Hear You Right? Some opposition will occur as a result of misunderstandings about what the focus stands for. As your message, succinct as it is travels throughout the organization, expect for it to be added to, deleted from,

modified, over emphasized, under emphasized, and generally taken apart and put back together many times. Use personal dialogue to clear up these misunderstandings. Give people space to air their views and to seek clarification. Be available. Treat these first two types of opposition as a blessing, as a way to talk openly and candidly about previous experiences with change, and for discovering how people want change to be handled this time around. But maintain your focus. Type 3: I Didnt Sign Up for This! In a few cases, opposition will be real and permanent, based on a fundamental clash of beliefs and values. This occurs mostly where there is a fundamental shift in the mission of an organization, or where the organization is attempting to go through a transformation. This is where very often a parting of the ways needs to happen. Sad as this is, it is better for the person(s), and for the organization, that this parting happens as quickly and as humanely as possible. Fifth, maintain and support the organizational values, especially in the face of stiff opposition to change. If one of your stated values is respect for people, then show it openly, even if a person or group is not showing respect towards you. Does this mean that you roll over for some people to trample on you? On the contrary, you face the opposition on two fronts one, you deal with the manner in which that opposition was demonstrated; and two, you deal with the substance of the opposition. For example, if the opposition involves open aggression, then deal with the aggression as a flagrant flaunting of the organizational value of respect for others. Be unflinching in that regard. Then, deal with the substance of the oppositionit may still have merit. But dont allow a person or group to flaunt organizational values, no matter how much substance or merit their opposition or point of view has. These five actions are important, even critical. But you will find many other ways in which to advance towards your focus, all the time trying desperately hard not to be seen as secretive or manipulative. Holding firm to your focus, your values, your true self, you will be tested at every step along the way. There will be times when you will feel betrayed by some whom youve trusted implicitly, for such is the fickleness of human nature. On the other hand, you will be surprised by the lengths to which some people will go to fight on your behalf, and at times it will appear as though you have an army of supporters working for your focus. This is as it should be.

The courage to face reality

Courage. People know it when they see it. They also know what it is not. It is not brashness, bravado, or being macho. It is not being pig-headed or obstinate. It is not about storming the hill. It is about facing realityand this is where many leaders fail. There are as many versions of reality as there are people. When you announce your focus, people immediately contrast it with realitytheir own version of it. Recommended Reading Peter Senge, in his bestselling book, The Fifth Discipline describes these versions of reality as mental models, which we use to explain how we believe the world works, or should work. Surfacing peoples mental models is essential to understanding how people perceive the gap that exists, in their view, between current and future realitiesbetween what exists now and your future focus. If the gap appears too big, there will be resistance, or tension as Senge describes it. Helping people deal with this tension in a creative way is the best way to ease the tension, the only other way being to let go of or relax your focus. Creativity therefore is the key to achieving the breakthroughs that you will need in order to advance towards your focus. And creativity takes courage, because it involves failure on a scale that most leaders and organizations find difficult if not impossible to stomach.

The courage to allow creativity to blossom

Our organizations and management systems are designed for control. Control is important, that goes without saying. Without control, we would not know where we are on our journey. We would most likely lose our way. But control what? As mentioned in a previous chapter, a key task of managing is to control and improve an organizations mission critical processes, the ones that produce value for its stakeholders. These processes tend to be designed with control in mind. They represent the essential supply chain between what stakeholders want or need, and what the organization producesthe link between demand and supply. Colouring outside the lines, thinking outside the box are terms that are frequently used to urge people to depart from this control oriented way of thinking in order to generate and embrace new innovative ideas. There is great danger here.

People will be afraid that not doing it right the first time, the mantra of the control oriented organization, will prevailthat they will be punished somehow for trying and failing on their first attempt. They might be right. If your organization has compensation, rewards, recognition and yes, even disciplinary systems that were designed with control and incremental improvement in mind, guess what? Thats exactly what you will get...control and very, very slow incremental improvements. With your new focus, there likely will be a major chasm between current reality and the future, and its extremely dangerous to leap a chasm in two or more bounds, which is what your organizational systems are probably designed to do. So something has to give Enter bottom line innovation. Although you may not see yourself as a great innovator, it does not mean that you cannot sponsor great innovations. The key sponsorship role for you to play is to establish strong linkages between the innovative skunk works part of your organization (those responsible for the innovative breakthrough designs) and the production minded, control oriented part (those responsible for getting the product out the door or for serving clients.) The skunk works generate the new ideas, test them out, prove their worth and then hand them over to the production side, who then control and incrementally improve the daily processes that bring the new ideas to the marketplace, reliably and predictably. This does not mean that both sides work in isolation, with a wall dividing them. On the contrary, people pass between these organizations on a regular basis, both formally and informally. Constructive dialogue, cross-functional teamwork, and concurrent design are all ways that organizations are now fulfilling this need to marry innovation with quality minded production and service delivery. You will be spending a good deal of your time in both environments, leading by example, showing how it is possible to embrace the new, while holding on to whats best about the old, praising new product and service innovations AND flawless delivery in the same way and to the same degree. The SOP Factor In the production and service delivery part of organizations the acronym S.O.P. stands for Standard Operating Procedure, emphasizing the need for quality, reliability and predictability; while in the skunk works part it stands for Seat Of the Pants, emphasizing the need for experimentation and risk taking. The leadership style you need to apply will differ depending on which part of the organization you are interacting with. The feedback and reinforcement for

one side will emphasize out of bounds thinking and acting, while the other side will emphasize keeping things within bounds. Geoffrey Ballard thought he could change the world, at a time when others thought he was crazy. Ballard, a Canadian geophysicist who had directed lab research for the U. S. Army and headed up an energy conservation program for the U. S. Department of Energy, was adamant that his ideas on hydrogen fuel cell technology could produce a viable and cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, and that the future of transportation was in electric powered vehicles based on this technology. So, in the mid seventies in the searing heat of Arizona, Ballard and a few associates set about their work, working on shoestring budgets and with a focus that was unrelenting. Their company went bankrupt at one point, but that did not deter them. Moving to North Vancouver in British Columbia in 1983 and working on a small contract for the Canadian military, they set about improving upon the fuel cell originally developed by GE and abandoned by them because of cost, and worked long hours to find ways to improve its power and reduce its cost. In 1986, at Los Alamos Laboratories in New Mexico, they were able to unveil their workand the world started at last to pay attention. Ballard Systems built fuel cell transit buses, allowing the cities of Chicago and Vancouver to carry passengers in environmentally efficient and friendly vehicles for a number of years now. Investment dollars began to flow, and by the mid to late 1990s the major auto manufacturers began to sign on. DaimlerChrysler and Ford got into the act with a billion dollar investment in Ballard Systems in 1997, representing a 35% stock acquisition. Ballard, along with his partners Keith Prater, a chemist and Paul Howard, an engineer had at last arrived. Gone were the days of beer and pizza and late nights testing designs on shoestring budgets. Their focus and persistence paid off. Ballard was nominated as one of Time magazines Heroes of the Environment in 1999. His courage meant that he was able to not alone innovate, but also to get the world to wake up to the realities of dwindling supplies of fossil fuels and their effect on the environment. He challenged the existing thinking, and all the indications are that he won.


The courage to change all systems that dont support the focus
Traditional performance management systems, with their emphasis on proving you achieved a goal, are simply not suited to an environment where failure is seen as an essential step to improving. Balancing the need to prove with the desire to improve is a leadership challenge that you need to rise to, and your organizational systems need to be flexible enough to accommodate both needs. In Geoffrey Ballards case there were more failures than successes, but he nevertheless succeeded. Had he been a member of an established organization his failures might have gotten him reprimanded and perhaps even fired long before they paid off. The performance management system would have gotten to him first. But he used his failures as ways to learn and improve, and he refused to give up. Human resource systems such as performance management, compensation, reward and recognition, recruitment, human resource development, and organizational development need to be aligned with both innovative and control oriented thinking. Many leaders think that they can tweak existing systems and all will be well. This is simply not so. Like all other organizational systems, you will find that your HR systems are primarily designed to ensure control and small incremental improvements and will fall far short when it comes to supporting innovative breakthroughs. Take recruitment as a prime example. Lets say that you need to recruit people with really innovative minds, the type that like to experiment a lot. Yet the recruitment system is built around standard job descriptions, standard personnel profiles, standard wording in ads that attract standard types of applicants, even standard interview processes with standard sets of questions. Tweaking such a recruitment process to meet the need for attracting high caliber candidates who are innovators will not work. Even if some bright people do manage to sneak in past all the controls, expecting these people to conform to the many other standard HR systems will eventually frustrate them and drive them to leave the organization. The same applies for all the other processes in your organization. The courage to challenge the existing systems, and the people who manage them, is essential to the success of the focus. Be unrelenting on this. Innovative and flexible systems lead to innovative and flexible outcomes. This may require bold strokes, such as hiring a non-HR type as a manager in charge of creating innovative HR solutions, which need to coexist alongside the

standard HR solutions, which you will still need. Dont assume that the traditional HR thinking can shift enough to meet the future needs of the organization. If it doesgreat; if not, you need some imaginative solutions, perhaps some new blood. Maybe a Geoffrey Ballard or two.

The courage to shut things down, phase things out

I believe that the vast majority of people come to work with the best of intentions. They want to do a great job, one that they can be proud of, be recognized and rewarded properly for, and have some ownership inone they can really identify with. And the last part, ownership and identity, is the one that will cause you the most grief. Because just as people are getting good at something, when they can identify what contribution they are making, along comes a leader with different ideas. The leaders ideas may have a lot of merit, even be based on an inescapable logic, but it hurts like hell to let go of something you have nurtured to life and which is still producing good results, in favor of something that has not yet been created, let alone tested out in the real world. The solution for you as leader is to set two deadlines, a sunset for the old and a sunrise for the new. Be specific about these dates, and change them only when it is absolutely necessary. Find a role for everyone in meeting both deadlines. Allow people to mourn the loss of the old, and celebrate the introduction of the new. There is something really compelling about sunsets and sunrises. Use this not only as a metaphor, but also as a practical tool in creating change. Send out the message that sunsets can be just as beautiful as sunrises, that eventually the rising sun will also in time set, and then another one will rise in its place. Emphasize that change is a natural phenomena that happens in life cycles. Leading people gracefully and fully through the transition from one cycle to the next is essential to the growth of the organization and the people within it. Leading such a transition is simple, but not easy. The steps involved in phasing something out or bringing something new to life can be articulated using good project management tools. But the feelings and emotions that accompany transitions can at times cloud peoples judgment, cause friction, conflicts, even illness, and which if left unattended, can leave deep wounds that may never fully heal.

For example, mergers and acquisitions that look good on paper can very often fail miserably, mainly because of a lack of understanding of what it takes to merge two very different organizational cultures. Perhaps both organizations experience losses and the people concerned feel that it is not politically correct to talk about their deep feelings and sense of loss, especially with members of the other organization. They feel they must always be up and sounding positive about the changes, when the real truth is that they have very mixed and confused emotions, and need to be able to sufficiently express them in order to move on and help the organization achieve its focus. Many leaders unwittingly promote this by themselves feeling that they must always show a positive side and appear pumped when addressing the troops, rather than showing their authentic selves. They think that to do anything else would be wimpy, and certainly not courageous leadership! The opposite is actually true. Allow people to talk about their lossesthis may feel counter-intuitive, but it is essential to the achievement of your focus. Encourage people to express themselves authentically. Remember, the sun has to set before it can rise again. This requires a delicate balance. You dont want, nor can you afford to allow people to wallow and get stuck in mourning their losses. But you must allow enough time for people to grieve. How much is enough? You are going to have to determine this for yourself. But remember one thing - to watch a sunset, you have to be facing west. If you keep facing in that direction, even with the greatest will and determination, the best view and the most powerful technology, you still wont experience a new sunrise. The trick to moving on is to change direction at the right time, to give people a new vista, a new focus. And you alone must lead that.

Tips for developing courage

The following tips will help you to develop the courage necessary to engage your organization in an effective STOP-START-IMPROVE strategy: Believe absolutely and wholeheartedly in your focus. Those opposing you will think twice about attacking your aim, as they know that you will not back down. Engage in vigorous debate on the values underpinning your focus, whenever and as often as possible. This sharpens your intellect, reinforces your values and prepares you for the bigger battles ahead. Defend those who support the focus. You are not in this alone, and developing courage involves defending those who are weaker or in a weaker position than you. Take the necessary time to think things through. Being courageous does not mean storming the hill. On the contrary, sometimes it takes a lot of courage and nerves of steel to wait things out. Give yourself the time to make well thought out decisions. Call on others when you feel cornered. Dont be afraid to marshal the forces if the going gets tough.


Summary of Key Questions

As a way to get you thinking about this on a deeper level, try answering these questions for yourself: What will it take to achieve our focuswhat will we need to: STOP



How have we handled change in the past?

How should we handle change this time around?

How will we handle competition and conflict between the two sides of our organization (the innovators and the controllers)? How can we show that BOTH are equally essential to our success?

How will we celebrate our past successes (sunsets) and rejoice in our new directions (sunrises)?


How will we handle people who decide that they no longer want to be part of our organization? What overriding human values need to be uppermost in our minds if we decide to part company?

What must I as a leader personally do in order to lead by example? What personal behaviors must I Stop/Start/Improve?

A final note on COURAGE

Being committed to moving forward towards your focus is not mandatory. Neither, as W. Edwards Deming said, is survival. Its a matter of personal choice. Katherine Hathaway put it quite well when she said: If you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, your life will be safe, expedient and thin. I have known some people in leadership positions who have led such safe, expedient and thin lives, and who always seemed to be struggling to understand why they were not recognized as a great leader. Truly focused, authentic, courageous leaders show, through their personal example, that leading is a decision they have made, not something that was bestowed on them as a title because of past accomplishments or future potential. Mahatma Gandhi captured the true essence of courageous leadership when he said: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." If you want the world to be a better place to live in, and you have the courage to change it, you will need plenty of other people on your side, which brings us on to the next chapter



Prophets grow in stature as people respond to their message. If their early attempts are ignored or spurned, their talent may wither away Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant as Leader Focus of this chapter: The ability to understand others, to value their input, to take the time to listen even in the midst of fast change and furious action, and to capitalize on that input. To value diversity and to walk a mile in the other persons shoes.

Slow down and listen

Listen up. Most of us have difficulty in really listening. Although we live in a technology driven world, where the promise of faster, easier and better quality communications is made daily, the reality is that this outcome remains as elusive as ever. Our span of attention has dwindled to point & click. (If you dont believe this, try waiting for a computer program or a web site to load, and measure your frustration if it takes longer than 10 seconds.) Organizations of all types, profit, non-profit, government, non-government have been caught in this faster is better myth. After all, speed is something tangible, something you can measure objectively. In addition to cost, speed as a measure of corporate performance has in many instances won out over quality. The latter, because of difficulty in measuring it objectively, in many cases has been given lip service and the inevitable kiss-off.

Recommended Reading The importance of listening was emphasized by Bill Pollard, Chairman of The ServiceMaster Company, in his book The Soul of the Firm, when he said How do you get people to take initiative, to grow and develop, to treat the company as if it were theirs? Obviously, you have to provide a compensation package that is fair and competitive, but any firm can do that. You also have to pay attention. You listen to your employees, get to know them, find out what makes them tick, and then help them reach their goals. This heavy accent on speed does not allow us to slow down long enough to catch what another person might be trying to tell us. In the next chapter we will cover the topic of timing, which is altogether different from speed; but we sometimes get the two mixed up. In this chapter, we will focus our attention on how to slow things down sufficiently to make intelligent and focused discussions a core competency for you and your organization, and in so doing strengthen the relationships that exist between people and between ideas. The art of conversation can become a major competitive advantage for you. How good are you at conversation? Imagine the following scenario. You are at a party, and are engaged in a conversation that is really stimulating. Not a heavy intellectual debate, just a conversation about a topic for which you have a point of view, an interest in. You notice that other groups at the party are looking in the direction of your group, some in an apparently envious way. They may even be contemplating joining your fun group. Just then the host pops her head in and says Stop having so much fun, youre making us all jealous! Then suddenly it hits you. Why cant all conversations be like this? Why cant I have conversations like this ALL THE TIME at work, instead of those interminable meetings that get nowhere and seem to take on a life of their own?

How to have quality conversations

When was the last time you had a really good conversation with someone? Hold on a minutebefore you answer that, here are some conditions that would need to be met in order for that conversation to be good

No phone calls, no background noise, uninterrupted time, no preoccupation Open agenda

Descriptive versus evaluative discussion (i.e. non-judgmental disclosure of thoughts and feelings) Acknowledgement of equal status of participants during the conversation Problem orientated versus controlling Spontaneous, rather than strategic Empathic versus neutral Active listening (e.g. avoidance of too much internal dialogue)

Now answer that question. Are you surprised by your answer? It seems that in the rapid pace of our times and the nature of organizational life, we may have lost, or misplaced, the simple art of conversation. If you were to ask leaders or members of a team where the barriers are within their work place, the response you would likely get would be related to the lack of processes within the organization to improve the quality and effectiveness of communication. Bringing the art of conversation back into your work life might be the answer! So how do you do it? Conversational forms can range on a continuum from Conflict Avoidance to Open Conflict to Exploratory Dialogue to Agreement/Closure. Any conversation can progress or regress on this continuum (see Fig 2).

Lets put this into a real world context for a moment

Which form would have been demonstrated in the last federal election in your country? How about the conflict in Palestine? How about the Enron debacle and the refusal of some parties to testify? Do these situations sound more like Conflict Avoidance or Open Conflict than Exploratory Dialogue or Agreement/Closure? No doubt the former, for the most part. Now what about the last discussion you had with a staff member? Where would you place that on the continuum? As individuals move from left to right along the continuum, the conversation becomes more attuned to a shared meaning of reality. To engage people in exploratory dialogue, you need to move away from the traditional form of discussion in which you may orient yourself around advocating (your own point of view), towards a balance between advocating and inquiring (about the other persons perspective). You then have a greater understanding of the reasoning and assumptions behind both points of view. Moving into agreement/closure goes one step further You need to judge when the timing is right (more on this in the next chapter), and determine if there is enough ground to reach a consensus, while avoiding false consensus, or a forced solution. You need to walk in the other persons shoes, while at the same time avoiding the tendency to shoe horn your thinking into their shoes! Both forms of conversation, advocating or inquiring, are useful, depending on the circumstances and the intent of the discussion. Exploratory dialogue (inquiring) is useful when you and your team want to explore, to discover or to gain insight (divergent thinking). It is used to improve the quality of collective thinking and interacting. Alignment improves as your group sees how their work fits into a larger whole. In Agreement/Closure, (mostly advocating) you and the team intend to come to some closure, to make a decision, to reach agreement or to identify priorities. The discussion is more focused on tasks and the groups thinking coming together (convergent thinking). There are a number of useful approaches or techniques that can be used to practice these conversational skills, one of which we shall discuss in the next section.


Give people space and time to think

Talk to most people and they would agree with you that more time is lost annually in poorly run meetings than in strikes, downtime, travel, injuries, illness or any other causes that you can care to think of. The only problem is, lost time due to poorly run meetings is unaccounted for. There are many tools for running effective meetings, yet most of them are so badly integrated into meeting processes, that they only result in worsening the situation. Recommended Reading Author and consultant Harrison Owen felt compelled to write about his experiences in facilitating meetings, when he discovered that, at conferences he attended, some of the best conversations were heard at the coffee breaks. This got him thinking. What if a meeting was organized in such a way that it gave people enough space to take charge, arrange their own agenda, and form natural groups based on what they wanted to discuss, not what the meeting conveners, facilitators, consultants and experts wanted them to discuss. Thus was born Open Space, a breakthrough approach to meetings that actually works, (unless the leader has a need for control that pushes him or her in the direction of being always in charge, which kills spontaneity. Time is money, right?) That was the case until "Open Space" was developed. This approach to meeting management (if it could be called that) was first pioneered by Owen, who has written two books on the subject. Simply stated, this approach is based on the belief (and it turns out a true one at that), that people who voluntarily attend meetings, will do whatever it takes to make them work. At the same time, those who are "press-ganged" into attending will in many cases work to defeat the meeting purpose. In running an Open Space style of meeting, there are no ground rules. You could be forgiven for thinking that this would create a recipe for meeting madness (especially if you have ever attended a Toastmasters meeting!). Not so. The approach uses what's known as the Four Principles, One Law and Two Engines, and it works. It draws its power from the fact that all groups, if left alone, will become largely self-organizing, if they have a focus and only if they are allowed to be. The Four Principles These are: Whoever is present are the right people Whatever happens is the only thing that could have Whenever it starts is the right time

When it's over, it's over

The One Law (or the Law of Two Feet) During the course of the meeting, any person who finds him or herself in a situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they must use their two feet and go to some more productive place. The Two Engines These are: Passion for the issue, bounded by the Responsibility to search for and find solutions. As a meeting facilitator, I was recently challenged (at short notice) to facilitate a meeting of 200+ delegates to a conference, during which the possibility of conflict was relatively high. I chose to use the above elements of Open Space, in order to give the delegates the opportunity to 'step up to the plate', take responsibility and make things work. My role was to 'open' the space for them and then to keep it open. They didnt let me down. The conference was a great success. Open Space is an effective, economical, fast, and easily repeatable strategy for organizing meetings large and small. This apparently unstructured approach to managing meetings has been used globally with groups ranging in size from 5 to 1,000. The participants leave the meeting with a printed account (aka report) of the discussions, and a passion to make the findings work. Why does an approach like this work? I feel the characteristics that are evident are as follows: Spontaneity Not having a preset agenda (the participants create one at the beginning) allows for an early exchange of information between the participants, and the spontaneous kick-start of open dialogue Control Participants do not feel corralled by someone elses agenda, and therefore take control themselves, within the context of the topic Spirit of Inquiry Opening up enough space for people to talk about what interests them plays to peoples natural curiosity, and promotes a balance between advocacy and inquiry. It inspires people to open up space for each other, and to engage in dialogue that explores that space. Outcomes

How people use their time is up to them, but the need to produce a report, a tangible outcome at the end, drives people towards closure. What does this have to do with empathy, the subject of this chapter? An empathic leader knows that adopting these conversational characteristics can act as a counterbalance to the notion that the leaders passion for his or her focus might translate into or be perceived as an autocratic command and control style of leadership. Although as a leader you need to be passionate about your focus, you also need to be just as passionate about giving people the space and time to relate to you and others, to think, experiment, learn, grow and develop. This interest in people is not altruistic. That would be sympathy, not empathy. It is a reflection of the value that you as a leader place in people and what they can offer. The attitude that people have towards your organization is in large part a reflection of what they value in the purpose of the organization, the role they play and what they can expect in return. In many ways it is a new contract for a new era. The old type of employment contract was attuned towards a different set of economic and societal circumstances, for a different era. The word employee has as its root employ which means to use, whereas the new contract is fundamentally different. It emphasizes the relationship that an organization has with people as its greatest asset, not the people. After all, an asset is something you own, a thing, something you manage and can dispose of in whatever way you wish. People therefore are not assets to be used; rather the relationship that you have with people is your greatest asset. This is a fundamental point in your development as a leader. Treat people as assets, and you dehumanize them. You need to build relationships through understanding people, as Bill Pollard of ServiceMaster said: getting to know them, finding out what makes them tick, and then helping them reach their goals. And you can only do that through active listening.

When teams dont listen

Active listening, moving along in the right direction on the conversational continuum, gaining a better understanding of each other and achieving closure are essential ingredients for team success. But many teams stall and even regress on this continuum. Conflict avoidance is more evident than open conflict in many organizations. The result is false or forced consensus, resulting in more conflict avoidance, and at times leading eventually to open conflict. Empathy among team members and between teams can occur spontaneously. But in many cases, when teams are stuck, it takes a conscious effort on the part

of the leader to introduce the topicfor many teams it is a hot potato that no one wants to handle. In teams that have a diverse range of people from different cultural backgrounds this is a real challenge. Diversity can be both a stimulator of change or if not understood, an impediment. Bestselling author Stephen Covey says that strength lies in differences, not similarities. The key is to build teams based on complementary characteristics, not clones of each other. Knowing each team members strengths, weaknesses, preferences and principles (beliefs & values), and building a team based on complementary characteristics requires a leader to step forward and address the fears that people may have concerning this degree of personal revelation, this degree of empathy for each other. As discussed in a previous chapter, many organizations have HR systems designed around control, with rewards and punishment that have a distinctively Pavlovian flavor (pardon the pun). These systems can and do instill fear in an organization, making people feel that in order to advance in the organization or at least stand still, they have to look good all the time. As the great quality pioneer W. Edwards Deming advocated, leaders need to drive fear out of their organizations. An organization that operates on the fear factor cannot develop a sustainable high performance team culture. In an organization gripped by fear, empathy is a word that conjures up a soft approach to issues. Leaders, especially those in the middle ranks of such organizations, are forced to rule by fear. Very often this type of rule is covert, with all the usual surface manifestations of teamwork evident slogans, recognition (Pavlov again), teambuilding exercises, team announcements by senior management, team names, t-shirts, mugs and plenty of fodder for Dilbert cartoons. Drive fear out. Root it out. Expose it. Do whatever it takes to make fear evident and make it obsolete. Make elimination of fear an organizational goal, even an organizational value. Fear in organizations tends to be systemic. Overhaul your systems. Start with goal setting and performance appraisals, the root of much fear. How? Treat goal setting as a hypothesis testing exercise. (Ifwe introduce this new programwe believe it mayproduce these results.) Treat performance appraisal as an opportunity to discuss whether the hypothesis was true or false, whether it worked or not, and what WE need to do differently next time. Call it something else, how about Performance Feedback?

Focus on team performance, less on individual performance. The sum of the whole is better than the individual parts. If a team member is struggling, work with them in an empathic way, seek to understand them. As you undertake your own journey, understand that other team members are probably struggling with theirs too. Help them along the way. But whatever you do on an individual basis, connect or reconnect the individual with the team, help them to become part of something significant, help them to belong. Maslow tells us that we all desire to belong to something worthwhile, to be wanted, to be loved. In fact, it has been shown that people fear social isolation more than they fear death, which is why some people commit suicide; death is often a better option than isolation, being unwanted, being unloved. When a leader takes a keen and genuine interest in developing a cohesive team, he or she connects on a very human and even spiritual level with people. The leader builds a community, a communion of people. There is no stronger bond created than when people come together to make something significant happen. Make work an adventure. I am reminded of a quotation by Milton R. Saperstein, which captures much of what I am trying to convey here: Working for an organization should be an adventure, not an anxious discipline in which everybody is constantly graded for performance Most people who leave corporate life do so because they are unhappy with their boss, rather than dissatisfaction with their contract, their pay or their benefits. Various studies have confirmed this. But more than that, I believe many are not happy with the fact that organizational life is not an adventure, has become dull and boring, and they happen to have a boss who is also dull and boring, and who only knows how to manage people, not lead them. Dont become this type of boss. Ask people what its like to work around here. Dont readily accept it when they tell you its superremember fear can make liars of us all.

Listen to your customers

Paying attention to establishing conversational skills inside your organization is crucial to success, but what about the external world, where your clients or customers live? Listening to the customer also needs attention, but listening to the customer is not enough. What makes a loyal customer? One who speaks loudly and with fervor about your organization, telling others how you have made a real and positive difference in their lives? In a word - expectations.

But meeting or exceeding customer expectations is not as simple as it first appears. For a start, many of your customers or prospective customers are not sure what they should expect. Many will not tell you because they expect you to know...after all, you're the expert at what YOU do, and you can't expect the customer to know as much about that as you. In our work with clients, we like to break this problem down into pieces, and for that purpose we use what we call The Customer Loyalty Grid to help us understand this better. This grid is divided into four zones, as depicted in Figure 3.

Unstated/Expected...The Zone of Indifference Literally, this includes all those customer needs and wants that are basic to fulfilling the contract between you and them.

For example, customers expect to be treated with courtesy and respect, and would probably be puzzled (and maybe even insulted) if you asked them if this was a need. Of course its a need, and if you don't meet this need, you will cause DISSATISFACTION. If you meet this basic and obvious need, the best you can hope for is INDIFFERENCE. Stated/Expected...The Zone of Satisfaction This is where your customer actually TELLS you what is important to them. Listen carefully here, as this is a key stepping stone to customer loyalty. Meeting a customer's needs here will cause SATISFACTION, whereas not meeting them will cause DISSATISFACTION. For example, a customer might expect a volume discount on a purchase, but knows that they have to specifically ask (or negotiate) for it. It is an expectation, perhaps because other organizations that the customer deals with provide a similar benefit. Stated/Unexpected...The Zone of Delight This is where your customer HOPES for something, ASKS for it, but really does not expect you to provide it. This is your opportunity to provide something beyond their expectations and by so doing will create DELIGHT. For example, a customer might ask for something that is usually available only in a premium priced product. Not providing it will unlikely cause dissatisfaction, whereas providing it will cause delight. Therefore this is an area for particular attention in building a LOYAL customer base. Unstated/Unexpected...The Zone of Loyalty This is an area where your expertise in whatever product or service you provide and the customer's lack of expertise can really pay off! Providing benefits above and beyond what the customer is even aware of can create a LOYAL customer. This requires you to be really proactive in suggesting to customers new innovations that they can really benefit from. Many customers will be even willing to pay extra for this. For example, CD players in automobiles when first introduced were an innovation, but customers had no way of asking for this innovation, or expecting it, before it became known to them. All Zones are equally important To get to the Zone of Loyalty, you must first conquer the other zones...there are no shortcuts.

If your organization is really good at innovations (the key factor in creating Loyalty), but struggles at reliability (the key factor in creating Satisfaction), then it will end up struggling in all four zones. Loyalty creating innovations are time limited What was once an unstated/unexpected innovation will eventually become unstated/expected...would you now purchase a car without a CD player? Would you even ask the salesperson if it is installed? So maintaining a rate of innovation that matches or exceeds what the market demands is crucial to maintaining customer loyalty. All parts of your organization are involved in creating loyal customers...those who produce and deliver the basic product or service, reliably day in and day out, as well as those who create and bring to market new offerings that delight the customer. Treat them all as members of the same team...the Customer Loyalty Team...and you will reap the benefits well into the future.

When you leaddo others follow?

Much has been written about leadership style, and you may be wondering, given all of the foregoing, if your leadership style is the right one for the task. Good questionand hopefully one I can answer in this next section. On a good day, most leaders would answer 'yes' to the question when you leaddo others follow? But what happens on the not-so-good days? What happens when you have to make tough decisions quickly, or you have to deal with a noticeable drop in team or individual performance? Do your people hesitate in following you then? Situations like this are becoming more and more prevalent across various sectors, as customers demand higher and higher performance from you and your team, and your team demands more say in how decisions are made and how 'things get done around here'more empowerment. The speed with which products, programs and services need to be developed and delivered has accelerated to the point that theoretical approaches to 'empowerment' get bogged down in their own rationale, and become flavor of the month very quickly. Leadership style is important, and your followers are in the best position to be the judges and provide you with feedback on what is your predominant style. But how do you elicit that type of candid feedback? The answer is to get to know your followers, and one way to do this is to

Walk a while in their shoes

West Edmonton Mall (WEM) in Alberta, Canada is one of the worlds largest malls. Imagine if you were the manager of such a mega-mall, and you decided to spend some time getting to know each and every employee? How would you go about it? WEM manager Gary Hanson decided that he would spend one day per month over an 18-month period working in each department, starting with maintenance. People were surprised to find him in the mall parking lot in the middle of winter (it gets awfully cold up here in The Great White North!) picking up cigarette butts, polishing garbage cans and collecting rubbish. Heres how he described his experience to the local newspaper, Time went by very quickly and I enjoyed having a beer later with our crew. When people are relaxed, they tell you what they really think he told a reporter from the Edmonton Journal. Hanson modeled his approach on Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher who, at 67, traveled the US working as a baggage handler. Herb Kelleher is a larger than life leader. Renowned for his goofball antics and sense of humor, this leader insists that business must be fun. As CEO of Southwest Airlines, which he co-founded in 1967, he developed a company that has proven you cannot underestimate the little guy. Using a low cost, no frills, fun approach to air travel, Southwest has proven that excellent customer service and turned-on employees are possible, even while still emphasizing the need to operate in a streamlined fashion. Southwest are renowned for on time service, in particular their ability to turn around an aircraft within twenty minutes of landing. And they have the loyal customers to prove that it is a winning business proposition. In a testimonial to the FAA in 1997, he stated, My name is Herb Kelleher. I co-founded Southwest Airlines in 1967. Because I am unable to perform competently any meaningful function at Southwest, our 25,000 employees let me be the chief executive officer. That is one among many reasons I love the people of Southwest Airlines. Self effacing comments like this are typical of this leader, who places a heavy emphasis on giving Southwest people the freedom to be innovative, provide excellent customer service and have fun in the process. That is not to say that they do not run a disciplined airline. On the contrary, they pride themselves on taking business seriously, but taking themselves with a pinch of salt. The phrase low cost, high spirit emphasizes the Southwest Airlines dual focus on customers and employees, which has made it famous, not just within the highly regulated and extremely competitive airline industry, but everywhere else that leadership is discussed. Their People Department motto is Feel Free to Actually Enjoy What You Do

What ideas do you have to walk a while in the other persons shoes? The other person can be a customer, employee, supplier, community member, even your own boss.


Tips for active listening

Lets face it, we all struggle when it comes to listeningreally listening. Bob Rae, a Canadian lawyer, politician and former Premier of Ontario, was once told by his wife that he had two communication styles talking and waiting to talk. Many of us fall into the same trap: saying what we have to say, then as the other person is talking we are having our own internal conversation, getting ready to have our next say. If the other person does the same, then no conversing actually takes place! They go away thinking that they have been talking to the wall, and theyre both right! The answer is to develop the skill of active listening. Here are some tips for developing that skill: Be present, live in the now. Dont be thinking about the next meeting, or the conversation you had yesterday. Shut down all internal conversations you may be having with yourself. I know, easier said than done, but keep in mind that having two conversations at once will at best result in two very poor conversations. Establish rapport. Do this early on and maintain it. Dont rush in to the conversation without taking the time to break the ice. Focus on the other person. Ask them what they want to achieve from the conversation. Then tell them what you would like to achieve. keep it conversational. Clarify what the other person is saying. Sometimes people make statements that are half-thoughts, not fully formulated yet. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and use the opportunity to explore the statement further with them. Confirm whats fact and whats opinion. This really shows that you are not just an empty vessel taking in whats been said, but listening actively. Make a conscious decision to strike a balance between advocacy (making your point) and inquiry (exploring and seeking understanding). Lighten up. Use humor to smooth out rough spots, but make it appropriate humor. No jokes at someone elses expense. Its best to make jokes at your own expense than others it also portrays you as human and someone with a sense of humor. Take notes if appropriate this is another piece of evidence that you are listening actively.

Summarize the conversation and ask the other person to help you with this. Follow up. Keep the channels of communication open by arranging to follow up with the other personthen do it! This really reinforces the fact that you have not just listened actively, but have been influenced by what the other person has said. Listening actively is a skill that anyone can learn. It takes much practice to master it, and not every encounter will be perfect. Let people know that you are trying your best to be present despite all of the other distractions in your busy day. They will respond positively to this. But maintain your focus. You need to draw the line. Actively listening to someone trying to undermine you, your focus or your organizational values needs to be dealt with in a firm manner. Instead, encourage people to find creative ways to achieve the focus, and listen attentively to what they have to say.

The questions on the next two pages will assist you in building your capacity to become more aware of what an empathic approach can do for you and your team.


Summary of Key Questions

As a way to get you thinking about this on a deeper level, try answering these questions for yourself: How good am I at having conversations?

How good am I at listening? Think of a recent conversation that went well. Think of one that didnt. What were the differences between the two?

Is organizational life an adventure for me, for my followers/team members? If not, why not? How much fun do people have at work in my organization?

How much do I value diversity? How can I walk a while in their shoes?

How much open space do I give people in creating the changes that will support the focus?


A final note on EMPATHY

Being empathetic does not mean being soft. On the contrary, understanding people is perhaps the toughest part of a leaders job, because you never know what you might find. Conflict avoidance in organizations is born out of the reluctance of leaders to face some of the tough issues that plague their organizations. But in this avoidance, the opportunity to discover the good in people, their natural creativeness, their desire to belong to something that has meaning, is very often lost. Match empathy with focus, authenticity and courage and watch people grow. Focus on the specifics that will make your organization, your team a great place to work and do business with. Listen empathically to what your inner self tells you is the right thing to do. Take the higher road, as this quote aptly describes it The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work. - Agha Hasan Abedi Now thats an adventure! As you develop the skill of empathy, keep in mind that many leaders have fallen into the trap of creating dialogue within their organizations, but forgetting that change only happens through action. Inaction becomes especially evident as time passes and no one sees results, which brings us on to our next chapter.


I cant help but think how much better it would have been if I had done it faster. You know at the time everything we did was radical. Who knows? I might have gotten fired if I had worked faster Jack Welch in an interview with Robert Slater, April 1999 Focus of this chapter: The ability to read a situation carefully and decide not just whether to act or not to act, but more importantly, the right time to act. The role of speed based competition and innovation.

An idea whose time has come

Okay, were in the final straight. Youve decided on your focus. Youve started your journey towards greater self-awareness. Youve gathered your team and demonstrated the courage to challenge peoples view of reality. Youve begun the task of listening to lots of other people about how the focus can be achieved. Now comes the toughest part of all - setting deadlines. We already talked about deadlines, sunsets and sunrises, in a previous chapter. We also briefly discussed the corporate preoccupation with speed for the sake of speed and what effect it can have on quality. Now we will get down to discussing timing and how we can master our time. Getting the timing right on key decisions and actions is what will make or break any strategy. Introduce an innovation too quickly or too hastily, and the rewards can go to a competitor who learns from your mistakes and moves at the

requisite speed to introduce an alternative product or service, probably not even as good technically as what you have to offer. Proponents of time based innovation or competition, such as George Stalk, Jr. of the Boston Consulting Group, are keen to emphasize that it is the relative speed that counts. Time based leadership is all about being faster at providing valuein short, better value, faster. But many leaders and their organizations have struggled with this. Instead of creating nimble, smooth flowing organizations, they have created organizations that always seem to be on a treadmill that keeps running faster and faster, without any noticeable payoffs. I believe that part of the reason for this is the inability of organizations to learn quickly from their experiencesin short, their inability to become a true learning organization. As you engage your organization on its journeyit will become more focused, more authentic, more courageous (especially at bottom line innovation), and more willing to listen empathically, to each other, to customers, to suppliers. That last point is one that is at the core of being a learning organization. When Peter Senge published The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, he unleashed something that promised at last to be a way for organizations to achieve a level of authenticity and learning that would provide an unbeatable competitive advantage. But many organizations mistook the concept of a learning organization as meaning more consensus building, more dialogue, more debateand less closure. For many, creating a learning organization became the central focus. Conferences, workshops, seminars, consultants, executive retreats, books, etc grew out of a genuine interest in what is a sound conceptand a whole new industry emerged. Then organizations lost their focus. As mission critical decisions needed to be made and executed with relative speed, these organizations languished in a sea of dialogue, debate, introspection and at times false consensus. The learning organization movement was in trouble. The central tenet of a learning organization is that no learning can occur without action, reflection and reaction, in a repeating cycle that takes into account unanticipated outcomes. These cycles occur within predictable timeframes. Few organizations truly mastered the ability to use time as a framework to measure and manage their learning. When I ask the question

Whats the deadline on this? in organizations that are caught in this trap, the response I often get is Oh, its ongoing. I then advise the leaders that they have to rid their leadership vocabulary of the word ongoing. Understand that as a leader you need to know and appreciate the value of identifying mission critical processes and their time cycles. These processes cover product/service development, testing, prototyping, implementing, marketing, selling, producing, delivering, follow-up, evaluation and the many support processes involved in making your organization the best place to do business with and to work in. You have to know when to let a process run and when to intervene. You have to emphasize the need to engage everyone fully in process simplification in order to shorten these cycle times, which will result in lower costs and improved quality, better speed to market, more responsiveness, as well as greater satisfaction for everyone customers, suppliers, and employees. This is how to deliver better value, faster.

Its okay to be impatient

Canadian geophysicist Geoffrey Ballard was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Victoria in British Columbia in 1999 for his pioneering work on hydrogen fuel cell technology, which now promises to be one of the new fuels to replace fossil fuel as our prime source of power. In his acceptance speech, he told the engineering students assembled to be impatient. His own journey began in the seventies and would not have succeeded had he been a patient man. He makes a very valid point. Another case in point is IBM. April 1, 1993 is a date that many thought would be an April fools day for IBM. At that time, many commentators were seriously questioning the survival of Big Blue. In a new economy that rewarded speed, it certainly looked like IBMs culture had reached a point where its slow moving bureaucracy would bog it down. But newcomer Lou Gerstner, with stints at RJR Nabisco and American Express Co. to buoy him along, knew differently. Appointed as Chair and CEO on that faithful day in April, he set about literally reinventing IBM. The task before him was dauntingreinvent IBM as a service organization, and break the dependency on hardware and software. Many thought that bringing someone in from the outside signaled not only a crisis in IBM, but also desperation. Gerstner proved them wrong. Known as a somewhat impatient man, he quickly moved to keep IBM from breaking up. He established IBM Global Services as the biggest and fastest growing part of the company, representing 43% of sales, and estimated profits of $5.3 billion on service revenue of $35.7 billion, in 2001.

IBM regained its footing in markets such as servers, software and storage devices also. Regarded as a very focused leader, he gets to the point quickly and makes it clear to everyone what his expectations are. Turning around an organization as big as IBM in such a relatively short time required such focus and determination, but above all a great sense of timing. Although patience is a virtue, and leaders such as Gandhi and Mandela have used it to their advantage, other leaders have used impatience as a spur to action. For example, Steve Jobs of Apple, Lou Gerstner of IBM, Jack Welch of GE are all known for their insistence on speed coupled with quality. These leaders know that organizations have a way of ensuring that, if left alone, everyone eventually slows down to the pace of the slowest function or process. They know that it is the role of the leader to question this and to insist that the speed and timing of the whole system is not compromised by a slow performing part. They insist on better value, faster from the entire system, and they are impatient to see it happen. To emphasize the need for urgency, effective leaders benchmark against the high performers in their industry and outside their industry. Their practiced impatience extends to demanding that their managers do this on a regular basis. Hospitals benchmark their admissions processes not just with other hospitals, but other industries, such as hotels. Manufacturers study theme parks to see how they tackle total quality and maintenance. Process cycle times are ideally suited to such studies, because time is a universal concept. Such studies bring fresh thinking into an organization, and place a renewed emphasis on the value of time and timely execution. But keep in mind that effective leaders do not pursue speed or emphasize urgency just for the sake of it. On the contrary, they engage their organizations in a race against time for valid, market driven reasons. And they are explicit about those reasons...faster product/service development, on time delivery, shorter response times, etc. with a payoff in improved customer satisfaction, lower costs, improved profitability and increased market share. And they always look for these bottom line payoffs before giving the green light to something. No use being the fastest kid on the block if you are also the poorest.

The role of Project Management in a time-based strategy

Project Management has been billed as THE management system for the new millennium. Management guru Tom Peters, amongst others, has long acknowledged its importance in ensuring well planned, well timed and well executed strategy. The discussions that need to take place within a proper project management framework always emphasize the timely performance of critical tasks. Professional project managers know this only too well. Novices on the other hand like to get things done quickly and out of the way, which in a project management sense makes no sense. Your leadership role in ensuring that Project Management becomes a way of life in your organization is essential to the success of your focus. As you help others identify the many ways by which the focus can be achieved, a critical few will translate into major projects. Would you place all your bets on a horse that received only limited training? Many leaders do this with projects. In their keenness to get going, they pull project teams together quickly and assume (wrongly as it turns out) that the members, because they have worked on projects before have the skills and the discipline to make it happen this time. Do yourself a favor. Invite a project management professional in to your organization to assess your organizations capacity to execute projectsthen listen to the feedback. You may be shocked by the results. Everyone in your organization is impacted by these major projects, not just the team members. And everyone needs to understand the importance of project management as a skill that THEY need to develop in order to personally succeed. This applies to you also. But traditional project management will not be enough to make projects succeed. It hasnt in the past, mainly because it was an engineers domain, and unless you were an engineer, you simply shunned the seemingly stodgy world of Gantt Charts, PERT Charts and Critical Paths. But a lot has changed in recent yearsand for the better. Organizations have found ways to inject excitement and fun into projects, to bring them into the everyday life of ordinary folk, and to make them an adventure. The neatest thing about projects is that they have a beginning, middle and endthat is, they are not ongoing, (that word again) they are pure time and outcome based cycles. So what should you emphasize, as a leader, about projects, that will excite people about their potential?

Here are a few pointers: Developing project management skills is a prerequisite to advancement in the organization. The organization values short run (e.g. 90 days) experiments, in which small well-executed projects build on each other to produce phenomenal results. Being on a project team is not a life sentence! Being on a project team puts you in the forefront of change in the organization and allows you to contribute to its success in a unique way. Being a member of a project team helps develop community within the organization, and creates lasting friendships in a way that no other management system could. Reward and recognition for being a member of a project team is timely, relevant and measured. Project Management is a portable skill in demand in all industries today and into the future. Project teams are exciting and fun!

Tips for getting timing right

Today, time based performance, whether it is in developing and introducing new value adding products/services or reducing the time it takes to produce & deliver them represents a leading competitive edge. How you manage it will depend on how much value you place on time and timing. Here are some tips that will help you take a leadership position on this important subject: Prioritize Make time and timing a top priority. Demonstrate this by making it a performance indicator alongside such things as productivity, quality and costs. Emphasize cycles of change Rid your organization of the notion that change is continuous or ongoing. Change happens in well-managed cycles, and these cycles need to have built in mechanisms that provide the organization the opportunity to take time out to review and revise its approaches. Compress cycle times Make your change cycles occur at short time intervals, and find ways to link one cycle with the next. Whats a short cycle? Try 90 days. If something cant be tried out and proven within 90 days, break it down into smaller chunks that can. Lead by example Identify your own personal critical processes (e.g. goal setting, communication, performance appraisal etc.) and make them examples of timely performance. Apply the concepts of process simplification to make these processes a model for other larger organizational processes.

Follow-up Make timely follow-up a key ingredient of how you lead. Develop a system around this, and insist that your followers do the same. I know of no other single reason for lost time and mistimed opportunities in organizations than lack of leader follow-up and accountability. Use reasoned logic to tell you when When people want to charge ahead with a risky idea, ask why now? (as opposed to a week, month, quarter from now). Demand a reasoned, logical answeran inescapable logic. Ask what will moving on this now do for us? and what will not moving on this now do for us? Know the payoff Remember that excellence in timing, and time-based innovation, are not ends in themselves. They must clearly show bottom line results. Link timely execution to a strategic outcome. Use external cues The external environment will tell you when it is time to move on something more so than the internal environment. Use first hand information from customers, suppliers and other external stakeholders to supplement what the internal data tells you. Very often internal data a leader receives has been washed to make it more palatable, and delayed because of internal processes that aim to make the provider of such data look smart. Effective leaders gain first hand and up to date knowledge of the external environment by going directly to the source (Hanson and Kelleher, the two leaders mentioned earlier are good examples of this). The Japanese call this going to the Gemba, (the place where business gets done) and it works.

Emphasize value with speed Find ways to reward and recognize people for exemplifying better value, faster. This emphasizes the value of relative speed, i.e. being faster at providing value. Use dialogue and consensus building to move things along Encourage open dialogue, but place a special value on closure. Be ready to make solitary decisions when the consensus building mechanisms bog down. Let people know that you reserve the right to do this if consensus cannot be reached within a certain timeframebut beware of false consensus. Develop excellent decision-making skills Do this for yourself and for those around you. Decision-making is a process that can be learned. Define your decisionmaking processes, especially the ones involving groups tackling complex issues.


Summary of Key Questions

There are many questions you can ask yourself and those around you concerning timing. The following list will help get you started: How much time do I need to allow to achieve my focus?

What first-hand external cues do I need to pay attention to in order to make timely decisions?

What time-based performance indicators do I need to establish in order to ensure that we move at the appropriate speed?

How can these time-based performance indicators be linked to a strategic outcome?

What cycle times do we need to compress to be competitive?

How can we recognize and reward people for embracing the concept of better value, faster

How can I lead by example concerning better value, faster?

How can I embed within our culture the concepts of 90-day change cycles and project management?


How can I avoid the learning organization trap of all dialogue and little closure? How can I use time (and impatience) to move things along?

How can we develop our decision-making skills rapidly?

A Final Note on TIMING

You will always look back and wonder whether or not you got the timing right. Yet you will never fully know the truth. Being fully committed to your focus will always propel you forward. Sometimes you will get the timing right, sometimes it will be off. Although you need to create opportunities for dialogue and consensus building, dont allow it to be used as a crutch for inaction. On the other hand, beware of those who would entice you into taking urgent action without good reason. The reality is that there are very few truly urgent issues in our lives, just those we let become urgent. I particularly like how Mother Theresa put it when she said: Even when the urgent is good, the good can keep you from your best, keep you from your unique contribution, if you let it Rememberbetter value, faster. Make time your ally.


I started out at the beginning of this book by saying that the world needs great leaders. Nothing has changed over the period within which I have worked on this manuscript. Few potentially great new leaders have emerged. I know, President Barack Obama has many people in a hopeful frame of mind, but he still has a long way to go. Your journey towards becoming a great leader is unique to you. You do not have to succeed on a scale similar to many of the leaders quoted in this book. Your success may be within your own family, your work team, your organization or community. How much success you attract to you is largely dependent on the choices you make (remember, leadership is a decision, not a position) and of course your degree of commitment. Concerning commitment, W. H. Murray, speaking about the Scottish Himalayan Experience towards the end of the 19th century, had this to say about it: Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in ones favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethes couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it Are you ready to change the world?




Your FOCUS needs to be o A Central Theme It MUST be critical to the success of your organization An Enduring End Result Let it represent a leaders legacy A Call to Action When people hear it they immediately react by thinking of ways to achieve it A New Much Higher Standard This is certainly not business as usual it can be described as a breakaway strategy A BIG idea Not just a response to a BIG crisis

o o o o

o o

o o o o o o

Describe your focus (7+/-2) What are the towards motivators? What are the away from motivators? How clear and unambiguous is my focus? How specific and measurable is it? How much does it excite and scare me (get me up in the morning; keep me awake at night)? Is it central to our organizations success? Do I have the energy to achieve it? Am I willing to stake my career on it? Does it excite others? Do they have the energy to achieve it? Does it get a negative reaction from some people?


To be more Authentic o Spend more time with yourself. Find solitude Ask yourself searching questions

Not so much questions, as signposts to finding the questions that will work for you o As you examine your focus, think about its higher purpose Dont be explore. afraid to

o o

o o Explore all aspects of yourself o o Face the futurelet go of the past Learn how to trust yourself Seek feedback from those who know you Find a coach or mentor Avoid too much reliance on standardized tests and assessments Treat self-discovery as a lifelong journey o

Consider discovery of your weaknesses as an opportunity to strengthen your team As you reveal your strengths and weaknesses to your followers, ask them to follow you on your journey Understand that people will initially expect more of you in terms of personal change than they will of themselves Learn to talk sincerely about your feelings in given situations Keep your word

o o

Admit when you are wrong, then move on



To be more Courageous
o Believe absolutely and wholeheartedly in your focus

What will it take to achieve our focuswhat will we need to START-STOPIMPROVE? How have we handled change in the past? How should we handle change this time around? How will we handle internal competition and conflict? How will we celebrate our past successes (sunsets) and rejoice in our new directions (sunrises)? How will we handle those who no longer want to be part of our organization? What must I as a leader personally do in order to lead by example? What personal behaviors must I START-STOPIMPROVE?

o o Engage in vigorous debate on the values underpinning your focus, whenever and as often as possible Defend those who support the focus o o Take the necessary time to think things through Call on others when you feel cornered


To be more Empathic Be present, live in the now Establish rapport

Good conversations and active listening are the keys to empathic leadership o How good am I at having conversations? How good am I at listening? Think of a recent conversation that went well. Think of one that didnt. What were the differences between the two? Is organizational life an adventure for me, for my followers/team members? If not, why not? How much fun do people have at work in our organization? How much do I value diversity? How can I walk a while in their shoes? How much open space do I give people in creating the changes that will support the focus?

o o

o Focus on the other person. Clarify what the other person is saying Confirm whats fact and whats opinion Make a conscious decision to strike a balance between advocacy and inquiry Lighten up o o Take notes, if appropriate Follow up o o Summarize the conversation and ask the other person to help you with this



To master Timing Make timing a priority Emphasize cycles of change Compress cycle times Lead by example Follow-up Use reasoned logic to tell you when Know the payoff. Use external cues Emphasize value with speed Use dialogue and consensus building to move things along Develop excellent decision-making skills

How much time do I need to allow to achieve the focus? What first-hand external cues do I need to pay attention to? What time-based performance indicators do I need to establish? How can these timebased performance indicators be linked to a strategic outcome? What cycle times do we need to compress to be competitive? How can we recognize and reward people for embracing the concept of better value, faster How can I lead by example? How can I introduce the concepts of 90-day change cycles and project management? How can I avoid the learning organization trap of all dialogue and little closure?

o o o

o o o



References on Chapter 1: Focus
Jack Welch, see The GE Way Fieldbook by Robert Slater, McGraw Hill Publishing Rosa Parks, see Sam Walton, see Made in America My Story by Sam Walton with John Huey; Doubleday Fred Smith, see and Crisis management, see Masters of Disaster... 8 Turnaround experts discuss how to deal with a crisis Difference between leading and managing, see Pathways to Performance by Jim Clemmer, Chapter 3 The High Performance Balance: Managing Things and Leading People, Macmillan Canada Publishers The web is changing constantly. By the time you read this, some of these links may be redundant. FOR AN UPDATED LIST OF LINKS VISIT:

References on Chapter 2: Authenticity

Joseph Jaworski, see Synchronicity The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jawaorski; Berrett-Koehler Publishers Shambala Institute for Authentic Leadership Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership American Leadership Forum see... A leader's journey Authenticity & Leadership...What is the connection? Ivy Sea Online!authenticity.html Lessons in Authentic Leadership by Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D. and James R. Long, Ph.D.!authenticleadership.html Moral Leadership: A Pipedream? by Lawrence E. Wharton!moralleadership.html Collins and Porras, see Built to Last Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras; Harper Business


Bolman and Deal, see Leading with Soul An Uncommon Journey of Spirit by Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal; Jossey-Bass Publishers Carlos Ghosn, see and ml The web is changing constantly. By the time you read this, some of these links may be redundant. FOR AN UPDATED LIST OF LINKS VISIT:

References on Chapter 3: Courage

Peter Senge, see The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by Peter Senge et al; Doubleday Currency Geoffrey Ballard, see General Hydrogen Cutting Emissions: New Fuel for Cars Powering the Future (Book about Ballard Systems) Interview with the author Tom Koppel - Parts 1 and 2 Brave Hearts, Courage and Integrity are at the core of leadership Find - Interview with Carlos Ghosn: Ghosn to the rescue' ml What Is Courage? William Ian Miller wrote the book on courage (The Mystery of Courage) -literally -- and even he calls it a mystery. by Harriet Rubin The web is changing constantly. By the time you read this, some of these links may be redundant. FOR AN UPDATED LIST OF LINKS VISIT:

References on Chapter 4: Empathy

Robert Greenleaf, see Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and Insights on Leadership, Larry C. Spears (Ed.); John Wiley & Sons Bill Pollard, see The Soul of the Firm by C. William Pollard; Harper Business/Zondervan Herb Kelleher, see A Culture of Commitment by Herb Kelleher Drucker Foundation for Non-Profits, Leader to Leader, No. 4 Spring 1997 Southwest Airlines: Business Week Top 25 Managers of the Year 2001 Harrison Owen and Open Space: Open Space Technology A Users Guide and Expanding Our Now The Story of Open Space Technology both by Harrison Owen; Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc. Women's Ways of Mentoring by Cheryl Dahle The web is changing constantly. By the time you read this, some of these links may be redundant. FOR AN UPDATED LIST OF LINKS VISIT:

References on Chapter 5: Timing It's About Time by Jill Rosenfeld 17 people talk about the use of time...some contrarian views. Business Today interview with George Stalk 'It is the relative speed that counts' Article 'The dark side of speed' Lou Gerstner, see Tom Peters, see The web is changing constantly. By the time you read this, some of these links may be redundant. FOR AN UPDATED LIST OF LINKS VISIT:



Available from Authenticity: DiSC Management Profile and Leadership 363 Profile Courage: Coping and Stress Profile Empathy: Personal Listening Profile, Team Dimensions Profile Timing: Time Mastery Profile


Brian Ward is co-founder and President of Affinity Consulting and Training Inc., a Canadian HR coaching, consulting and training organization based in Edmonton, Alberta. His FOCUS is Making People Stronger. He has over 30 years experience in the areas of human resources and total quality management. He has consulted to various sectors including banking, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, education, retail, government, oil & gas, and non-profit. He assists leaders and their teams build stronger high performance organizations, through a combination of leadership coaching, consulting, and workshops. A downloadable catalogue of workshops is available at If you would like to discuss setting up a workshop or leadership development program based on The FACET Leadership Model contact Brian at or toll free by phone at 1-877-432-8182, or visit his website at