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WoT's Hot and WoT's Not: Leadership in the next millennium

By Richard Aldersea

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Synopsis

  • What are the unique qualities required to lead the organization of tomorrow?

  • What are the actions, skills and strategies that leaders will need to sustain a competitive advantage in tomorrow's fast-paced world?

  • How do you develop leaders from where they are to where they will need to be?

Focusing on these and other deep dilemmas facing organizations and the human resource professional throughout the world, Wots Hot and Wots Not: Leadership in the next millennium offers an opportunity to explore some of the work emerging in North American organizations around leadership development.

Paper/Conference Notes

The agenda for leadership development has shifted drastically during the past several years. The 1980s was an era of radical restructuring, spurred by many mergers and acquisitions, and the decline of many leading companies. The idea of developing leaders seemed to fade in face of fear of the future and pursuit of quick fixes.

The early 1990s will probably be remembered for management fads that emphasized processes and culture over leadership.

Now, the central challenge for senior executives is to create a company that wins continuously.

The following pages capture some of the thoughts from "What's Hot and What's Not: Leadership in the next millennium" presented at the Team Management Systems World of Teams Conferences (WotCon) in Sydney and Melbourne.

Key references include:

  • The Leadership Engine - How Winning Companies Build Leaders at Every Level, Noel M. Tichy
  • The Nine Dilemmas Leaders Face, Fortune, March 1996
  • How Leaders Develop Leaders, Training & Development, May 1997


"A business short on capital can borrow money and one with poor location can move. But a business short on leadership has little chance of survival."

Warren Bennis
Leaders: The strategies for taking charge




The Leader-Driven Organization


"In the future the real core competence of companies will be the ability to continuously and creatively destroy and remake themselves to meet customer demands. Everyone in the organization must take responsibility for taking responsive actions. This means that a company needs leadership everywhere in the organization. From the corner office, in the customer rep's cubicle, and on the shop floor. Leadership is the ability to see reality as it really is and to mobilize the appropriate response."

Noel M. Tichy
The Leadership Engine




"Why are leaders important?

Leaders Manage Through Times of Change
They determine direction.
They move organizations from where they are to where they need to be.

Leaders Make Things Happen
They shape the culture.
They use the management tools.

Leaders are Revolutionaries
They face reality and mobilize appropriate resources.
They encourage others to do the same"

Noel M. Tichy
The Leadership Engine




What are the Organizational Issues that will Challenge Tomorrow's Leaders?


"What worries CEOS

  • Competitors' Strategies (18%)
  • Managing People (17.2%)
  • Keeping Up With Technology (13%)
  • Managing Growth (12.5%)
  • Managing Money (12.3%)
  • Raising Enough Money (9.0 %)
  • Government Legislation (7.0%)
  • Meeting Orders (3.3%)
  • Lawsuits (2.0%)
  • Other (5.7%)

Inc. 500
CEO's Biggest Worries




The Nine Dilemmas Leaders Face
(Fortune March 18, 1996)

"A couple of years ago, an opportunity to define the dilemmas of (leadership) presented itself when the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce decided to build a leadership center for its' managers and employees on a rolling 100-acre site 45 minutes north of its Toronto headquarters. When Al Flood, the CEO of the bank (North America's eighth largest, with 1995 assets of $132 billion), okayed the plans, he did what any good banker would: He told Michele Darling, head of Human Resources, and Hubert Saint-Onge, who was to run the center, to make sure that this asset performed."

"Thus challenged, Darling and Saint-Onge responded with an extraordinary act of in-house journalism. To create a mission and a curriculum for the center, Saint-Onge interviewed CIBC's 27 most senior executives, one on one."

"... when done, he found nine "core leadership dilemmas."

The Nine Dilemmas Leaders Face

  • Broad-based Leadership vs. High-visibility Leaders
  • Independence vs. Interdependence
  • Long-term vs. Short-term
  • Creativity vs. Discipline
  • Trust vs. Change
  • Bureaucracy Busting vs. Economies of Scale
  • People vs. Productivity
  • Leadership vs. Capability
  • Revenue Growth vs. Cost Containment

The Nine Dilemmas Leaders Face is based on The Nine Dilemmas Leaders Face, Fortune Magazine March 1996.




The Hardest Job a Leader has is to Navigate Among Often Conflicting Goals


"The defining role of a leader is to sort out a message

FORTUNE




On Future Leaders

"Truly effective leaders in the years ahead will have personas determined by strong values and belief in the capacity of individuals to grow. They will have an image of the society in which they would like their organizations and themselves to live. They will be visionary, they will believe strongly that they can and should be shaping the future, and they will act on those beliefs through their personal behavior."

Richard Beckhard




What are the Actions, Skills, and Strategies that Leaders will need to Sustain a Competitive Advantage in Tomorrow's Fast-Paced World?


Review your life and think about a leadership success you have enjoyed.

Once you have a clear picture in your mind of the time in your lie that you were most proud of yourself as a leader, tell the story to someone else.

Now stand back from the stories and reflect on what made the leadership successful.

As a group generate a list of the characteristics of effective leadership.



The New Language of Organizing and it's Implications for Leaders

"It is a tough task to run a community of individuals where authority has to be earned. Few people do it successfully, because it demands an unusual combination of attributes:

  • A belief in oneself is the only thing that gives an individual the self-confidence to step into the unknown and to persuade others to go where no one has gone before, but this has to be combined with a decent doubt, the humility to accept that one can be wrong on occasion, that others also have ideas, that listening is as important as talking.

  • A passion for the job provides the energy and focus that drive the organization and that act as an example to others, but this also has to be combined with its opposite, an awareness of other worlds, because focus can turn to blinkers, an inability to think beyond one's own box. Great leaders find time to read, to meet people beyond their own circle, to go to the theater or see films, to walk in other worlds.

  • The leader must have a love of people, because in a community of individuals, those who find individuals a pain and a nuisance may be respected or feared, but they will not be willingly followed.

  • Yet this attribute, too, requires its opposite, a capacity for aloneness, because leaders have to be out front. It is not always possible to share one's worries with anyone else. Few will thank the leader when things go right, but many will blame the leader if things go wrong. Great leaders have to walk alone from time to time. They also have to live vicariously, deriving their satisfaction from the successes of others and giving those others the recognition that they themselves are often denied.

Living with these paradoxes requires great strength of character. It also requires a belief in what one is doing. Money alone will not be enough to provide the motive to live with these contradictions. Even a love of power is insufficient, because power irons out the contradictions rather than holding them in balance. Great leaders are bred from great causes, but leaders at their best, also breed great causes. Sadly, for want of a cause, we too often create a crisis, which is not the same thing at all. Until and unless business creates a cause bigger and more embracing than enrichment of the shareholders, it will have few great leaders. We are more likely to find them in the nonprofit arena. If that is so, then that sector may yet become the training ground for business and perhaps even for politics."

Charles Handy




Leadership's Core Qualities
Character, Vision, Behavior, and Confidence

"Throughout the years, I have tried to define and record the core leadership competencies of those I've admired and have sought to identify individuals with these core competencies ... I've noted numerous variations in leadership styles and modifications in approaches, but the fundamental qualities have largely remained constant. I've placed these core qualities into four basic areas: character, vision, behavior, and confidence.

Character

  • Infused with humor and humility, and by nature inclined to treat individuals in their organizations equally, without 'smiling up and kicking down'.
  • Self-aware, and honest with themselves as to their own strengths, weaknesses, and sincere efforts to improve.
  • Inquisitive and approachable enough so that others feel safe offering honest feedback and new ideas.
  • Open-minded and capable of respecting their competitors or adversaries and learning from them, in both leadership situations and general business conditions.
  • Action-oriented, which surfaces not as a desire to move for movement's sake but to move directly toward a clear goal with a relentless follow-through.

Vision

Leaders who can spark the imagination with a compelling vision of a worthwhile end that stretches us beyond what is known today, and who can translate that to clear objectives, are the ones we follow. The Federalist Papers confirm that Madison and his colleagues understood that the most elegant documents and structures were irrelevant if they did not help the readers form a vision, an outcome, through clearly-stated, overarching objectives.

Successful business leaders develop goals to achieve their vision. Their commitment to the goals, and thus to the vision, is made obvious by both their actions and their repeated communication of what must be done, and why.

Behaviors

With clear objectives in mind, the issue then becomes what a leader will do, how he or she will behave while working with and through people in pursuit of the end goal. Although leaders must adapt to a specific and ever-changing set of circumstances, the most successful leaders exhibit a common set of behaviors. Those leaders will:

  • Act and be unwilling to rationalize inaction, with relentless follow-through to ensure that the action is implemented.
  • Create and shape change, rather than passively accepting it, and challenge the status quo, refusing to accept the response, 'We've never done that before'.
  • Seize the opportunities of the present without compromising the need to invest and build for the future.
  • Flourish in a boundary-less work environment by focusing on results, knowing that much can be done if it doesn't matter who gets the credit.
  • Evaluate and deploy people based solely on strength, performance, and potential.
  • Think positively, never give up, seek out the opportunities that lurks in every challenge, and realize that things are never as bad as they seem.
  • Be detailed-oriented enough to know whether the objectives are being met or the course is correct, but not so detail-oriented that they 'miss the forest for the trees'.
  • Seek consensus without being paralyzed by the thought of making a mistake or intolerant of those who make them.
  • Communicate constantly - influencing, encouraging, critiquing, and listening.

Strength of character and foresight matter not a whit if people are not willing or able to follow someone. A title alone cannot inspire others to work toward a common end, lending all their energy, ideas, and commitment to the endeavor. But frequent, open, and honest communication does inspire others to follow, including those without the benefit of a title.

With the utmost clarity, leaders convey:

  • Well-articulated expectations of high-performance for each and every member of the organization and the belief that everyone, including the leader, will be evaluated against those expectations on the basis of performance.
  • An understanding that communication is a two-way process in which leaders listen, hunger for feedback and new ideas, and are driven by a need to compel and to influence, not to command and control.
  • An appreciation of the principle that well-informed team members are the most motivated and strongest achievers, and a willingness to communicate with teams and to follow-through.
  • Confidence and trust in employees, and a desire to give opportunities to any individuals who are eager to accept the accountability that necessarily goes with responsibility.

Confidence

Leaders share another attribute that is critical for success: self-confidence. Sharply distinguished from arrogance or egotism, a healthy level of self-confidence enables the leader to undertake the difficult ventures necessary to meet his or her goals."

Alfred C. Decrane Jr.
The Leader of the Future




The 9 Faces of Leadership

According to FedEx, its best leaders share nine personal attributes - which the company defines with remarkable specificity. FedEx also has a system for rating aspiring leaders on whether they possess these attributes. How do you rate? Judge yourself against these edited descriptions of the nine faces of leadership at FedEx.

Charisma

Instills faith, respect, and trust. Has a special gift of seeing what others need to consider. Conveys a strong sense of mission.

Individual consideration

Coaches, advises, and teaches people who need it. Actively listens and gives indications of listening. Gives newcomers a lot of help.

Intellectual stimulation

Gets others to use reasoning and evidence, rather than unsupported opinion. Enables others to think about old problems in new ways. Communicates in a way that forces others to rethink ideas that they had never questioned before.

Courage

Willing to stand up for ideas even if they are unpopular. Does not give in to pressure or to others' opinions in order to avoid confrontation. Will do what's right for the company and for employees even if it causes personal hardship.

Dependability

Follows through and keeps commitments. Takes responsibility for actions and accepts responsibility for mistakes. Works well independently of the boss.

Flexibility

Functions effectively in changing environments. When a lot of issues hit at once, handles more than one problem at a time. Changes course when the situation warrants it.

Integrity

Does what is morally and ethically right. Does not abuse management privileges. Is a consistent role model.

Judgement

Reaches sound and objective evaluations of alternative courses of action through logic, analysis, and comparison. Puts facts together rationally and realistically. Uses past experience and information to bring perspective to present decisions.

Respect for others

Honors and does not belittle the opinions or work of other people, regardless of their status or position.



How do you Develop Leaders from Where They Are To Where They Will Need To Be?


"At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies."

Larry Bossidy
CEO, AlliedSignal




INTEL

In Santa Clara California, Andy Grove is teaching Intel managers how to lead in an industry in which the product (semiconductors) doubles in capacity every 18 months. In Grove's teaching sessions, he discusses the role of leaders in detecting and navigating turbulent industry shifts - shifts that many companies fail to survive.

Why does Andy Grove do this?

Because he believes that having leaders at all levels of Intel who can spot trends and who have the courage to act will enable Intel to prosper while other companies falter. So, Grove is dedicated to imploring and encouraging people across Intel - middle managers, salespeople, engineers and others - to lead in their individual businesses.

PepsiCo

A few years ago in the Grand Cayman Islands, Roger Enrico, then vice chairman of PepsiCo, woke at dawn to gather his thoughts. At 8 a.m., he began a five-day leadership program for nine of PepsiCo's highest-potential executives. The sessions went until evening, as Enrico taught his point of view on how to grow a business. Then, he asked participants to come up with ideas for their businesses, facilitating their discussions to help shape their ideas. The results of those and other sessions have been 100 better-prepared leaders, and according to one observer, "some of the biggest business ideas that PepsiCo has had in the past several years."

General Electric

In Crotonville, New York, Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric, is teaching a development program for some of GE's senior leaders.

He asks them 'If you were named CEO of GE tomorrow, what would you do?'

In such a program, Welch uses that question to orchestrate a no-holds-barred discussion. He jousts with participants, and hones their analytic abilities and leadership instincts by having them joust with each other. He also offers his own views and experience. Says Welch, "I've gone to Crotonville every two weeks for 15 years to interact with new employees, middle managers, and senior managers. Haven't missed a session."

How Leaders Develop Leaders in Training &Development, May 1997




A Recipe for Glue

"As the traditional implicit employment contract between the individual and the organization continues to unravel, many of us are struggling with basic questions such as how to lead, motivate, and plan in this unchartered new environment.

The increasingly voiced question 'What is the glue that hold this organization together?'

I close my eyes and envision a large glue pot in the middle of the conference room floor. And I imagine what a recipe might look like:

  • Fill the glue pot with the fresh, pure, clear water of undiluted human spirit.
  • Take special care not to contaminate with preconceived ideas, or to pollute with excess control.
  • Fill slowly; notice that the pot only fills from the bottom up. It's impossible to fill it from the top down!
  • Stir in equal parts of customer focus and pride in good work.
  • Bring to boil and blend in a liberal portion of diversity, one part self esteem, and one part tolerance.
  • Fold in accountability.
  • Simmer until smooth and thick, stirring with shared leadership and clear goals.
  • Season with a dash of humor and a pinch of adventure.
  • Let cool, then garnish with a topping of core values.
  • Serve by coating all boxes in the organizational chart, paying particular attention to the white spaces. With proper application, the boxes disappear and all that can be seen is productivity, creativity, and customer service."

David M. Noer




"If you are planning for one year, grow rice. If you are planning for 20 years, grow trees. If you are planning for centuries, grow people."

A Chinese proverb




Richard Aldersea was Chief Executive Officer of Team Management Systems (USA), Inc., with overall responsibilities for the development of Team Management Systems in North and South America.

Combining this role with his passion for and expertise in learning design led Richard to work with many leading organizations in diverse environments throughout the world, including: Arthur Andersen & Co., BP Exploration, General Electric, Glaxo Wellcome, Hewlett-Packard, KPMG, ITT and Sony.

Richard's background covers four continents, with diverse experiences in the fields of business development and professional training, including directing managing Training & Corporate Development Programs for Outward Bound, a not-for-profit educational organization, in Australia, and more recently playing a key role in the development of Outward Bound Centre for Change in Canada, a multi-faceted consultancy integrating action learning in creating positive and sustainable change for individuals, teams, and divisions within the workplace.
 

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