Saturday, March 31, 2007

ED Leader Newsletter #5

Dear Reader:

Welcome to the fifth issue of the ED Leader Newsletter. Scroll down and you will find articles on:
Enjoy and let me know what you think. Don's email.

Your feedback so far has been terrific. So far, ED Leader is seen as a valuable new resource helping economic developers and their leaders to deal with their important leadership challenges. I am glad to hear you say the content from the larger leadership field is relevant and useful to you. Watch for some interesting future articles on specific leadership issues and trends.

Please drop by the ED Leader Blog: http://econdevleader.blogspot.com (You can now leave comments without registering. It's simple.)

Best wishes,

Don Iannone
Publisher, ED Leader Journal

Leaders Must Create Accountability

Accountability is a growing concern for economic development organizations. How can ED leaders create greater accountability for their plans and actions?
A simple, but effective, approach was defined by Bob Prosen. the author of Kiss Theory Good Bye: Five Proven Ways to Get Extraordinary Results in Any Company. Here is his 7-step process in a nutshell:
Step 1: Establish the organization's top three objectives. This means the significant few, not the important many. Once identified, objectives must be clear, concise, measurable and obtainable. Notice he didn't say easy!
Step 2: Assign each team member his or her respective objectives. Remember, when combined they must allow the organization to achieve its top objectives. In other words, the sum of the parts must be equal to or greater than the whole.
Step 3: Ask each team member what he or she needs to win. To help people win, leaders must remove the roadblocks that stand in the way. Do this by having each team member identify a maximum of three things they need to accomplish each objective. Have them put it in writing.
Step 4: Agree on what the leader will do to help. Meet individually with each team member to clarify the roadblocks and agree on what's needed to win and who will be responsible for making it happen. In all likelihood, the leader will assume some responsibility. Why? Because you're responsible to people, not for them. Being responsible to people means helping them get what they need to win.
Step 5: Follow up. Each direct report should schedule a 30-minute monthly update using a standard color-coded results report. Results at or above the plan are in green and any area behind plan is in red. Focus the conversation on what was done to achieve green and if the results will remain green for the remainder of the year. When discussing red results focus on what will be done to achieve green status, when it will be achieved and any help that's needed.
Step 6: Share lessons learned. Hold quarterly meetings with all direct reports present to discuss lessons learned, identify critical roadblocks and make specific offers to help any team member behind plan. Remember, the leader wins when everyone on the team wins.
Step 7: Reward results. When objectives are achieved, ensure that rewards are disproportionate and highly visible. Those who achieve the most get rewarded the most-and everyone should know that. It's just that simple. Ensure that people at the bottom are either improving their performance or being moved out. No one with poor performance gets to remain on the bottom for more than a year without action being taken.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wisdom for Economic Development Leaders

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it. --Thucydides

The point of wisdom is not simply to do well ... it is to do good. --Patricia Monaghan

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do. --Benjamin Franklin

The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes. --Sir Winston Churchill

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. --Theodore Roosevelt

You can only lead others where you yourself are prepared to go. --Lachlan McLean

To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside where it functions best. --Margaret Thatcher

To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable. To be certain is to be ridiculous. --Chinese proverb

Thursday, March 29, 2007

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership (By Bill George)

Authentic leadership is possible, but NOT easy by a long stretch. For some insights into authentic leadership in the corporate world, we turn to well-known CEO Bill George.
Bill George, probably best known in the business community for his former position as chairman and CEO of Medtronic, is also an author. In 2003 he published a book called, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. This month he published his second book titled, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, described by George and his co-author Peter Sims as a way to "locate the internal compass that guides you successfully through life."
George is also a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School. He has been recognized as Executive-of-the-Year by the Academy of Management, Director-of-the-Year by the National Association of Corporate Directors.
Here is a part of an interview with Bill George conducted by Michael Useem, director of Wharton's Center for Leadership and Change Management.


George: This is a book on leadership development that results from the largest study ever done on how leaders develop. We had about 3,000 pages of transcripts that came out of 125 interviews with people who we deemed to be successful and authentic leaders. We were very surprised by what they were telling us, because we thought that going in they were going to tell us the traits, characteristics and leadership styles that made them successful.
And, instead what they told us was that their passions came from their life stories. It took a little while for this to sink in. At first it seemed like mush. But the more we got into it, it was so consistent that people wanted to talk about how they captured their passions from a crucible life experience, a transforming experience or just a "growing up" experience.
An example of that is Dick Kovacevich, the chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo and arguably the most successful commercial banker in the last 20 years, in terms of his record. He didn't want to talk about that. He wanted to talk about what it was like growing up in a saw mill town, where people are losing their jobs and no one had ever gone to college. He played sports three hours a day and he said that he learned a lot more about leadership on the athletic field and working in a corner grocery store where he also worked three hours a day, than he ever did at Stanford Business School.
He has tried to take that model and translate it into Wells Fargo. In other words, he saw the idea of trying to make Wells Fargo the most consumer friendly bank in every small town; not just to "be big at global banking" but to be very friendly and to also create an executive team with people much stronger than he was. He has said, "If you had 11 quarterbacks on your football team, you would lose every game." And so he has tried to create a team of people who are really good in every other position, and I think he has been quite successful.
Useem: Bill, I like the phrase that you just used which is that leadership does emerge out of a life story. You referenced moments that are like crucibles of experience. As you listened to the 125 people tell their story and talk about those formative moments, is there a common pattern to what really seemed to stand out? Or are there a couple of themes that stand out when people begin to talk about those moments, when they really made in a sense that self-discovery and came to appreciate where they were heading in life?
George: I can't help but think it's a situation that causes you to go deep inside yourself and say, "Who am I? Who am I in this world? Where do I fit? Do I matter?" And then from that, you can find your passions to lead and that's where the passions to lead come from. At least that's what we learned.
Andrea Jung had this incredible passion for empowering women in her life, because of coming out of this very strict Chinese family. And, you know one time she was destined to be CEO of Neiman Marcus. At 31 she got the Executive V.P. job; she quit cold turkey, four years later, and went off without having another job. A year later she joined Avon because she said she didn't want to just provide luxury goods to the upper 1/10th of 1% of American women.

As soon as she went to Avon and made it to the top, she changed the mission from cosmetics to empowering women. This was her passion. So now, you listen to her talk [she came to my classroom] about having a million people who work for her in Brazil and how exciting it is to go down the Amazon and everyone waits for the retail store to come to them. You see her passion. She said, "If I don't have the passion for this business, I can't be an authentic leader."

Question for Economic Developers: As the steward of your area's economic assets, what are your prospects for authentic leadership, and what is your life story underlying your style of leadership?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Where Does Talent Come From?

Where does talent come from? This is a question demanding the attention of all concerned about leadership.

According to
Kenny Moore, the co-author of "The CEO and the Monk: One Company's Journey to Profit and Purpose" (John Wiley and Sons, 2004), there is a best practice business model for growing leadership, but it's not from the management gurus like Tom Peters or Jim Collins.

According to Moore:

"It's from another astute business luminary: Plato. Granted, as a 4th century B.C. practitioner, he was in a different kind of business than today's experts, but over the years his books have outsold anyone who's ever been on Ophrah.

Plato's view of Leadership derives from his "Acorn Theory." In a nutshell, here's how it works.

All of us are born into this world with an "acorn" that is destined to grow into a mighty oak. This acorn is often referred to as our calling, vocation or destiny. Before arriving here, we were perfectly clear on what our calling was - but in the process of being born all remembrances were lost. Plato believed that the gods send us here with a precise destiny; we just can't remember what it is. To help manage this dilemma, we are accompanied by our own "daimon," loosely translated as a Guardian Angel. It's our angel who remembers our vocation and is individually assigned to make sure it gets lived out.

Peril and misfortune may assail us. Enemies and miscreants may assault us. Parents and educators may even abuse us. No need to worry; the acorn will prevail. The daimon is ever near to insure a safe passage. For some, says Plato, the dangers and difficulties have elements of divine necessity: all required to mature the acorn, crush it underfoot … so that it may blossom into a mighty oak. Gods don't waste time on fruitless endeavors. The Divine has a pre-ordained master plan in place.

Similar to Churchill's description of Russia, the acorn is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But lack of clarity doesn't let us off the hook. Living out our acorn and cooperating with the daimon is of critical importance because our happiness is intimately connected to it. Money, fame and success will not insure our personal fulfillment. Cooperating with our calling, will. And we are all invited to do so, and do it well. With our own flair; in our own inimitable style. We're not here to live out our parent's wishes or our company's Vision. We've got more compelling goals to achieve. "
Question for Economic Developers: How will be ensure that we attract the best and brightest to work in the economic development field in the future? How do we compete for that talent?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What is Situational Leadership?

Situational leadership theories in organizational studies are a type of leadership theory, leadership style, and leadership model that presumes that different leadership styles are better in different situations, and that leaders must be flexible enough to adapt their style to the situation they are in.

A good situational leader is one who can quickly change leadership styles as the situation changes. Most of us attempt to do this in our dealings with people: we try not to get angry with a new employee, and we remind forgetful people.

As a leadership model, the best known example was developed by Ken Blanchard, the management guru who later became famous for his "One Minute Manager" series, and Paul Hersey. They created a model of situational leadership in the late 1960s that allows one to analyse the needs of the situation, then adopt the most appropriate leadership style. It has proved popular with managers over the years because it is simple to understand, and it works in most environments for most people.

The model rests on two fundamental concepts; leadership style, and development level.

Leadership Styles

Blanchard and Hersey characterized leadership style in terms of the amount of direction and support that the leader provides to their followers. They categorized all leadership styles into four behavior types, which they named S1 to S4:

S1: Directing Leaders define the roles and tasks of the 'follower', and supervise them closely. Decisions are made by the leader and announced, so communication is largely one-way.

S2: Coaching Leaders still define roles and tasks, but seeks ideas and suggestions from the follower. Decisions remain the leader's prerogative, but communication is much more two-way.

S3: Supporting Leaders pass day-to-day decisions, such as task allocation and processes, to the follower. The leader facilitates and takes part in decisions, but control is with the follower.

S4: Delegating Leaders are still involved in decisions and problem-solving, but control is with the follower. The follower decides when and how the leader will be involved.

Of these, no one style is considered optimal or desired for all leaders to possess. Effective leaders need to be flexible, and must adapt themselves according to the situation. However, each leader tends to have a natural style, and in applying Situational Leadership he must know his intrinsic style.

Development Levels

The right leadership style will depend on the person being led - the follower. Blanchard and Hersey extended their model to include the Development Level of the follower. They stated that the leader's chosen style should be based on the competence and commitment of her followers. They categorized the possible development of followers into four levels, which they named D1 to D4:

D1: Low Competence, High Commitment - They generally lack the specific skills required for the job in hand. However, they are eager to learn and willing to take direction.

D2: Some Competence, Low Commitment - They may have some relevant skills, but won't be able to do the job without help. The task or the situation may be new to them.

D3: High Competence, Variable Commitment - They are experienced and capable, but may lack the confidence to go it alone, or the motivation to do it well or quickly.

D4: High Competence, High Commitment - They are experienced at the job, and comfortable with their own ability to do it well. They may even be more skilled than the leader.

Development Levels are also situational. I might be generally skilled, confident and motivated in my job, but would still drop into Level D1 when faced, say, with a task requiring skills I don't possess. For example, many managers are D4 when dealing with the day-to-day running of their department, but move to D1 or D2 when dealing with a sensitive employee "issue"

Monday, March 26, 2007

Kevin Cashman on Leadership

"If leadership is so important, why are effective business leaders so rare? Kevin Cashman, a Minneapolis-based leadership coach, thinks that he has the answer: "Too many people separate the act of leadership from the leader. They see leadership as something that they do--rather than as an expression of who they are."

"There are three core qualities to leadership: authenticity, self-expression, value creation. "Authenticity" refers to a link between the inner and the outer person. Truly authentic leaders are open both to their gifts and to their underdeveloped qualities. People who understand who they are tend to have a more powerful voice-- and to make a more profound contribution to an enterprise."

"Does that mean "straight talk"? It means something more than straight talk. How often have you held back from saying something that you felt was important -- just because you were worried about how you would express yourself? How often have you feigned modesty about something that you were really proud of? Authentic expression goes beyond telling the truth: It demonstrates a total congruence between who you are and what you do and say."

"Leaders create value through relationships. But many leaders still have the illusion that they are the ones who really "make things happen." Admitting that you don't have all the answers is a big part of building good relationships -- and a big part of getting good results."

Interview with Kevin Cashman, Leadership Coach, Minneapolis
Source: Fast Company Magazine

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Being a Good Parent Can Enhance Your Leadership Abilities

Being a committed parent can enhance managerial ability because child-rearing develops skills that are useful at work, according to a new study by the Center for Creative Leadership and Clark University.

The study, published this month in the Journal of Applied Psychology, contradicts conventional wisdom that parents are easily distracted by their responsibilities at home - in particular their children - and therefore are more likely to be ineffective at work. The article was co-authored by Dr. Laura Graves of Clark University (Photo at left); Dr. Marian Ruderman of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®); and Patricia Ohlott, formerly of CCL and now at the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning.

"Based on previous research, we were fairly confident that our study would confirm that being committed to family increases a person's overall well-being. But our study shows for the first time that being a committed parent can improve a manager's work performance," said Ruderman, a research director at CCL. "Raising a family helps develop skills such as negotiating, compromising, conflict resolution and multitasking, which are important traits of successful managers."

The study's objectives were to determine how managers' commitments to marriage, children or both affected their life satisfaction, career satisfaction and work performance. In addition, the study looked at whether commitment to marriage and children reduced the physical and emotional resources managers could devote to work or actually expanded managers' abilities to meet the demands of their jobs. Among the 347 respondents, 221 were parents. Almost all of the respondents (91%) were married.

Being able to manage the demands of children and running a household helps respondents better manage the stress of work instead of adding to it, said Graves, an Associate Professor of Management at Clark University. "Family experiences provide managers with positive feelings that carry over to the workplace and facilitate performance. They also help managers develop the ability to see others' views — a capacity which is critical to supervising others, working in teams or relating to superiors," she said.

"Our study has important implications for employees and organizations alike," Graves added. "While many organizations have adopted family-friendly policies, most still operate under the assumption that a family focus will detract from performance. Our research suggests that this assumption is wrong. In fact, a family-focused manager may be, in fact, the leader your company should have."

The study's findings were based on respondents' personal evaluations of their life and career satisfaction. Work performance was determined by feedback from the respondents' bosses, superiors, peers, direct reports and other colleagues.

Source: Center for Creative Leadership