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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ten Commitments of Leadership--Kouzes & Posner

Kouzes and Posner write in their classic leadership book, The Challenge of Leadership, Jossey Bass (copyrights 1995), that through their research of over 60,000 leaders across continents, they've uncovered 5 practices and 10 commitments of excellent leaders:

Practice Number One: Leaders Challenge the Process
  • Commitment #1: Leaders search out challenging opportunities to change, grow, and improve.
  • Commitment #2: Leaders experiment, take risks, and learn from the accompanying mistakes.
Practice Number Two: Leaders Inspire a Shared Vision
  • Commitment #3: Leaders envision an uplifting and ennobling future.
  • Commitment #4: Leaders enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes, and dreams.
Practice Number Three: Leaders Enable Others to Act.
  • Commitment #5: Leaders foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
  • Commitment #6: Leaders strengthen people by giving power away, providing choice, developing competence, assigning critical tasks, and offering visible support.
Practice Number Four: Leaders Model the Way.
  • Commitment #7: Leaders set the example by behaving in ways that are consistent with shared values.
  • Commitment #8: Leaders achieve small wins that promote consistent progress and build commitment.
Practice Number Five: Leaders Encourage the Heart.
  • Commitment #9: Leaders recognize individual contributions to the success of every project.
  • Commitment #10: Leaders celebrate team accomplishments regularly.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fortune: Top Companies for Leadership and Why.

After an study of over 550 companies around the world, Fortune, in collaboration with Hewitt Associates and RBL Group ranked the best companies in the world and why they were so good for leaders. Here’s the list of the top ten and reasons why:

  1. General Electric: Take leadership on the road. Training takes place not only at their famous Crotonville training facility but also online around the world.
  2. Proctor and Gamble: Hire for emotional intelligence: P&G looks for people with the social skills to understand customer needs.
  3. Nokia: Create a mentoring mentality: Top execs at Nokia are evaluated on how their subordinates rate the ability to lead, teach and inspire.
  4. Hindustan Unelever: Place the right leaders in the right jobs. They rank leaders by color (green-highest, amber, and red) and provide leadership development based on rankings.
  5. Capital One Financial: Coach your managers: More than half their managers get a coach for a year to help hone their leadership skills.
  6. General Mills: Prepare to solve problems. They assemble diverse teams to compete on solving real world simulations.
  7. McKinsey: Groom global talent. With business in 45 countries, McKinsey insists on global cross pollination through assignments in different countries. PS…they have no “headquarters.”
  8. IBM: Learn through integration. IBM has acquired 69 companies in the last 7 years and has a massive corporate integration initiative underway to make it more effective and efficient.
  9. BBVA: Apply peer pressure. Spain’s second-largest bank, uses peer reviews as a way to ensure they promote leaders who are participatory and not coercive.
  10. Infosys Technologies: Empower your employees. This Indian IT corporate leader actively solicits the ideas from their 20-somethings by creating a group of them called, Voices of Youth and gives them a seat at the company’s management council.

(Source “The Top Companies for Leaders,” Doris Burke, et al, Fortune, October 1, 2007, Vol. 156, NO.7, pp 109-114)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fortune’s Extensive Leadership Study

The October 2007 issue of Fortune contains the results of one of the most extensive leadership surveys I've seen in years. The purpose was to identify world-class, leadership-focused companies and best practices. To evaluate the methodology see page 116 of the issue. I was impressed with the rigor.

Before listing some of the results, you might ask, "Why is leadership development so important?"

Robert Gandossy, global practice leader for Hewitt (world’s largest HR consulting firm), puts it best in this article: " ' Organizations need talented people a lot more than talented people need organization.' "

Clearly the economy is becoming talent-based and trying to recruit and retain the best requires appealing to their motivators. Every survey I've ever seen indicates development and leadership development heads the list of what people want. As cited in the article, at CapitalOne (rated among the top companies in the world for leadership development) they cited that new employees list " ' job flexibility, development and community involvement' " as critical elements that keep them at the company. To be an employer of choice--the one talented people will work for over another--companies must address leadership development head on or risk becoming underpowered and worse, irrelevant.

Here's what they found in a nutshell, though I suggest you read the entire article:

Nine best practices of world-class leadership development companies:

  1. Invest time and money. Leadership development isn't fast or cheap. Just tacking on some program to the side of an existing HR program won't work long term. Also, the CEO and the senior execs have to embrace the concept or it won't work. CEO's of leadership-focused companies spend large chucks of time on this issue. For example, Medtronic's CEO Bill Hawkins devotes 50% of his time on people issues alone. And when other leaders see that the CEO takes leadership serious, I think you can predict what happens to their schedules!
  2. Identify promising leaders early. The leading companies work at starting to identify promising young leaders on day one. Traditionally, leadership training comes years down the road and follows a triangular model that narrows as you go up the ladder. More leadership-focused companies keep the pipeline much more open and broader based--to give more people the leadership experience and discover their strengths. This effort provides them with a huge competitive advantage.
  3. Choose assignments competitively. Providing different critical assignments for developing leaders helps the company and the individual. According to the CEO at Lilly, John Lechleiter, a good leadership development model gets formed as follows: Two-thirds of such development comes from job experience, one-third from mentoring and coaching, and a dash from classroom training. Moving people out of their comfort zones and into critical skills areas is vital but not easy.
  4. Develop leaders within their current jobs. The single opposition to moving people around (as suggested above) is it that company divisions have a tough time adjusting from the loss as leaders move on. To counter this, successful leadership-focused companies are keeping people in their leadership assignments while having them take on new responsibilities outside of their comfort zones.
  5. Be passionate about feedback and support. The best employees are the most engaged ones. To stay engaged, people have to learn. Learning involves feedback, honest and regular, and follow-up mentoring. The most successful companies have people who get both feedback and mentoring, whether formal or not.
  6. Develop teams, not just individuals. It takes a village to raise a good leader. Well run teams outperform individuals in almost every circumstance. Don't ignore this when developing leaders. One company leader I know thinks of all his employees as leaders—a pretty smart way of thinking.
  7. Exert leadership through inspiration. People don’t like an autocratic boss—no surprise here. The old command and control, top down model of leadership, doesn’t work now—in fact, never did. But with the talent shortage—exacerbated by the large number of baby boomers leaving the workforce every day (some estimates are as high as 11,000 a day are leaving!), there will be a huge talent war to attract and retain the best. And if people aren’t inspired, they’ll walk away. And the best leave first, because they can.
  8. Encourage leaders to be active in the community. The fastest way to get the exact kind of leadership experience you need is to locate a nonprofit who needs help—which describes just about every nonprofit I’ve ever known. Getting involved on boards of non-profits, for example, can teach an emerging young leader what it means to get involved in corporate governance—something very important to learn, but likely never going to happen for many without getting it from a nonprofit experience.
  9. Make leadership part of the culture. Culture is the air you breathe in an organization. It’s like the water fish swim in…it’s so much a part of their world that they almost don’t know it’s there. Great leadership—expects things like community involvement, direct feedback, job enhancement, mentoring and coaching and all the things mentioned in this article. If great leadership is to thrive, it must be an expectation of everyone in the company. It must be pumped into the corporate oxygen!
(Source “Leader Machines," Geoff Colvin, Fortune, October 1, 2007, Vol. 156, NO.7, pp 98-106.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Leading Organizational Change

John Kotter, now professor emeritus of Harvard's Business School, is considered the father of change. Author of numerous publications, his research and ideas about how change takes place in organizations have been widely applied in business. At the forefront of his thinking is that change is slow (can take years, not months) and change takes a dynamic leader to implement it in a company. Here are his eight steps to transform an organization.
  1. Establish a sense of urgency.
    • People respond better to crises than business as usual with a slight new twist. Somehow leaders have to examine the marketplace and show how their company faces a major problem
  2. Form a powerful guiding coalition.
    • Leaders need help overcoming inertia. Convincing other leaders in the company to form a team and lead the change is essential.
  3. Create a vision.
    • Leaders must be able to succinctly and vividly create the picture of a vision and develop strategies for the team to reach that vision.
  4. Communicate the vision.
    • Use every means available in the company--speeches, newsletters, memos, e-mails, and most of all leadership by example of the guiding coalition team.
  5. Empower others to act on the vision.
    • Remove obstacles to making change.
  6. Plan for creating short-term wins.
    • Gather the low-hanging fruit of change and improvements and reward people in public to create the buzz about the importance of change and to overcome inertia.
  7. Consolidate improvements to produces even more change.
    • Change systems and structures based on increasing credibility and momentum and hire new people and develop others to implement change.
  8. Institute new approaches.
    • Connect new behaviors and corporate success and plan leadership succession.
Source: Harvard Business Review on Leading Change, "Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail" by John P. Kotter (HRS Publishing, 2006). Article originally published in March-April 1995 in Harvard Business Review.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Generational Leadership--New Important Research

Generational Leadership—

Excellent Research from the Center for Creative Leadership

Jennifer Deal, researcher for the renowned Center for Creative Leadership, has written a very important book for leaders who want to understand generational leadership at a transformational level. Drawn from a database of 3,200 people surveyed from 2000 to 2005, this book, Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young & Old Can Find Common Ground (Jossey-Bass, 2007) challenges many of the assumptive differences between generations that she identifies (Silents (born 1925-1945; Early Boomers (born 1946-1954); Late Boomers (born 1955-1963); Early Xers (1964-1976) and Late Xers (1977-1986).

Here is an overview of the top 10 findings. I strongly suggest reading this book for detail behind these results:

  1. All generations have similar values.
    1. (Top values for every generation are Family, Integrity, and Love).
  2. Everyone wants respect, they just define it differently.
    1. (Older generations want respect for their experience and younger generations want respect for their new ideas and suggestions.)
  3. Trust matters a lot.
    1. (The less people trust their leaders and or organizations, the more likely they are to leave.)
  4. People want leaders who they can believe in.
    1. (All generations want leaders who are credible, trustworthy, dependable, farsighted, encouraging and good listeners)
  5. People don’t like organizational politics.
    1. (People higher in the organization think that politics is less important than people lower in that same organization.)
  6. No one likes change.
    1. (Young or old don’t like change largely because they fear more loss than gain by the change.)
  7. Loyalty depends on context not age.
    1. (All groups have about the same level of loyalty. Younger people tend to job hop more than older generations did.)
  8. Retaining younger and older people is easy if you do the right things.
    1. (Retention keys: Good compensation, learning and development, opportunities for advancement, respect and recognition, and quality of life outside of work.)
  9. Everyone wants to learn—more than anything else—97% or respondent said this!
    1. (Top 10 things they want to learn: Leadership, skills in their field, team building, problem solving, strategic planning, change management, computer skills, vision, communications, and conflict management.)
  10. Almost everyone wants a coach.
    1. (Coaching by outsiders, managers, and colleagues is effective because it’s so targeted to the individuals that people at every level of the organization want to receive it.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


The race for talent (I call it TalentRace) will become substantial in the next two years and is not going away for many yeas to come. According to the Bureau of National Labor Statistics the crunch will start to hit hard by 2010 (now only two years away)--as baby boomers start reaching retirement age and as the number of workers ages 25-34 begin to decrease.

The deficit in available workers should be in the vicinity of 10 million. That translates into a race for talent. Building a culture focused on retention becomes critical. Retaining the boomers as long as possible and attracting younger workers will be the key differentiator for employers of choice--those people will leave other companies for. According a Price Waterhouse Coopers expert in the field, employees, look for two basic conditions by asking these questions to themselves:
1. Does my supervisor value my work?
2. Am I and my colleagues treated with respect?

This a culture of retention starts with two simple words--value and respect.

Source: Retaining Your Best People, Harvard Business School Publishing Corp, 2006, ("Why Retention Should Become a Core Strategy Now" by Paul Michelman) pp.21-33.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Leadership Challenge/ Kouzes and Posner

The classic book, The Leadership Challenge (1997), by Jame Kouzes and Barry Posner reflects the their research of over 60,000 people on four continents (America, Asia, Europe, and Australia). K and P asked people to select ideal qualities that they "most look for and admire in a leader, someone whose direction they would willingly follow."

Drum roll...and the results are as follows:
  • Honest
  • Forward-looking
  • Inspiring
  • Competent
These are not shocking, rather consistent with all the literature in leadership.
So why is it so damned hard to find these folks?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Emotional and Social Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence first made popular by Daniel Goleman's: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ has had a profound effect on understanding the value of interpersonal relationships both socially and professionally. In Goleman's new book Social Intelligence he offers a close at social intelligence, how two people relate to and change each other through that social relationship.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More Generational Leadership--Podcast from the Center for Creative Leadership

  • Listen and learn Learn 10 principles about how to lead across generations. This Center for Creative Leadership research study of 7 years and thousands of people explodes a number of myths about how to lead different generation.
  • Learn about what different generations want in their leaders.
  • Different leaders for different generations or not?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Generational Leadership--The Millennials

Generational Leadership deals with how different generations supervise others. Boomers, Gen X and now the Millennials. Hear what 60 Minutes had to say about these new entrants into the world of work.
The "Millennials" Are Coming, Morley Safer On The New Generation Of American Workers - CBS News

Monday, November 12, 2007

Leadership--Marine Corps Essay Veterans Day 2007

Everything I ever needed to know about leadership, I learned in the US Marine Corps.

Steve Gladis, Ph.D.

Like my two daughters, few children of their generation will ever serve in the military. And like many fathers of my generation, I want them to know what I learned as a young Marine officer who served for 3 years-including a tour in Vietnam. What I learned while in the Marines has helped me as a father, husband, and professional manager more than any degrees, courses, or training I've received since then.

The fundamentals of Marine Corps leadership can be found in its basic field manual entitled Leading Marines (FMFM 1-0) which contains both the US Marine Corps Core Values and Principles of Leadership. These values and principles will help anyone lead people at home, in business, industry or wherever they go. They are the best things I've ever learned when it comes to leading people.

Core Values

At the core of being a leader are a set fundamental values. In Leading Marines, the US Marine Corps says that, "…the most important responsibility in our Corps is leading Marines." And at the epicenter of this leadership are the US Marine Corps Core Values: Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

* Honor: Simply put, leaders don't lie, cheat or steal. Honor is all about trust and integrity. It's a bedrock for any group of people because without it there is no trust or justice. And without trust everyone suspects the worst of a fellow team- or work-group member. I strongly believe that every organization should have an honor code that charges every person with monitoring the group to ensure that honor is never breached and, if it is, to root it out. A community of trust is essential to great organizations.
* Courage: Mental, moral, and physical courage distinguish leaders from the herd. To lead you must have mental toughness to make difficult decisions. Moral courage, like mental courage, means making tough calls when others around you might say, "But everyone's doing it; it must be OK." Finally, physical courage is placing yourself in harm's way for another…taking risks. And such protection works on all three levels: mental, moral and physical courage.
* Commitment: Leaders stick with the team. Loyalty is essential if you expect to succeed. Just like marriage or any institution, endurance and commitment of each other to the union is essential. If leaders jump ship every time a better looking deal comes along, imagine the chaos that results and the souls that are lost along the way. Now, loyalty need not be blind. Strong institutions must question underlying assumptions, but commitment must also be a bedrock value. In fact, the Marine Corps' motto is Semper Fidelis-always faithful.

Principles of Leadership

To be an effective leader, the Marines have provided a number of principles. Again, in their basic manual they say, "… if we expect Marines to lead and if we expect Marines to follow, we must provide the education of the heart and mind to win on the battlefield and in the barracks, in war and peace." These principles are drummed into every new officer at the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico, Virginia. They too will be found in the Marine Corps basic field manual entitled Leading Marines.

* Set the example. Values are caught, not taught. This is the most important leadership principle I ever learned in the Corps: Lead by example. Don't tell your troops…show them. If you want them to work late on a project at the office, you'd better get there before them and leave after them if you want their respect. Don't tell them to abide by the rules while you violate them, or tell your kids not to drink or smoke if you do. Don't expect troops to dress, speak or write well, if you don't. You must earn the right to lead-and that's through example.
* Be technically and tactically proficient. As a leader, you must know how to do your job well. You must be competent to earn the respect of your troops. As a leader, you must also keep up with knowledge. You must become a lifelong learner to ensure that you are a knowledgeable leader. Our knowledge base is expanding exponentially, and leaders who get left behind fail their troops. Keep going to school, reading and soaking up new tools of technology wherever and whenever you can.
* Know yourself and seek self improvement. This means being honest with yourself. You can't be great at all things. Know where your strengths and weaknesses lie and work with them, share them and seek out complementary personalities when making decisions so that you strike a balance. Look for help where you're weak and help others who need your strengths. Leadership is about knowing and admitting you need help, as well as giving help freely. Learn from others and teach others.
* Know your Marines and look out for their welfare. Leadership is knowing about and caring for your troops. People are all different, and you need to learn their differences and work with them. Learn what motivates them, their strengths, and their weaknesses. People who work for you know whether you care about them based on how you treat them. Treat them the way you like to be treated…the simple golden rule.
* Keep your Marines informed. Communication ensures knowledge and both are key to a smooth functioning team. If people don't know what's going on, they invent rumors to fill the communication void. Often those rumors hurt rather than help organizations. Stop the cancer of rumors by letting your troops know what's going on. Send notes, post information on bulletin boards, e-mail…your ability to communicate quickly and well is widened today by technology.
* Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished. Telling the troops to get something done does not ensure it ever will. First you have to articulate what you want done. That means knowing what you want. This sounds simpler than it is. Next, you must sell the importance of the task to your troops. Ordering or telling (in business) only goes so far. If people don't buy in with their hearts and minds, what you get is malicious obedience-doing what they're told and hoping for failure. Give troops a reasonable time to accomplish the task and then check on it. Complement when it gets done well or counsel until it does get done correctly.
* Train your Marines as a team. As a leader, you are a teacher. You must not only keep yourself current in your field, but you must train your troops as well. Train as a team on projects rooted in your business; you'll see demonstrable results. An old coach once told me, "You only do in a game what you did in practice." So practice-practice as a team. Nothing is better than a team tackling a common problem with Esprit de Corps… the spirit of the group. And, there's nothing like the feeling of a team reaching a tough goal together.
* Make sound and timely decisions. Sound decisions are born out of good information and counsel. Read, research, study before you decide-do your own homework. Look at what others have done-benchmarking. Read the research-don't reinvent the wheel. Next, try to make timely decisions. Sometimes you'll have little time and must rely on your instincts. But remember that if you put off a decision too long, you are still making a decision…not to decide.
* Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates. Delegate a task and get out of the way. Oversupervising troops annoys them and takes up too much of your time. Empower people by giving them rights and responsibilities. With every freedom we have, there is a corresponding responsibility. We have freedom of speech, but the responsibility not to slander another. When leading troops, give them the freedom to solve problems and the responsibility to live with the results.
* Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities. Know your troops' capabilities and work within that framework. Business has learned that to be successful, you must focus on what you do well, rather than trying to do everything. It's also called finding your market niche. You will never be able to be all things to all people; so don't try. Just do what you do-and do it well.
* Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. No one ever became a leader by shying away from responsibility. The old saying, "never volunteer," should be: "Always volunteer-if you want to grow." To get to a new job, you have to show that you can handle it. That often means extending your responsibilities-stretching yourself. Volunteer to help out on projects and teams and I guarantee you'll be better off for the experience.

Semper Fidelis

Dr. Steve Gladis, a former US Marine Corps officer (1968-1971), is on the faculty of the University of Virginia, serves as the Director of its Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, and is a former FBI Special Agent (1973-1996).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Coaching to the Next Level of Leadership

Amazon Book Review of Marshall Goldsmith's Bestseller: What Got You Here Won't Get You There.

Marshall Goldsmith's Declaration of Interdependence
By Steve Gladis, Ph.D.

Marshall Goldsmith is the Thomas Jefferson of executive coaching. Like Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, Goldsmith, with coauthor Mark Reiter, has crafted his own Declaration of Interdependence for leaders: What Got You Here Won't Get You There (Hyperion, 2007). Having read Marshall Goldsmith's work in the past, I'd consider his new book of wisdom his manifesto for successful people, one that acknowledges that good leaders need others around them to become great leaders.

Drawing from years of both academic and practical experience with CEO's and the C-level leaders, Goldsmith provides a treasure trove of wisdom in engaging, down-to-earth, classic Goldsmith prose. For example, when offering a strategy to a hypothetical client about how to be nicer (something many senior leaders could use a healthy dose of), instead of setting up an elaborate behavioral goal-setting system focused on "being nice," Goldsmith advises, "All you have to do is stop being a jerk. It doesn't require much."

In this new book, Marshall Goldsmith offers a great summary of his past theory and practice and much more. For example, we not only get a nice review of feedforward, Marshall's future-oriented process of seeking help from colleagues to change behavior, but we also get much more. I especially enjoyed The Twenty Habits chapter--knowing what to stop--the things leaders do that prevent them from getting from "here to there." Here are just a few bad habits; see if they don't ring true as barriers to leaders: "Winning too much: The need to win at all costs; Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting comments that make us [leaders] sound sharp and witty; Withholding information: The refusal to share information to maintain an advantage over others." Goldsmith explains each of these in detail with clear examples.

I also enjoyed Section Three of the book containing the following useful chapters: Feedback, Apologizing, Telling the World, Listening and Thanking. In this section, Goldsmith teaches leaders how to get others around them to help them make necessary and important changes. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on apologizing--The Magic Move, as he so aptly names it. It took me many years to employ this particular skill--I'm still a work-in-progress, just ask my wife. Goldsmith describes it this way: "...I regard apologizing as the most magical, healing, restorative gesture human beings can make...without the apology there is no recognition that mistakes have been emotional contract between you and the people you care about...."

So let me finish this review with an open apology to Marshall Goldsmith:

I'm sorry for not having read your work earlier in my life. I'll try to do better in the future.

Trust at Work

Every relationship, whether personal or professional, depends on trust. In his new book, The Speed of Trust, Stephen Covey takes a hard look at this principle that is as important today to every leader as it was in the days of Aristotle, who first discussed trust many years ago. Covey discusses the two most important principles of trust—character and competence.
  • Character—Does the person have high integrity, consistency, and honesty, and good intent—no hidden agenda—and have the best interest of others at heart?
  • Competence—Does the person have capabilities—knowledge, skills and abilities, and does the person get results—a track record for getting the job done?
Covey discusses the cost of trust.
  • When trust is low in an organization, it takes more time and costs more money to get things done. He calls it a hidden “tax” on our business.
  • When trust is high, speed increases but cost decreases—a trust dividend, as Covey calls it.

The book is worthwhile, a readable text with a number of practical steps about how to build trust, and by inference, build a strong and healthy climate in an organization.

Please pass this on to anyone inside or outside your organization who may have an interest.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

About Survival Leadership

My leadership training started in the United States Marine Corps, especially in combat in Vietnam. While not all leadership takes place in such a dramatic setting, day-to-day challenges at work often feel like we're in a survival, almost combat mode. I intend this site to help leaders, especially emerging leaders, survive and succeed in their leadership challenges.

GMU Leadership and Coaching Certificates

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