Business Sutra |2.1 | Does a leader create, sustain or destroy?

Business Sutra |2| Leadership

In the first episode of the TV serial on CNBC 18, spread over three segments, Devdutt Pattanaik presented to us the most visible form of the business – the corporation : its meaning, its purpose and its action perspective.

In the second episode Devdutt Pattanaik discusses Leadership. What is the role of a leader? Does he exist for the goals or for the followers? The goals being too impersonal, he feels leadership should be about people. That is why Mughals rulers were called Jahanpanah – shelter of the world or Maratha rulers as Chhtrapati – the bearer of the roof. Leaders care for their people, give them direction and purpose. However a manager is, typically, focused on a goal. In fact, so much focused on the goal that, over the time, people, or ethics, stop to matter.

In our present post, take up first segment of the second episode and see whether a leader should be like Indra or be like Vishnu.

Business Sutra |2.1 | Does a leader create, sustain or destroy?

Leadership should be one of the most discussed, extensively studies and exhaustively documented subject in the field of management art and science.

So we will take only so much of references from the western world that can set the tone of our topic.

Marissa Levin’s article – Preserve, Destroy, Create: Your Only Path to Breakthrough Growth quite succinctly reflects the western world’ views on role of the leadership w.r.t. to the title of our post:

Over lunch with my executive coach, Mike Harden (www.ceosuccesscoach.com) I learned that business activity falls into three buckets: Preservation, Destruction, or Creation. These buckets can actually be applied to any life situation, from something serious like ending a relationship,  to something “easy” like cleaning out your closet or changing your diet/workout habits.

Preservation: Keeping the lights on

Most organizational activity can be categorized as “Preservation.” Everything a business owner does to keep the company running falls into this bucket .All of these activities are necessary but too much of a focus on them creates a short-term mindset, or a mindset that is focused on immediate needs. Preservation happens when a company expends energy on leveraging existing competencies, rather than developing new competencies, or worrying about today’s competitors, rather than scanning the landscape for new entrants.

Destruction: Courage to discard the broken and outdated

For a business to grow, it must closely analyze what isn’t working. This is where the Destruction phase comes in…Not everything we do today works for us. It takes courage, but to move forward, we need to selectively forget the past. ..To quote one of my all-time favorite authors Marshall Goldsmith, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.”  (http://www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com/html/marshall/books.html)

It is the pain of the change that brings the reward of the growth.

Creation: Infusing new life

Creation activities prepare your company for long-term growth – beyond survival.

Linear vs. non-linear thinking

Creation also means breaking away from linear thinking in which a company simply makes a current product better.

Non-linear thinking doesn’t make a product better; it makes a new product. It requires the ability to forget the past, move beyond organizational memory, and create a new future. It’s looking at all situations with a “wouldn’t-it-be-cool-if…” perspective to formulate ideas on where you want to be in the future.

Moving from surviving to thriving

So how does a company incorporate the three phases of Preservation, Destruction, and Creation? It starts with awareness of the idea that some practices just have to go. Simply being aware of the need to make a change is the first step in making it. This step, followed by the change itself (to include getting rid of the old to make room for the new), leads to breakthrough growth.

Awareness, courage, action, reward form the recipe for making the changes you need to take your organization to the next level.

The following image presents another – more mundane – facet of Destruction. This very clearly puts across the impact of role the leadership, knowingly or unknowingly, plays in this process.

Kathy Caprino, in her article – 7 Traits of Inspiring Leadership That Uplifts rather Than Destroys – provides direct linkages of the role of leadership on the destiny of the organization:

  • They are clear about the challenges ahead, but they inspire faith, hope and collaboration, not fear.
  • Blame is not in their rhetoric – they never stoop to recrimination or demeaning, belittling language.
  • Their self-esteem is strong enough to take constructive criticism and critique, and in fact, they welcome it.
  • Their communication style is positive, with words that inspire greatness and growth in us.
  • They don’t surround themselves only with people who “yes” them – they surround themselves with diversity, truth and openness.
  • The success that they long for is success and opportunity for all – not just one faction, group, or organization.
  • They operate at all times with integrity, truthfulness and transparency, even when that’s excruciatingly difficult to do.

Now, let us look at what Devdutt Pattanaik has to say in Segment 1 of the episode 2 – Does a leader create, sustain or destroy?

In his present talk, he has used the role models of Indra and Vishnu to present how Indian mythology looks at the role of leadership.

Indra, king of gods and the lord of heaven is in constant pursuit of success and wealth Lakshmi but Lakshmi prefers the side of Vishnu.  Are you Indra chasing success or are you Vishnu with success chasing you?

Therein lies the answer to who is a leader and what are the ideal leadership qualities.

Indra really is not a leader because the definition of leader here we are talking about is someone with a wider role. What is Vishnu’s role? He is taking care of the world.  In other words this means his reference point of action is the world, others not him. It is not about self-actualization. He is not trying to actualize himself. He is taking care of others and in just doing that he becomes a fortune magnet. Indra the other hand is taking care of nobody except for himself, his own self-actualization.

Indra is self-focused and therefore is insecure, and therefore chases Lakshmi.  Vishnu is focused on the others, therefore more secure, and therefore Lakshmi chases him.

In fact, Vishnu is not secure because he looks at the others. He is secure, and therefore looks at the others.

And yet when we talk about the creation of the world, we talk about three gods. At least, this is popular perception. These are: Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the God that maintains) and Shiv (the destroyer).  So the logical question is why is Vishnu the most important of these three gods and the most revered?

When we talk about creation, even the word creation implicitly visualizes the god as it is told in the Bible, one who creates the world. But in the Indian context the man who is creating the world is not worshipped, but the one who is destroying the world is being worshipped. Now either we are mad or there is a problem with our understanding of the words.

Creating what? Destroying what? Preserving what? These are the questions to be asked.

When we see Brahma’s action, when you read the scriptures, it can be seen that He is a God who is yearning constantly, he’s chasing things because he is seeking to understand who he is and therefore he creates the world to answer this question of who he is. When he creates the world, rather than figuring out the answer he starts chasing it and wants to possess it and wants to control it, wants to dominate it. In the process, he lost his eye and he has lost his original purpose. So he is forgotten, and therefore should not be worshipped. Because of his yearning he is chasing the wrong thing.

One could say that this Brahma is aham brahmasmi, you and I.  We, as human beings keep chasing something, so we keep losing sight of what we really want and we have to introspect to figure out what it is.

On the other hand the gods that are worshipped are Vishnu and Shiva. Neither of these gods chase the goddess but the goddesses comes to them. Now, the difference between these two gods is: Shiva says the world doesn’t matter, this is wrong, it is Maya , a  delusion, I shut my eyes to the world and I switch off. So he gives up, he lets go. Vishnu says when the world doesn’t matter so let us enjoy it. It is a question of perspective.

We, thus, have three different characters in mythology, which are engaging with the three currencies in a very different way. One says I (constantly) yearn for Lakshmi, Saraswathi and / or Durga. That’s Brahma. That’s you and I.  This is no average human being.  On the other extreme is Shiva who just switches off. He does not want any of these. So he is Vairagi, the Hermit. He is surrounded by cold icy mountains, the destruction. He is switched off. The goddess goes to him and says you know what you may have figured it out but the rest of the world has not. So please, open the eyes. She marries him, appeals to him to engage with the world.  Now, you have two forms of Shiva – Shiva whose eyes are shut and Shankara whose eyes are open. He is the benevolent one, the boon giving one.  He is engaged with the world. The Vishnu is that the server, his eyes are always open. So when you go to Vishnu temple, you will find his eyes are always open, he  is looking at you and is amused by you. He is amused because we are all Bramhas, he is caring, telling us that you know your direction is wrong. In that respect he is similar to Shankara.

This is what we need to try and be. This is what a leader should be, which means he is to be wise enough to care. So leader is someone who enables you to grow materially (L), intellectually (S) and emotionally (D). That is the role of the leader. In doing so, grows himself, so your growth becomes his growth.

So the logical question is – why is the Creator, the man who has helped create all of these, not given equal importance.

To answer this we have to find out what has he created. To know this, we have to go back to the Scriptures. He has created desire, he has created ignorance, he has created the chase. He has created the reckless human being, he has created rat race. Now would you worship the creator of the rat race or will you worship the person who tells you how to step out from the rat race so that the goddess of wealth chases you. You decide.

We have two apparently divergent views.  What would be applicable depends on the context of the situation. You decide which model you would follow

These discussions are as much applicable to leadership in the management of business as leadership in type of human activity.

In our next session next month, we will take up segment 2 of second episode – Leadership – of Devdutt Pattanaik’s TV serial Business Sutra viz. Context of leaders

Note: The images used in this post are the irrevocable property of their respective creator. They have been taken up courtesy the internet, so as to illustrate the point under discussion.

Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – July, 2016

Welcome to July, 2016 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

We have already taken up the following topics for the familiarization of different elements of new version of ISO 9001-

For the present episode we will see how ‘Leadership’ in the Other ISO Management Standards’ is addressed.

Leadership – Leadership may therefore be the most important lever in an (ethical) system designed to support (ethical) conduct.

In The Expanding Role of Leadership in Management System Standards Chad Kymal states that new versions of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 set clear expectations. He also has drawn a broader canvas of the expanding role of the leadership in MSS.

In a very lucid white paper – The Importance of leadership in Management System Standards – BSI concludes that “many of the leadership responsibilities are contained in the standard text of Annex SL. So the principles and requirements for the other management system standards will be very similar, but with a focus onto the respective discipline, for instance environmental management or health and safety management.”

In Top Management Commitment: What Are The Standards , Syed Mahammud Wasif has postulated 10 initiatives that set the tone for the top management commitment.

Leadership for the Many, Not the Few – Beth Zimmerman states that all members of the Evans team are supported in exercising and strengthening their leadership skills in ways that align with their personal passions and Evans’ corporate goals. We also make additional investments to ensure that those with people-management responsibilities have strong skills in, and a consistent approach to, supporting those they manage in succeeding in their respective roles. Evans applies a mix of practices to bolster leadership – Coaching, Tools for Success, Mixed-level Teams, Internal and External Opportunities for Growth, Training for People Managers,

We also have a few videos on the subject:

  • ISO revisions – All about leadership in the new standards
  • Management and Leadership overview
  • Teaching leaders “What to Stop”

Obviously, before we can expect many more articles on the actual practices, we will have to wait for some more time as more and more organizations take up the implementations of the newer versions of these management system standards.

For the August, 2016 episode, we will take Change Management in the new versions of these management standards.

We will now turn to our regular sections:

ASQ CEO, Bill Troy in his ASQ’s Influential Voice has a guest article by Scott Rutherford – What Do We Expect from Senior Leaders? – that also looks at our current subject of leadership. Scott Rutherford recalls a 1986 Quality Progress review  by Dr. Joseph Juran.  The quote is:

It is most important that top management be quality-minded. In the absence of sincere manifestation of interest from the top, little will happen from below.”

We now watch the latest ASQ TV  episodes:

In Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems for the month of May, 2016, we have –

  • The Magic Ingredient for Success – is attitude! Successful people have a way of looking at things, a way of seeing obstacles as opportunities, and a way of “hanging in there” to make the most of every possibility. This is an attitude of positive affirmation that almost always guarantees success….The good news about attitude is that it can be altered, and we, not anyone else, are in charge of our own attitudes. What’s your Jim's Gemsattitude? If it’s not going to bring you success, then change it!
  • Where Should Organizations Focus their Greatest Efforts?… On Process or People? – Peter Drucker, the late author and management consultant, wrote that “neither technology nor people determine the other, but each shapes the other.” …..In planning how to evaluate claim data quality, building a framework of systems-thinking proved extremely helpful. Namely, the process principles of statistical thinking formed the conceptual foundation of a quality improvement plan which included: (1) All work occurs in a system of interconnected processes; (2) Variation exists in all processes; and (3) Understanding and reducing variation are keys to success….a translation from process to a greater attention on people suggests the following principles: (1) All work is done by individuals; (2) An individual’s work is variable; (3) Key to quality improvement is reducing variation by getting the right person into the right job….a predominant focus on people can lead either to management paralysis or to process tampering, when people are primarily held accountable…..Success stems from having the right processes and the right people in place. The development of this leadership style has been shaped by envisioning processes first and then providing people the opportunity to engage those processes.

I look forward to your active participation in enriching the blog carnival as we pursue our journey in exploring the happenings across quality management blogs…………

Note: The images depicted here above are through courtesy of respective websites who have the copyrights for the respective images.

Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – June, 2016

Welcome to June, 2016 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

We have taken up familiarisation of different elements of new ISO 9001-

In the present episode, we will take up one more key change in the 2015 version of ISO 9001 – Leadership and Commitment.

What Does ‘Top Management’ Commitment Mean for Management Systems?

The article lists lot of actions, objectives and ‘ensuring’ for Top Management to do! Yes, such listing is just a superficial summary of the clauses from the ISO 9001 standard. For a detailed discussion on these specific requirements, their implementation or demonstrated effectiveness, a full-fledged article is called for.

How to comply with new leadership requirements in ISO 9001:2015 – Mark Hammar

In many ways, the leadership requirements in the (draft version of) the 2015 update to ISO 9001 are not new. ISO 9001 has always had the leadership importance of top management as one of the seven quality management principles that form the basis of the standard.

Here are some things that are important to show that top management has a commitment to the Quality Management System:

  • QMS effectiveness is measured, and management is involved in assessing this.
  • The Quality Policy and objectives are in place per management direction, communicated in the organization, and tracked for progress.
  • The QMS is part of the business processes, not a side project.
  • Resource needs are reviewed and addressed by management.
  • Continual improvement is promoted and supported by management.
  • There is a way to ensure customer, statutory, and regulatory requirements are understood and met, and people understand why this is important.
  • There is a management focus on customer satisfaction.
  • Organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities are assigned, understood by the person who is assigned, and known to those employees who need to assess a person in a certain role.

Role of Top Management in ISO’s 2015 – Leadership or Management? – Cliff Poon

 Leadership - Cliff Poon

Leadership impacts behaviour of individual whereas Management focuses on processes.

Correlation matrices between ISO 9001-2008 and ISO 9001-2015

Leadership and commitment 9001-2015

ISO 9001 Responsibilities of Top Management is initiated right from the design stage and spans through the implementation and maintenance of the QMS after registration stage:

  1. Define ‘quality’ in the form of objectives to help internal communication of what is to be achieved (product and service requirements, process effectiveness and efficiency, customer perception etc.)
  2. Show that the business is central to the system: use your normal business language, not ‘quality’ or ISO 9001 terms.
  3. Produce a simple top-level, “big picture” of your business processes to show how the system improves results by focusing on the improvement of processes.
  4. Demonstrate your commitment to continual improvement by focusing on the next improvement and by taking it seriously.
  5. Show that the ‘quality’ approach is becoming instituted by integrating reviews into normal management cycles.
  6. Ensure that records are turned visibly into management information so that people keeping them understand their importance.

The Changing Role Of The Quality Management Representative (QMR)

“For increased leadership and commitment by top management to be successful, top management must not see quality management as an appendix in addition to the actual requirements of business processes”, explains Ulrich Wegner, Technical Head of TÜV SÜD Management Service GmbH. “Instead, quality management should be closely intermeshed with strategic planning and, where possible, the management control system, and thus with actual corporate management. To reach this goal, organisations must clearly define the roles and responsibilities of managers and executives in the field of quality management.”

Those rare organisations in which QMRs are still operating as ‘lone warriors’ will definitely need to undertake some adjustments to meet the requirements defined in the new ISO 9001.

10 Ways Leaders Can Drive Continual Improvement

  • State Your Belief in Continual ImprovementContinual-Improvement - 10 leadership ways
  • Explain Why Continual Improvement is Important
  • Empower, but be a Servant Leader
  • Participate in Continual Improvement Yourself
  • Ask for Continual Improvement Ideas and Opportunities
  • Don’t Require Every Improvement to be an Event or Project
  • Emphasize Small Ideas
  • Ask for More than Just Cost Savings
  • Look at Processes Instead of Blaming People
  • Keep Asking for Continual Improvement

Top Managers management of Management System

Management-of-Management-System Jan Olsson

A Management System is a tool for top management to enable successful business. Often this tool is managed by an Operational Development manager. Top management shall transform strategic directions, threats and opportunities together with stakeholder interests in to requirements on processes, organization structures and controls. Operational Development manager will design the details of the management system in close cooperation with operational management. Managers will drive and ensure utilization and performance will be monitored. Top management will then be involved in the evaluation of the Management System performance Review and additional or changed requirements will be given in order to improve the Management System.

Success without top management commitment?

Top Management

ISO 9001:2015 – Practical Leadership – .

Practical Leadershp-Website-Blog-In-Article

 

“True *Freedom* is not the absence of structure but rather a clear structure which enables people to work within established boundaries in an autonomous and creative way.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter[i]

 

 

These video clips also help in understanding the subject :

Understanding ISO 9001:2015: Top managementPeter van Nederpelt

ISO 9001:2015 Leadership and Top Management CommitmentWarren Alford

ISO 9001 2015 Clause 5 Leadership

The new version of the management system standards now requires the organization’s top management to be far more proactive and involved. We will expand the subject and take up the ‘Leadership’ in the Other ISO Management Standards in our July, 2016 episode.

We will now turn to our regular sections:

ASQ CEO, Bill Troy in his ASQ’s Influential Voice had mentioned about ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement, held May 16-18, 2016 in Milwaukee. We now have the updates on the event:

Top 10 Books for Those New to Quality would prove to be a very handy reference to quality professionals of all hues:

  1. The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition by Nancy R. Tague
  2. The ASQ Quality Improvement Pocket Guide: Basic History, Concepts, Tools, and Relationships edited by Grace L. Duffy
  3. The ASQ Pocket Guide to Root Cause Analysis by Bjørn Andersen and Tom Natland Fagerhaug
  4. Process Improvement Simplified: A How-to Book for Success in any Organization by James B. King, Francis G. King , and Michael W. R. Davis
  5. The Certified Quality Improvement Associate Handbook, Third Edition: Basic Quality Principles and Practices edited by Russell T. Westcott and Grace L. Duffy
  6. Performance Metrics: The Levers for Process Management by Duke Okes
  7. The Memory Jogger 2, Second Edition: A Pocket Guide of Tools for Continuous Improvement and Effective Planning by Michael Brassard and Diane Ritter
  8. The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality by Joyce Nilsson Orsini PhD.
  9. Principles of Quality Costs, Fourth Edition: Financial Measures for Strategic Implementation of Quality Management edited by Douglas C. Wood
  10. Outcomes, Performance, Structure: Three Keys to Organizational Excellence by Michael E. Gallery and Stephen C. Carey

June, 2016 Roundtable: Employee Engagement discusses the question – To what extent do organizations engage employees about the importance of quality? How should companies approach this issue, and how can they avoid “sloganeering” and make a real difference?

We now watch the latest ASQ TV  episodes:

  • Employee Engagement: This episode discusses the importance of having engaged employees to boost initiative and creativity in the workplace, which ultimately leads to breakthrough performance. Determine whether changes are necessary in your business operations.

Workplace spirit: LINK
Maintenance Required: LINK

  •  Alternatives to Brainstorming: Carol Knight-Wallace, principal, Knight Vantage Consulting, says the traditional form of brainstorming is no longer effective. In this brief interview, Knight-Wallace, explains why you should look to other forms of brainstorming and what you should be looking for in the tool.
  • 2016 ASQ World Conference Recap on Quality and Improvement

In Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems for the month of May, 2016, we have –

  • Use Six Sigma Selfishly – Quality professionals should apply DMAIC six sigma processes to enhance their careers.

Jim's GemsFirst, define your career’s purpose and scope. Then determine how you are going to reach these milestones. Write down actions to needed to make the adjustments. Assess your current situation w.r.t. the requirements for attaining the milestones so as to identify the gaps. Now analyze your career process using these two important questions: do you now know better where you stand; and how to get where you need to be in order to fulfill your career goals? In this stage, it is helpful to involve a friend or mentor. An outsider can often help determine whether you have taken the appropriate steps or how realistic your process has been up to this point. In the control phase the challenge is to maintain your progress by learning from the past.

I look forward to your active participation in enriching the blog carnival as we pursue our journey in exploring the happenings across quality management blogs…………

Note: The images depicted here above are through courtesy of respective websites who have the copyrights for the respective images.

[i]  Rosabeth Moss Kanter at TEDxBeaconStreet : Six Keys to Leading Positive Change

The Speed in a Modern Life

I am presently reading the sequel to “The monk who sold Ferrari”  –  Leadership Wisdom” by Robin Sharma. And now here is the coincidence that I have two articles from regular reading web-shelf on the subject of “moving Too fast” and (Executive)  ” Burnout” by Ben Fanning , in a guest article on “Great Leadership“.

So, this post – to bring in the essence of both articles, without precluding the “MUST read” each of the article and practice what they have said.

In Gentle Friday Reminder: Go Slow, Shri Tanmay Vora gently reminds us of a harsh aspect of the way we live our life today: “Life is too short (really) to zoom past it. At the end of a succinct article, thereby still , probably, facilitating the current mindset of whizzing mankind interest of reading the article for top-to-finish, he has ceratinly ‘gently’ jolted the reader by quoting “an amazing blogger, Nicholas Bate says: “Chase quality of life, not standard of living. The former is what most of us actually want”.”

Ben Fanning has retained the matter-of-fact narrative style befitting   the Management Genre of the Literature. The entire article – Why Burnout Should Alarm Executive Leaders – has a good deal of wisdom neatly stacked making it quite easy on an otherwise harassed, on verge-of -burn-out ‘modern’ executive to read the article. And the Bonus Tip “Celebrate the Small Wins – Find something to celebrate with your team every day. Even the smallest of wins can help build momentum to achieve bigger goals.” gives a small electric shock for the race for increasingly BIG wins in SHORTEST possible time.

Great Leadership: Building Your Leadership Brand

[ Great Leadership: Building Your Leadership Brand.- The Guest article, by Beth Armknecht Miller, of Atlanta, Georgia, Founder and President of Executive Velocity, a leadership development advisory firm on The Great Leadership, an excellent blog by Dan McCarthy spurred me to write a response to the article.

Ultimately, it was too long enough to be posted as a comment to the original  article. Hence this post.]

The article’s emphasis – define what leadership is to you” – requires being underlined,so that the real intent of such an excellent advice is hardwired among the practicing managers:

The article goes on to delve deeper into ‘defining’ ‘your own leadership by squarely positioning three searching questions, which we further analyze in terms of the analogy of the “Product Brand” used in the article:

  1. “Genuine” and “True:

For any product to be elevated to a cult , the preferred, brand, it is mandatory that its core characteristics – be its design, be its engineering, be its physical or material or  any other fundamental ‘properties’ by any name – must always be consistent with the  promise of the fulfillment of the need or the requirement of its user that a product or service inherently carries with itself..

Any dilution in the ‘core’ invariably leads to the down fall of the ‘image’ of the product..

This is true of Leadership as well. Leadership, its most fundamental core, is not merely a profession or a vocation. It is a passion. The extent or the nature of the passion may depend on several factors internal to the person – the personality style, impact of one’s upbringing etc.-  or external to the leadership  as an organism – surrounding ‘ecosystem’, the purpose of the organization, the then strategic intents of the top management, organization’s’ relative competitive position etc.- , but the fact remains that as long as the person has an internal stream of inspiration flowing, the leadership as an organism survives.

The core of any Leadership is the ethos of the Leader – values, beliefs, intentions, principles, practices and all that makes a person what he or she is.

  1. “Inspire” others:

This is somewhat equivalent of 4 (or sometimes known as 5) Ps of the product.

Good products are ‘sold’ but good brands are ‘bought’! Excellently conceived and executed Ps can help ‘sell’ the product, but only when the product meets (or exceeds) the requirements or needs of the user, it becomes The Brand which is ‘bought’ irrespective of any (or perhaps, all) competitive pressures.

So is the case of Leadership. A well thought out and manifested Leadership Style can ‘sell’ itself to target constituency, but in order for the Leadership” to be willingly ‘bought’, it ought to “inspire(s) those around (you) to perform their very best”.

The extent and nature of voluntary inspiration that The Leadership provides to the target constituency determines its brand value.

  1. The “results”

Call them KPIs of performance of the product or the Leadership.

In the modern age, what was considered purely altruist in the previous centuries – Religion, Arts, Charity etc. – also get measured in terms of what or how much is achieved.

The results, continuing our analogy with Product, have to be sustained over the life cycle. We still have traces of the tradition where the past glory of a product is archived in a museum. In similar manner, the past glory of the Leadership that was may get chronicled or may be referred to in the present context.

However, increasingly, the value of leadership has indeed shifted to the extent of its impact on the way it enables handling the present, thereby making future appear more cognisable.

The lasting of the Leadership Brand is the impact that it leaves in terms of shaping the future of its constituency.

In the ultimate analysis, the author, Beth Armknecht Miller, rightly cautions thatthe ‘Leadership’ must remain rooted to the inherently “natural” grain. The moment it ‘sounds’ [or ‘appears’] cosmetic, it indeed “loses its credibility”. This is where it may tend become a ‘practice’ rather than a ‘spirit”.

Leadership Traits – to be Developed and Maintained – @ April 2012 Leadership Development Carnival, hosted by Shri Tanmay Vora

We have had a detailed look at several interesting fares on the offer at the April 2012 Edition of Leadership Development Carnival, hosted by ShrI Tanmay Vora. We looked at the The Boss,  , Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea’ and CHANGE at length in the words of the writers of the original articles.

We now conclude our visit to the Carnival by taking a similar detailed look at a major group of articles, bound by a common thread of Traits and Qualities, required to be acquired and maintained by the persons who are destined to play role of effective leaders in their respective organizations.

We begin our present tour with an evergreen subject of leadership versus Management. Bret Simmons in his post “The Difference Between Management And Leadership” spells out in clear terms why the distinction is accurate; however, focusing on it is dangerous. We might think that Warren Bennis’s axiomatic statement  “managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing.” seems to ratify the distinction as if these are two parallel lines, who never meet each other. In the new chapter to the paperback edition of his book, Good Boss, Bad Boss, Bob Sutton states that bosses tend to consider “generating big and vague ideas as the important part of their jobs – and to treat implementation, or pesky details of any kind, as mere “management work” best done by “the little people.” Even if left unsaid, this distinction reflects how too many bosses think and act. They use it to avoid learning about people they lead, technologies their companies use, customers they serve, and numerous other crucial little things.” (p. 264).” Bret Simmons adds that “the best leaders continually pursue skills that enhance their mastery of management efficiencies. The best managers always realize that effectiveness is the real goal, and efficiency is necessary but not sufficient for sustaining a healthy organization. The best organizational citizens understand how their roles are interdependent with every other role in the organizational leadership process.”

At our next stop, Tim Milburn considers ‘Developing Lifelong Leaders’ tagline of his website his life’s mission. In an effort to more clearly define what he means by lifelong leader, he has spelt out “Three Traits Of A Lifelong Leader”to identify this type of person: First he is a Life Long Learner [“If a person is motivated to learn, that person has the potential to lead.”]. Secondly, he takes Responsibility [If a person has a track record of taking responsibility, that person is a promising candidate for leadership”.] And thirdly, he empowers and walks the people through Change. [“If a person can empower the change-resistant to become change-receptive, that person has incredible possibilities for leadership”.]

Thus, lifelong leadership would also mean:  “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” ~Albert Einstein. As Jane Perdue explains, in her article “7 Ways to Maintain Momentum”, that failure has to be seen as ‘dealing with hitting one of life’s unexpected speed bumps.’  And the solution lies in seeing ‘what happened to you as a “teachable moment” for exploring, growing and learning instead of allowing yourself to withdraw.’ She has a bouquet of 7 Tips to help maintain the momentum. Each tip has an excellent quote. For the purpose of this visit where we intend to take home our learning, we will store these quotes:

“1] “Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” ~Bernice Johnson Reagon

2] “The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” ~Carlos Castaneda

3] “Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

4] “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” ~Aldous Huxley

5] “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” ~Abraham Lincoln

6] “The difference between can and cannot is only three letters. Three letters that can shape your life’s direction.” ~Remez Sasson

7] “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” ~Brian Tracy

The next time you’re cruising down the highway and see the road sign that reads “keep moving, change lanes later” – smile and follow the good advice.”

Till now we have seen ways and means to ‘maintain’ what is ‘acquired’ to be an effective leader. But in real life, it is never a good strategy to aim to remain where you have reached. The moment, you decide to focus on staying where you are, the decline has started. That is why Utpal Vaishnav, in his article, “Want to Make a Difference? Be Unreasonable”   invites to stop living normal life. He goes on state:

“Consider for a moment what actually happens when you fantasize about something?

You visualize something which is impossible or improbable in reality.

You hit the bull right. Even the Oxford dictionary confirms: Fantasy means an idea with no basis in reality.

Stop living so called ‘normal’ life is the first step to be able to create something incredible that you wouldn’t be able to, otherwise.

Being able to be unreasonable is the key.

One great source of learning to be unreasonable is the children around us. In Indian mythology it is considered that a child below five years is a divine form of God. I often explore and find that saying to be profound.

A child doesn’t care about what’s normal or what’s right and what’s not. The child would speak something that’s not appropriate, the child would break something which shouldn’t be broken, the child would write something weird on drawing room wall or the child would play basketball in the kitchen.

Many a times, the same child would create something which nobody else had ever created. May it be so little or of no value in the physical world, but a creation is a creation.

Act matters.

Often, reasons are self-imposed, or based on others’ experiences which we have heard and based our reasoning – sense of what’s right and what’s wrong – onto that.

In other words, reasons are sources of limitations. Actually, there’s nothing wrong in being reasonable, except the fact that being reasonable is a not so powerful tool to create the future you want.

Being reasonable offers you a sense of predictability and safety.

Predictability is the enemy of creativity. It would be interesting to reflect on what Bernard Shaw said:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adopt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

If you’re trying to create something that will make a difference, choose to be unreasonable.”

And of course, let us come back to the fact that when all is said and done, person in the leadership role has the, at least, moral responsibility to attain what is “good” for the  Purpose of the Organization over longer term of the Organization’s life span. Mark Bennet  ,in his post, Sustainable Means More Than Recycling, brings out the issue in a new light:

“Think in terms that go beyond simply making your organization “a great place to work”, or “an environmentally friendly company”, or “good for society”, or “making the best product or service” – those can be just as narrow as “best risk/return record in the industry” if viewed as siloed, separate things.

Think instead about how all the pieces do fit together – how customers value your products/services is affected by your impact on the earth’s resources and environment, what your employees think about what their work means affects delivering a superior return to your investors across all that they value. These factors all interact in the outside world, as more people are beginning to understand, so your organization must also determine how it fits into that web of interaction.

An excellent book that focuses on the “how” with well-researched examples, is “Management Reset” by Ed Lawler and Chris Worley. It describes what the authors refer to as “Sustainably Managed Organizations”, in contrast to the long-standing “Command and Control Organizations” and the more recent “High Involvement Organization.”

Sustainably Managed Organizations (SMOs) weave together all the aspects of the organizations relationships with economic, social, and environmental stakeholders (not just “shareholders.”) They break out their approach to how SMOs operate into the major components that every organization must attend to if it really wants to achieve any meaningful change: Strategy, Structure, Talent, and Culture.

Leadership is needed in all four of these components if the change effort is to have a chance of success. Most of all, leadership can have the largest positive impact through talent – the way people are treated, and culture – how behavior is guided…if it would only put the needed focus there.

Think about it – the places where organizations have gone off the rails and landed in the headlines on topics such as corruption, environmental disaster, and financial collapse of outrageous origin have been due in large part to culture and how certain behaviors were encouraged, tolerated, or rationalized.

Now think about how those negative outcomes affected the broader set of investors and their future decisions regarding those organizations.

We’re way past getting by with “Our people are our most important asset.” Organizations must now be able to explain how they manage their talent to generate value and create superior business performance – most of all to their people. Executives must be the primary talent managers, understanding how the workforce capabilities enable/constrain strategic options and impact execution.

Think what can happen when leadership is focused on how they manage talent and shape behaviors to the same extent it is focused on strategy and structure.”

We end our this tour of the carnival with the definitive listing of 10 key qualities of effective staff officers (equally applies to great leaders)by Michael Wade [of Execupundit.com]

The effective staff officer exhibits the following:

  1. Honesty. Important information is not hidden, filtered or distorted. It is surfaced in a manner that will gain the necessary attention and the analysis is not weighted with a bias against other viewpoints.
  2. Initiative. Matters that require attention are promptly addressed. Deference is given to the proper procedures and areas of responsibility but subjects are not allowed to languish. Problems and questions are anticipated and addressed early on.
  3. Discretion. Words and behavior that cast doubt on the professionalism and integrity of the work unit are strictly off-limits.
  4. Openness. Rank is not unduly invoked. Concerns and objections are carefully considered. Options are not manipulated to produce a rigged result.
  5. Knowledge. The procedures, substance, and needs of the job are known. That knowledge is never static.
  6. Judgment. Excellent decision making skills are combined with wisdom and good old common sense.
  7. Urgency. Making things move is not enough. They must move in the right direction. Continually restoring the status quo is not acceptable.
  8. Intuition. Spotting problems and sensing when something is not quite right is vital. Attention is paid to both the tangible and the intangible.
  9. Coordination. Proper roles are respected and the deft coordination of those roles is standard.
  10. Humility. There is a keen appreciation of when to speak up, when to back off, and when to be silent.

We carry the message of legendary Pele – “Everything is Practice” – as a memento of   comprehensive tour of the Carnival.

The CHANGE…. as can be seen…..@ April,2012 edition of Leadership Development Carnival, hosted by Shri Tanmay Vora

April, 2012 edition of Leadership Development Carnival, hosted by Shri Tanmay Vora  has also not missed the perennial feature of any major discussions on leadership development – CHANGE.

We begin our sojourn of Change by first looking at “The Adaptability Paradox” – the difficulty we have as leaders staying current and ‘learning through’ the change.

The author, Linda Fisher Thornton, talks to us “about how difficult it can be to change when we have been successfully doing something the same way for a long time.

The well worn path that we have followed for years is easy to follow. We know the rules, the processes, the tools, the pitfalls and all other aspects of that path.

Our comfort with that path makes it harder for us to see that even though the ‘way we have always done things’ has led us to success in the past, it may not in the future.

Sometimes the familiarity of the well worn path makes it harder for us to see what’s changing around us. And even if we do see changes, we have to choose to adapt to them. One element that makes it difficult for us to easily embrace change is the time involved in learning new ways of doing things.

The paradox is this – When I adapt to change, it will be MORE DIFFICULT short term and also EASIER long term.”  She calls this as “The Adaptability Paradox”.

“Initially, we must accept that it will be more difficult as we learn new tools, skills and approaches. Long-term, our productivity will increase and it will be easier for us to get work done. When we learn through the changes, our lives and work become EASIER because we are approaching them in new successful ways – with new thinking, new tools, new information and new skills.

Here are some of the warning signs that our skills are becoming outdated:

  • People are routinely using terminology we don’t know
  • It is becoming more difficult to get things done the way we’ve always done them
  • People are not seeking out our input the way they used to
  • Coworkers are adapting to new approaches and are more productive than we are
  • There are new studies, books and articles being mentioned that we haven’t read
  • There is free technology for improving efficiency in our line of business that we aren’t using
  • We feel out of the loop somehow but can’t quite figure out why

If we miss the signs of change (or if we see the signs but do not adapt), our skills become outdated fast – just as fast as the speed of change.

When a change in the world, our world, becomes a change we’ve ignored, then by doing nothing, we are actively choosing the more difficult path in the long run.”

This leads us to the next logical step, and also the article of the Carnival: Are You Ready for Change? In this article Guy Farmer first indentifies “signs that you or your organization may not be quite ready for change:

  • Leaders and employees emphasize how things have always been done.
  • It takes a long time for any new idea to be considered.
  • Leadership doesn’t listen to suggestions or a variety of perspectives.
  • Decisions have always been made by the same individuals or group.
  • Leaders view change as admitting failure or as a threat to their authority.
  • Leadership is happy with the culture of the company but nobody else is.
  • The prevailing leadership style is reactive and focused on the past.
  • Change is only discussed as a negative or something to be avoided.”

He then lists “Signs that you’re ready for change:

  • Leaders and employees are open to doing things differently.
  • New ideas are entertained and considered promptly.
  • Leadership is open to suggestions and varying perspectives.
  • Independent decision-making is encouraged at every level.
  • Leaders see change as an opportunity to grow and lead more effectively.
  • People work together to build a culture that benefits everyone.
  • The preferred leadership style is proactive and forward-looking.
  • Change is openly talked about and used as a tool for progress.”

So “Is your approach to change more like the first list or the second? … When you resist change, you’ll likely find yourself dreading anything that’s different and scrambling to put out fires and stifling progress. If you invite change, you’ll enjoy dealing with the challenges that come your way and building workplaces that’s flexible and agile.”

We thus proceed to Blanchard’s culture guru S. Chris Edmonds’ article “Leaders, Change What You Pay Attention To”, where he shares a ‘best practice’ recommendation: “leaders must change what they notice. Every day.” while taking up the required culture change.

The “culture change model requires that companies be very disciplined in setting expectations on two fronts: performance and values.” He notes that in most organizations, the leadership does work hard enough to enhance the performance clarityHowever, the importance of value clarity seems to be overlooked.

“Most leaders in organizations have been trained to look at performance metrics. Organizational systems have been designed and refined to present up-to-the-moment data about performance metrics. Those metrics typically include:

  • Widgets out the door
  • Quality of products and services
  • Financials, including revenue, expenses, and net profits
  • Waste, scrap, and/or recovery
  • Labor costs
  • Raw materials costs
  • Market share
  • Customer satisfaction

“These are important metrics to track as they all contribute to or erode financial success and the long-term viability of the enterprise.

“However, they are not the ONLY metrics leaders must observe closely. And, suggesting that leaders spend 50% of their time and attention on things OTHER than performance metrics causes consternation (and worse).

“Why? Most leaders have not experienced an organizational culture that requires values alignment as well as high performance. Without relevant role models or “on the job” training for managing values AND performance, organizational leaders don’t know what to “do differently” to do those things effectively.

“The leaders need to Pay Attention to Value Metrics, Too. These values metrics provide insights into how well the employee population believes that their company trusts, respects, and honors them, day in and day out.

  • Employee morale
    Do employees believe the company is a good place to work? Do they recommend that others work there (or stay away)? Do employees apply discretionary energy to their work tasks and opportunities?
  • Employee perceptions of the company’s culture
    Do employees believe that the organization has their best interests at heart? Does the corporate culture enable staff to share hopes and dreams about the future? Are they happy about working in the company?
  • Employee perceptions of the company’s leaders
    Do employees believe leaders are credible, behave with integrity? Do employees believe what leaders tell them? Do employees rally around leaders during times of stress or do they disconnect?

“How do you measure traction in these metrics? Wander around your workplace. Ask questions. Listen. Conduct regular employee surveys. Hold leaders and staff for values expectations.

“To free up time, energy, and space to observe these values metrics, leaders must delegate some of what they’ve been doing to stay on top of performance metrics to trusted, talented staff. Very capable staff are ready to provide data that enables leaders to keep track of performance standards and accountability.

“Great bosses create safe and positive workplace that inspires high performance and values alignment.”

The secret to creating a sustainable business that creates passionate employees who exceed performance standards and consistently wow your customers is embedded in the graphic the “Performance Values Matrix”, at left, in the Blanchard’s culture change model.

This model comes from Jack Welch, who, while President/CEO of General Electric, was the first corporate senior leader to formally hold leaders and managers in his organization accountable for both performance and values.

“To make your company values measurable and actionable, follow these steps to define your values in behavioral terms.

  1. For each value, brainstorm potential behaviors that you’d be PROUD to see all staff demonstrate when they’re modeling this value.
  2. Cull through the behaviors to reduce the list to three to five behaviors per value.
  3. For each behavior, define three key measures: “exceeds standard,” “meets standard,” and “needs improvement.”
  4. Test these measurements with key players throughout the organization.

5.    Survey entire organization using your custom values assessment, twice each year. Publish results throughout the organization in as many ways as necessary to ensure all staff know how the organization is doing with the goal of “modeling our values.””

We, thus, had great pleasure at looking in great, verbatim details, each of the articles on the subject of CHANGE in the present April 2012 edition of Leadership Development Carnival. The adaptability [to the Change]has in-built inherent paradox, understanding which gives a clear perspective to our readiness for the Change. All, and any, change, in the ultimate analysis call for building up safe and positive workplace that inspires high performance and values alignment.