Standardized work for executive leadership

M.L. Emiliani (School of Technology, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The purpose of this paper is to describe common errors made by business leaders as the foundation of a new approach for improving leadership capabilities and effectiveness. Introduces the concept and practice “standardized work” to the duties of executive‐level leadership.


This paper utilizes a qualitative approach coupled with deductive reasoning and empirical data from the management practitioner community.


A practical framework for implementing standardized work can be created in relation to the strategic and day‐to‐day tasks of executive leadership by providing a new definition of leadership, a precise description of business principles, and a standard skill set for executives.

Research limitations/implications

This proposal for applying standardized work to the role of executive leadership has not been validated in actual business conditions, though similar concepts have been in effect at some large corporations for decades, with varying degrees of success.

Practical implications

Many of the same types of errors are repeated over generations of leaders. Most of these errors can be eliminated if executive leadership will practice the proposed standardized work.


This paper contributes to the literature and to leadership practice by introducing the concept “standardized work” to the duties of executive‐level leadership and providing a framework for its application that can aid in the long‐term success of organizations through generations of leaders.



Emiliani, M. (2008), "Standardized work for executive leadership", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 24-46.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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