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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
"Quick takes" presents the key points and action steps contained in each of the feature articles. Catherine Gorrell prepares these summaries.
Page 4Winning cultures for the new economyMark D. Youngblood
Our entire economy is experiencing a quantum shift. The rules for success are changing, putting some of today's most successful companies at risk.
Classical management emphasizes efficiency, uniformity, control, predictability, and economies of scale. These principles, which are based on a mechanistic model, have been ingrained in the systems, organization structures, values, and assumptions of our culture. The emerging economy, on the other hand, rewards agility, innovation and vitality. These attributes require a quantum culture that is based on an organic model.
A quantum culture differs from a classical culture in three key dimensions:
Renewal. If leaders in the industrial era can be likened to mechanics who keep the organizational machine working efficiently, leaders of quantum organizations would be gardeners who cultivate the organization's innate creative capabilities. By leveraging disruptions (such as the Internet or mergers), leaders can create an environment where radical innovation leads to the renewal needed to achieve the strategic vision.
Agility. Quantum organizations achieve agility through self-organization or "bounded instability." They create alignment around a clear and compelling vision, strategy and goals, and then generate adaptability by providing people with the freedom and resources that they need to act quickly and responsively. Quantum organizations also exhibit a high level of cooperation among people and groups, both within the company and with other companies.
Vitality. Vitality (energy, power and vigor) is essential to competitiveness: it affects everything the company does and is. Cultivating vitality requires a basic shift in how companies think about people. People are not a company's greatest assets – they are the company!
Companies must make renewal, agility and vitality pervasive competencies – as pervasive as "quality" was in the 1980s. Just as quality became the entry price for playing the business game in the last decade, renewal, agility and vitality will soon be the entry price for playing in the new game. Are you willing to do what it takes to make sure that your company will still be playing?
Page 11A new neuroscience of leadership: bringing out more of the best in peopleRobert K. Cooper
Long-term studies have shown that 70 percent of workers quit their bosses, not their jobs. To be effective in today's complex and changing world, managers need new insights and skills that up-end conventional thinking about human potential, trust, energy, initiative and commitment.
In today's organizations, people are being asked to be more innovative and more committed and to work harder. But it will not happen unless leaders change what they are doing and how they are doing it.
Neuroscience holds the key to accomplishing these goals. We now know that intelligence is distributed throughout the body. When a person has a direct experience (such as interacting with a person or facing a challenge or opportunity), information comes in through the five senses and enters the nervous system. The old belief was that this input went directly to the brain, where a behavioral response was shaped. The new findings show that sensory input goes first to the gut brain, then to the heart brain, and lastly to the head brain.
Balancing the input of these three brains is key. Needless struggles emerge when the head operates alone. We have to feel what matters in order to live or lead in a way that matters.
Exceptional leaders help ordinary people accomplish extraordinary results by developing and applying an energizing, authentic level of intelligence and bringing it to everything they do. Practical places to start include:
Tap all of your sources of wisdom and insight, not just one. When faced with an important moment, ask, "What does my gut say about this? My heart? My head?" Listen to all three streams of intelligence before you act. This practice will not slow your ability to make on-the-spot decisions; rather, it will deepen and improve such decisions.
Make sure your words are consistent with what you feel inside. When people hear something that seems at odds with what the speaker is really feeling, nearly everyone instantly bets on the feelings.
Recognize others for each effort – genuinely, specifically and individually. Research shows that performance is higher when people are given frequent, sincere encouragement.
If we operate with the old mindsets, assuming that the traditional beliefs about motivation and work relationships are correct, we are wasting large amounts of energy, time and money – and falling short of the results we could achieve.
Page 16Genuine and counterfeit leadership: the root causes and cures of human capital flightJohn D. Ingalls
Corporate leaders want to be winners. They want their companies to be winners, too. Yet their behavior can lead to outcomes that may be inherently destructive to an organization's culture and, by extension, its success. In today's job market, workers have a choice of company to work for. If a company culture is unsatisfying or its strategies unproductive, workers may leave for "greener pastures."
The stress, anxiety and the pressures of the fast-paced business environment will inevitably push anyone toward dysfunctional behavior. However, a leader who makes a poor or unsuitable adaptation to stress loses the ability to be a genuine leader and becomes, instead, a counterfeit version. To become a genuine leader, a person must understand the dichotomy between a leader's wants and needs and the importance of achieving a balance between these two drives:
Genuine leaders want control, power, clarity, creativity, opportunity and unity.
Genuine leaders need self-discipline, energy, structure, vision, courage and caring.
Genuine leaders work consistently to develop conditions that enable people to get what they want. By being dynamic, persistent, resourceful, progressive, trustworthy and constructive, these leaders also strengthen the effectiveness of their organizations.
Counterfeit leaders, on the other hand, tend to operate in ways that are manipulative instead of truly developmental. These behaviors include being intimidating, coercive, cunning, belligerent, betraying and dogmatic – the psychological opposites of the winning behaviors of the genuine leader.
To assess and/or improve your personal leadership style, follow these steps:
Take time for personal reflection after reviewing the full text of this article.
Review your Myers-Briggs personality type (a related construct) and that type's particular vulnerabilities.
Follow Carl Jung's injunction to actively seek to develop all aspects of your psyche.
Form a reciprocal coaching arrangement with a trusted friend to work on these issues.
Although it may take vigilance and practice, genuine leaders have demonstrated their ability to learn how to balance their personal wants and needs, which is essential to their being able to propel their organizations to continuing success.
Page 23Invisible management, visible results: a personal storyPhilip C. Stine
What does it take to be a manager? In practical, day-to-day terms, most people with that title do not really know. Many are lifted from the ranks of technical workers, told they are managers, perhaps given some objectives, and left on their own.
From personal experience, the author concludes that a manager performs best like an invisible umbrella, sheltering those who do the work from the storms above and providing the best possible environment for them to get the job done. Specific suggestions include:
Give staff a vision. There is great power in striving beyond today's tasks to achieve something more. A vision is key to helping the staff to see that they can achieve a greater level of success.
Give staff specific goals. Setting and communicating clear and specific goals increases staff members' interest in their work and their ability to reach their goals successfully.
Tell people why their work is important. If the work is worth doing, the people doing it need to know that. They want a reason to have pride in their work. They need to know how their work relates to what others are doing and how it achieves something worthwhile.
Assign tasks that are doable. Large goals can seem unfeasible but become more manageable when divided into a series of doable tasks. The desired end is reached as these tasks are completed one by one.
Show respect to all staff. Managing well requires using people to their fullest ability, and that means respecting them for their skills and individuality.
Be mindful of the ethos. Hire only those people who will fit into your culture.
Give people the tools to do the job. If people are to succeed, they must have the equipment, funds and training they need.
Refuse to be trapped by the rules – put people first. When people feel valued, they perform better and are less likely to be managerial problems.
Work as a team. Everyone must understand the impact his or her work has on the success of other individuals and the organization as a whole.
Plan ahead to avoid crises. Invite staff participation; staff members often see an issue before the manager does.
None of these actions requires special training, skills or brilliance. They do require awareness and a desire to be an excellent manager with the rewards of respect, appreciation and a productive, smooth-functioning work environment.
Page 28High-performing, loyal employees: the real way to implement strategyJoseph F. Michlitsch
It is ironic that, although most companies state that their employees are their "most important asset," their leadership continues to focus on only some of its employees – managers. As managers are given special treatment when it comes to bonuses, stock options, and perquisites, a "them and us" attitude becomes embedded in the company's culture.
This kind of culture creates severe disconnect between intent and action. Giving special attention to those who devise and direct the company's goals and strategies focuses on only a portion of the competitive challenge. It is the employees – all of them – who will implement the strategy.
The importance of high-performing, loyal employees is demonstrated by such successful companies as Southwest Airlines, Federal Express, and Dell Computer. Cultivating loyal employees who serve customers well is proven to be financially sound:
One study showed that over 50 percent of surveyed businesses believe that poor customer service and lost customers were the result of not being able to attract and retain the right people.
According to 80 percent of managers in another study, attracting and retaining people will be the No. 1 issue in strategy by 2010 as human performance becomes more important than productivity and technology in the new economy.
Over 50 percent of workers in a third study said they would leave their jobs for a 20 percent pay increase.
If high-performing, loyal employees are a strategic necessity, how can business leaders build this kind of workforce?:
Develop and implement a clear and appropriate mission and strategy.
Select and train employees to develop and inspire a workforce of competent and productive employees.
Create a company culture in which egalitarianism and fun break down the barriers between people.
Communicate effectively. An individual without information cannot take responsibility.
Align rewards to goals to reinforce desired performances. Stock options may be important to some, while others would rather have recognition.
High-performing, committed employees who can and do serve customers well are enormously valuable to your company. Taking actions to attract, motivate and retain them is an essential strategy in the new economy.