The mark of a winner
Post on 15-Jun-2016
The Mark fi B Y N O E L M . T I C H Y
W hat separates winning organizations h m the also-rans? I have spent 25 years studying both winners and losers h m the inside out for an answer. Not surprisingly winning organizations share certain financial attributes. Companies consistently ranked in the top quartile of the S&P 500 maintain annual revenue growth of 12 percent, and a 16 percent operating return on assets, according to Columbia University Business School professor Larry Selden. By contrast, gains achieved by simply slashing payroll and expense (call for Al Dunlap) are seldom sus- tained in the long run. Likewise, erstwhile winners who f d to keep pace with change and thereby destroy billions of dollars in shareholder value are severely punished (call for John Akers of IBM, Bob Stempel of GM, James Robinson of American Express, Kay Whitmore of Kodak . . . ). The early 1990s were a watershed moment in busi- ness, when these and other corporate leaders were sent home for poor leadershlp.
At the same time, several companies have been setting new records for financial per- formance, enriching shareholders, building communities, and providing greater oppor- tunities for employees. companies like General Electric, AlliedSignal, PepsiCo, Intel, and others are led by men and women who personally and methodically nurture the development of other leaders, at all levels of the organization. Even if you, as a leader, are smart enough to anticipate and prepare for massive economic and social shifis, you cannot respond to the ground-level demands of the moment without the energy, com- mitment, and ability of people throughout the organization. Effective leaders recog- nize that the ultimate test of leadership is sustained success, whlch demands the constant cultivation of hture leaders.
This has important implications for the work you do every day. For one thing, a l l the money your organization invests in leadership development-usudy the province of outside trainers and consultants-means little without an equal investment of your
Copyight 1997 Noel M. Tichy
24 Leader to Leader
own time and effort. Yet the benefits of investing your time will accrue to you as well as to your organization.
If long-term success requires more leaders at more lev- els than your competitors, then teaching, coaching, and cultivating others becomes a strategic imperative for senior executives. For example, during the first 18 months of his tenure as CEO of AUiedSig- nal, Larry Bossidy put all 86,000 employ- ees through a development program he helped design. He spoke to 15,000 people the first year-presenting his vision, ex- plaining markets and strategies, engagmg in debate-in short, teaching. In the process he helped increase the market value of his company 400 percent in the past s i x years. Likewise Andy Grove at Intel, Jack Welch at GE and Gary Wendt at GE Capital, Roger Enrico at PepsiCo, Lew Platt at Hewlett-Packard, Bill Pollard at Service- Master, and hundreds of other business, community, military, and religious leaders understand that their success depends on others, and that leading and teaching are inextricable. They spend hundreds of hours a year working with their colleagues- sometimes just 5 or 10 at time-to share ideas, identlfy needs, and develop hands-on business expertise.
Three Keys for Leading
he ability to develop the leadership of T others requires three things: a teach- able point of view, a story for your organization, and a well-defined methodology for teaching and coaching.
Teachable point ofview. To succeed as a leader you must be able to articulate a defining position for your orga- nization.You must be able to talk clearly and convinc-
ingly about who you are, why you exist, and how you operate. This means you need to have ideas on products, services, distribution channels, customers, and growth. These ideas need to be supported by a value system that the leader articulates, exemplifies, and enforces.
But you also need something I call e-cubed: emotional energy and edge. Winning leaders seem to naturally generate positive emotional energy in others. They also have the edge to face reality and make tough yes-or-no decisions. That is your unique burden-not to call in consultants or convene a task force, but at crucial moments, when forced to act quickly, to make the difficult choices only you can make. It often makes you the most unpopular person in the organization, which is why those who need to be liked are seldom effective leaders-at least not during times of crisis. But leadership is the abllity to see things as they really are and to mobilize an appropriate response. You can only make those decisions and engender that response if you have clear ideas and values. All three components of leader- ship-good ideas, appropriate values, posi- tive energy and edge-are part of the package you present to those you hope to develop.
Living stories. The basic cognitive form in which people organize their thinking is the narrative story. Individuals, families, organi- zations, communities, and nations all have
tales that help make sense of themselves and the world. There are three kinds of stories that leaders can tell. Theres the who 1 am story in whch leaders describe themselves. Roberto Goizueta, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, often talks about his early experiences: being forced to leave Castros Cuba and
start over in a new country with $40 in cash and 100 shares of Coca-Cola stock. He tells stories of how as a young boy he would spend days reading and talking with his grandfather, Marcelo, who had founded a sugar and real estate empire. Marcelos lessons on the impor- tance of cash and simplicity, among other virtues, still guide Goizueta decades later. I am a great believer in cash flow, he says. Earnings is a man-made conven- tion, but cash is cash. The larger the company is, the less it understands cash flow.
Theres the who we are story, in which you articulate for your constituents what their identity is. Chairman and CEO Phil Knights stories at Nike are all about winning. He named the company after the Greek goddess of victory. He uses his
fold in 15 years; no business leader in hstory has done a better job of growing shareholder value. Goizueta has done this by hiring managers who are entrepreneurs and risk takers-and by findmg a way to energize peo- ple about the story of the company. He reminds people that the human body requires 64 ounces of liq- uid each day, and that on average Coke provides just two of those ounces. His message to the troops is clear: lets get going. Further, Goizueta puts individual man- agers at the center of h s stories. The best managers are those who walk into a building and see not where Coke is but where it isnt. It is this ability to find
opportunity, he tells his listen- ers, that will make the com- pany a winner in the future.
Dramatic storytelling is the way people learn from, and connect
stories of competing as a runner Dramatic sto y t e l l i n . with, one another. That is why - - to explain the thrill of competi- CEOs-Bdl Gates, Andy Grove,
Bill Pollard-write books. It is tion and winning. Nlke is not a is the iuay people learn company to him. It is a vehicle from one another. more for the benefit of their
for furthering the aspirations of customers, famous and un- known. His message-that every employee helps customers to be winners-helps to create an organization in which every- one knows what they are aiming for and what the com- pany represents.
But the most important leadership tale is the where we are going story. Martin Luther Kings I Have a Dream speech mobilized energy around powerful images of social equality-black and white children holding hands in a transformed world.
Winning business leaders use the power of storytelling as effectively as our most gifted public leaders. Goizueta has increased the market value of his company thirty-
constituents than for the general public.
Teaching methodology. To be a great teacher you have to be a great learner. Most effective
teachers-and leaders-will tell you that they grow as much as those they teach and lead. The process of teaching can be quite simple; it starts with having a conscious system for interacting with people. Jack Welch, for instance, spends a half-day every couple of weeks teaching, wrestling with issues, and challenging his people at Crotonville, GEs leadership development center. Rear Admiral Ray Smith visits graduating classes of the Navy SEAL underwater demolition pro- grams, and participates in the same physical training as SEAL. candidates halfhs age. Larry Bossidy writes two- or three-page letters to the heads of all AlliedSignals
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businesses afier every strategy session, operating review, and people review.
You must be methodical but not mechanical in your approach to teaching. To make a Werence, you must have the self-confidence to be vulnerable to others; you need to share your mistakes and doubts as well as your accomplishments. When Roger Enrico, for instance, goes off-site with 10 of his senior executives for five days, hes not afiaid to reveal himself. He cannot hide behind his position. Its one thing for a CEO to come in, deliver a canned speech to a training class, and escape. You cant live with your troops off-site for five days, 16 hours a day, and be anything but genuine. Phonies and martinets d be found out by the end of day one.
through resistance. Implicitly, we know what good leadership is, and people in all walks of Me can become more motivated to work on leadership by remember- ing when they felt proud, when theyd been in a tough situation where they could lead.
owever, if you ask me, as a coach, to simply repeat H this exercise throughout your organization in lieu of you, the leader, shanng your own values, ideas, and sto- nes with people, you ate probably wasting their time and your money. Outside consultants-and I am one-are the last people who can develop the long-term leader- ship talent in your orgatllzation. That is the job of rec-
ognized leaders, with a proven record of success, who work with their colleagues every day.
m The current conventional wis- dom in leadership development programs is to develop a set of competencies for what a good leader is and then figure out a
Developing leadership talent is the job
of leaders themselves.
Learning to Teach rticulating your ideas and A values, developing a teach-
able point of view, and develop- m
ing stories that bring your views to life are all learnable skills. For instance, in helping people I work with develop stories about their experiences, I often ask them to think about a time in your Me when you made some- thing happen through other people that wouldnt have happened without you. Run the video of your life and pick the proudest moment youve had as a leader. It could be a church, community, athletic, or work activ- ity, but I have yet to find somebody who doesnt have a proud moment. If you ask people to pair up and tell their story to someone else, and then talk about why it was an example of good leadership, they all uncover some basic tenets of leadership: I had a vision. I per- sisted. I embodied in my own actions the message I was trying to create. I was able to enroll people. I fought
way to develop people around those competencies. At the end of the day the competencies that get developed in these pro- grams look pretty sdar-hav-
ing integrity, building trust, demonstrating towering competence, knowing how to overcome resistance. . . . Whats missing is the leaders themselves teaching col- leagues, not leaving the teaching to others or talking about somebody elses values. People want their leader to look them in the eye and say, Here is where our company is going and here is what we need f?om lead- ers in order to get there.
Practice What You Teach he military has understood this for years. After the T end of the Cold War, General Wayne Downing
transformed the mission, training, and appraisal of the elite Special Operations Forces. He could change the mind-set of his troops fiom Rambo-like warrior to quiet professional because he had credibility. The cred- ibility came &om living his personal ideas and values (which he developed as a Special Operations Forces offi- cer in Vietnam) and bringing to life the story of where SOF was heading. Admiral Smith, in his mid-50s, is out there the last week of SEAL training doing the physical training and explaining to recruits the importance of what theyre doing. R e b o u s institutions have been clear on this approach to pastoral training. Medical educators know that you cannot put a professor in the operating room to demonstrate surgical techniques.You need someone who has hands-on expertise, credibility, and a teachable point
Leaders of traditional, hierarchical organizations dont get those kind of opportunities. In short, to compete in the 21st century, leaders need to build not just a learn- ing organization but a teaching organization-one with the capacity to build leaders-into the fabric of the or- ganization. They need to create an environment where leaders are teaching leaders.
Making Training Pay
ost leadership training springs h m the question, M Are leaders born or made?-and is designed to prove that the latter is the correct answer. Its an age-
old-and essentially pointless- debate. Its like asking whether athletes are made or born. The answer is. obviouslv. both. With ,, m
of view about how to develop others capabilities. That doesnt
coaching, commitment, hard work, there isnt any group of There is a role for
mean there is no role for profes- people who couldnt improve their ability to play tennis, golf, sors and consultants, but it does professors and consultants-
mean there is not a leading role for them.
but not a leading role. or basketball. There arent many however, who are going to be
When Andy Grove shares with new hires his ideas about where the industry is going, he is learn- ing and teaching. The young engineers know fir more then he does about some of the current technology. They have ideas that he has not even considered. By being in class with those new hires, he bypasses layers of hierarchy; the closer the hierarchy gets to him, the more it thinks like him. So Grove has developed his own pipeline to get new ideas. At the same time, Grove is teaching the engi- neers based on his experience of decades at Intel-both his successes and his failures. He is teachmg the engineers about Intel and its industry so that they can channel their ideas. To spread learning throughout the organization, Grove asks other experienced managers to teach-and bases part of their bonus on whether or not they do.
world-class performers. The same with leadership. Any orga- nization that takes the time to get more leadership out of peo-
ple is going to be far ahead of its competitors. Are all managers candidates for the top job? Of course not. But can they be a lot better than they are now? Absolutely. We can all hone our ideas and better articulate our val- ues and improve our capacity for making yes-no deci- sions. So its worth the effort to develop everybody.
Losing organizations make the mistake of handicapping their field of potential leaders and investing their train- ing and development resources only in those they think will go furthest. Inevitably, they pass over a lot of tal- ent. Winning organizations often bet their hunches, too, but they typically wait longer to do it. They look
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at broad leadership skills, not just success with particu- lar projects. And, most important, they continue to invest in the development of everyone else, including those they dont expect to rise to the top. Winning companies more inclusive approach helps get the best out of everyone-and keeps late bloomers and maver- icks contributing long after others might have written them off.
Leaders who invest themselves personally in the pro- cess of developing hture leaders are also building the most precious of organizational assets. The long-term success of leaders cannot be measured by whether they win today or tomorrow. The measure of their success will be whether or not their company is still winning 15 years fiom now, when a new generation of leaders has taken over.
The New Way of Leadershp
Leaders of winning organizations use ideas, values, emotional energy, and edge to help develop future leaders throughout the enterprise. Winning leaders combine a teachable point of view with a special fom on and personal role in the
development of others. Here is how the new dimensions of leadership diger from the old.
I Old Way New Way Coaching is on day-to-day problems rather than on larger business issues. Development programs are theoretical, based on cases taught by professors.
Leaders proclaim organizational values, which are often superficial messages for the masses.
IDEAS Coaching is based on the leaders own ideas, challenging people to create their own points of view. Development programs are practical, based on real business issues.
Leaders help people integrate their personal values with the values of the workplace-and explain the paradoxes when values collide.
Programs are ongoing-leaders teaching underlying hmeworks for motivation.
Leaders themselves help people tackle such dilemmas as what to do with people who do not meet performance or values standards.
Leadership focuses on hard and soft issues and on personal leadership stories.
Senior executives are active participants, lead- ing all or substantial portions of leadership
ENERGY Programs deliver a sugar high-by the time people return to work, its gone.
Professional trainers focus on time manage- ment and priority setting, not on tough decision making.
Leadership focuses on a collection of t e c h c d skills in strategy, finance, and so on.
Senior executives sponsor development programs, parading in and out of them periodically. development programs.
SENIOR EXECUTIVE ROLE
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