The Leadership Imperative -
On the gaps in performance:
It is relatively easy to identify the gap between what you have now and what
you know you must have. What needs to be done can be seen clearly. It’s how
to do it that is the challenge.
On having the worst of both worlds:
Larger competitors can out-muscle us. In head to head competition they can
out-advertise us, out-price us and put us out of business. Smaller local and
regional competitors can out-perform us in terms of superior service and quality,
and can out-hustle us in the local markets. We are too big to have the advantages
of the smaller competitors, and too small to have the advantages of the bigger
ones. We are therefore very vulnerable.
On the fruitless search for the ‘fix’:
The awful truth is that there is no perfect outside ‘fix’. Each person and
every organization must write their own unique ‘cookbook’.
On the misguided attempts to ‘fix them’:
Leaders do things to ‘fix’ the organization and the people in it. Much of
their self worth comes from their personal singular accomplishments. Creating
the agenda and then motivating ‘them’ - perpetuates the self fulfilling prophecy.
I got what I wanted, but I need something different now:
I built this place, I set it up, they were my brilliant strategies, my innovative
product ideas, my customer service mentalities. If I was personally responsible
for all the good ‘stuff’ of the past success, I am also responsible for what
I am getting right now. If it isn’t working right, right now, it’s my responsibility.
My not-so-brilliant decisions, the structures and practices I put into place,
and my style and needs as the leader are causing the effects that frustrate
me today. If I want different results, I have to change the way I lead.
On the fallacy of ordering change:
It is difficult for loyal and committed ‘soldiers’ to meet new expectations
immediately. They’ve been trained one way and now you expect them to behave
another way. Making the same decisions you would in a situation is more of
the same - since everyone knows you like your decisions better than anyone
else’s. Change takes time.
What am I about to do that is probably wrong?
Instinctive reactions, based on past learning and especially past success,
can lead to great difficulty when the current reality is different. Instinctive
reactions, which got you to where you are now, will not get you to where you
need to go from here.
Success is often the enemy:
Yesterday’s success can compromise the work that is necessary to meet tomorrow’s
challenges. What we want to become is the ticket as opposed to what we were
or even what we are.
On the ‘visioning’ of leaders:
Leaders are responsible to develop a vision. Leaders take the responsibility
to implement it. Leaders ‘empower’ their people to use the vision. The fundamental
mind set of leaders having the responsibility for performance creates the
self limiting cycle where performers are not responsible for their performance.
The solution is to turn it upside down.
On how to be an effective leader:
Become a more effective leader by increasing the effectiveness of the people
The Leadership Imperative is a series on self directed action inspired
by the work of James Belasco and Ralph Stayer in The Flight of the Buffalo,
Warner Books, New York, 1994.
Sidorowicz is the Publisher and Editor of The
CEO Refresher and
the Minister of Culture of High
Many more articles in The Leadership Imperative
in The CEO Refresher Archives