Previously I posted, Fantastic Book: “How” to Generate Universal Benefits to provide my initial thoughts on Dov Siedman’s book, “How: Why HOW You Do Anything Means Everything. Next I posted, More About “HOW” to Generate Universal Benefits that discussed some of the findings from their study of 16,000 companies. I strongly recommend both. This post is about “HOW” the highest performing organizations lead.
Their results suggest better behaviors result from a focus on what “should” be done, rather than what “can” be done. With regard to leadership, their research indicated that leaders help shape Self-Governing Organizations.
Leadership plays a role because their findings indicate that Governance and Culture are a reflection of leadership. Further they explain, there are 3 Ways to get people to act: Coercion, Motivation, or Inspiration.
- Coercion & Motivation happen TO YOU and come from without
- Inspiration happens IN YOU so it comes from within
Generations of managers have developed the practices and habits to manage with coercion and motivation. Their findings suggest that those ways are not enough anymore. Today inspirational leadership is needed because:
- Formal authority is decaying and moral authority is gaining potency
- Long-term thinking is needed
- To do this, leaders must separate from day to day pressures
- Success is related to a re-connection with purpose and values
Key Behaviors of Inspirational Leadership discovered in their findings suggest that inspirational leaders must have Scaling Values, Pursue Significance, have Heightened Consciousness & should be Fostering Freedom. Their research indicated that leaders who had these behaviors outperformed others. My understanding of what each of these behaviors are and what they mean are explained below:
- Scaling Values: Leaders do this by holding themselves accountable to a set of standards and instilling a deep commitment to values by:
- Sharing stories that exemplify how these values come to life
- Hold themselves accountable to organizations values
- Explain the role of values when they make key decisions
- Publicly admit mistakes
- Pursuing Significance: Leaders do this by enlisting all employees in a commitment to a shared purpose and an inspired mission that speaks to them as individuals. They do this to ignite their passion, and they unifie them in meaningful endeavors by:
- Providing a clear vision and mission
- Regularly pause to discuss the organizations purpose
- Make everyone feel an essential part of the organizations purpose
- Identify ways for the organization to renew and fulfill its purpose
- Heightened Consciousness: Leaders to this to build health in their relationships. Sustainable interdependency and connectedness among employees, partners, and stakeholders, extending to customers and society at large is enabled by:
- Honoring commitments to others
- Seeking feedback to strengthen leadership and increase impact
- Regularly connecting with employees in meaningful ways
- Holding themselves responsible for the team’s successes & failures
- Fostering Freedom: Leaders do this by providing freedom to express oneself, experiment, and exercise leadership in these ways:
- Encouraging others to speak out and voice opinions
- Making it part of job to create opportunities for everyone to take risks
- Enabling others to make impactful work decisions
- Providing other autonomy and resources to achieve
Their findings indicated that Self-governing Organizations have a disproportionate share of leaders that exhibit all 4 of these qualities. From their work it appeared that the Journey to Self-Governance was not a reaction but a directed action that included willful decisions to purposefully embark on the journey. Self-governing Organizations did not evolve programmatically or from stand alone initiatives. The journey required a sustained conscious and directed effort.
Their recommendation was to focus more on the “HOW” than the what. This matches well with Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s common saying, “As you continually improve the process (the “HOW”), the product (the what) will take care of itself”.
Findings also suggest a complete commitment from the leadership team is needed. This also echoes Dr. Deming who insisted that new methods would never be enough, this change required a complete transformation and the transformation he preached was in “HOW” things are done
I look forward to hearing about “HOW” you use these leadership principles to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits! Please share your thoughts.
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