Event Date: 10/07/2015 (12:00 pm EDT - 1:00 pm EDT)
SARAH SHAFER: Great Leadership Creates Great Workplaces presented by Jim Kouzes. Today’s webinar will be around an hour and it is sponsored by the Mars Rover Challenge. This sends your participants on a space age adventure by transporting them to a top-secret development lab to build a new protocol vehicle with the world space agency. In this combination kit of the leadership and teamwork version participants become engaged in a compelling demonstration and first-hand experience of how leadership and teamwork affect performance. My name is Sarah Shafer and I will moderate today’s webinar. If you have any questions throughout the webinar, please type them into the questions box.
Jim Kouzes is the co-author with Barry Posner or of the award-winning and best-selling book The Leadership Challenge, with over 2 million copies sold and available in 22 languages. The Wall Street Journal has cited Jim as one of the 12 best executive educators in the U.S. Welcome Jim, and thank you so much for joining us today.
JIM KOUZES: Thank you very much, Sarah, it’s a great pleasure to be doing this with HRDQ and going on a Mars rover challenge. Thank you again and welcome everyone. Thanks for tuning in and I look forward to having a wonderful time with you today. I’m going to be talking for about half an hour maybe a little less, then we will take some questions. I will continue on and I’ll take some questions at the end. So make sure you send them in and Sarah will be monitoring them and when we get to that time she will be asking those questions and I look forward to that.
Great Leadership Creates Great Workplaces is the theme of today’s webinar and as I think about this particular topic, I recall a conversation I had with Debi Coleman, who, at the time, was a vice president of Manufacturing and Apple computer and is now on the Board of Directors at Synopsys and other countries as a venture capitalist. And, she said to us, when we asked her about her personal best leadership experience, “I think good people deserve good leadership. The people I manage deserve the best leadership in the world.” And that’s the attitude exemplary leaders have when they are thinking about their people in the organization and their organization’s mission values and vision. So, with that spirit, today I hope that by the end of this session you’ll learn the following: The most important driver of workplace engagement; the one attribute that is the foundation of all leadership; and then the five practices that matter most in producing positive work attitudes; the factor that most distinguishes leaders from individual contributors; and there is one quality that distinguishes leaders from individual contributors; and the condition that is most likely to produce personal- best leadership experiences; the factor that rules innovation, brand image, acceptance of influence, commitment and just about everything else in organizations; how to keep spirits high and hope alive; and finally the secret to success in life, seriously. At the end of the session I’ll close with telling you a story about another interview I had like the one with Debi Coleman and out of which came the secret to success in life. So, I hope that meets some of your needs on this webinar today and I look forward to chatting with you about these. So, let’s get started.
Great Leadership Creates Great Workplaces, what’s the evidence for that statement? My co-author Barry Posner are and I nearly 35 years ago started a project in which we asked people to tell us about a time when they were at their personal best as a leader. We asked a series of questions and people responded both in written case format and then in follow-up interviews. And out of that conversation became a model we call the five practices of exemplary leadership. And I’ll be saying more about each of these five practices shortly. But they are in brief, model the way; inspire a shared vision; challenge the process; enable others to act; encourage the heart. And these are the five practices that we then tested in terms of what impact do they have on workplace engagement? These are the leader behaviors we took a look at. But before I tell you about their impact I’m going to ask you a question about demographics. So, think about nine demographic qualities and how much influence they might have on leader behavior. And what we find is the following. When we take a look at what explains workforce engagement look at the very far left hand side of the slide for a moment. 3/10 of 1% on average is the impact that demographics of the constituents have on workplace engagement. In these cover many regions across the world not all of that in our studies, we studied over 70 countries. But as you can see only 3/10 of 1% on average and in some cases only one 10th of one percent of demographics nine demographic variables such as age, tenure, education, gender, have an impact on whether or not people are engaged in the world. In other words, it’s just about no impact at all. But look at the right hand side and you see that leader behavior explains anywhere from about 35.9 to 50.3% depending on the region of the world of engagement in the workplace. So we conclude from this that overall the five practices of exemplary leadership explained about 37.4% on average if you average all of those global averages come up with this universal average of 37.4% of employee engagement in their work. And demographics accounts for next to nothing.
So the more frequently leaders demonstrate the five practices of exemplary leadership the more people are engaged in their workplaces. The driver of workplace engagement primarily more than any other factors is leader behavior, not demographics, not age, not gender, not education, not country of origin, not function, not level, but workplace behavior on the part of the leader. So the question is not do leaders make a difference the question is how do leaders make a positive difference? And that’s what I want to address the presentation. By talking about the five practices of exemplary leadership we see what it is that leaders do that accounts for that 37.4% on average of employee engagement. The first of those practices is something we call model way. Model the way begins when we get clear about what we stand for and believe in. Ron Sugar, who at the time was chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman Corporation spoke at a seminar for an organization that Barry and I worked with Northrop Grumman when we first did this in the first time Ron came to the room to address the executives from this company there was a piano in the corner of the ballroom. We hadn’t paid much attention to the piano because we thought perhaps it’s just there because it’s a ballroom in a hotel they’re going to be doing some function later on in the day or they forgot to remove it from last night. But we were not right. Ron walked into the room and sat down at the piano and played for about five minutes, beautiful music and then he turned around on the piano bench and he asked the executives that were there for the seminar why you think it is that I started my part of the presentation by playing the piano? No one had a response, we were puzzled by the question. And, he said, I started by playing the piano because I wanted you to know something more about me than the fact that I was your chairman and CEO and I was one time CFO, I’m an engineer by training, I have a PhD. You know all those things you can look them up on the website they are all in my bio. But I wanted to start by playing the piano because I wanted you to know something more about me as a person and if I could be doing anything else in my life it would be to play the piano professionally. But I’m not good enough, we thought he was good enough, but, he said I’m not good enough, but that’s what I would rather be doing. And then he paused and he asked the audience the question. He said leadership is personal. Do the people you lead know who you are what you care about, and why they ought to be following you? What wonderful questions for all of us as leaders to ask ourselves. Do the people I lead know who I am what I care about, and why they ought to be following me? What we find in our research is that as Olivia Lai told us, “In order to become a leader… It’s more important that I first define my values and my principles.” You don’t have to be chairman of the board. You can be in customer service support and still have the same fundamental foundation about your leadership and that is your values and your principles. But of course Barry and I being in an academic institution, Santa Clara University, we had to demonstrate to ourselves and our colleagues that this wasn’t just an opinion of the CEO or a customer support manager it was held up empirically by the data. We did some research and we asked people to indicate the clarity that they had about their organizational values that’s the vertical axis on the left and the horizontal axis clarity about their own values. We asked them to rate that on a scale of 1 to 7% the extent of their clarity about their personal and organizational values. And then we correlated that with the employee commitment, one of the measures of employee engagement. And here’s what we found. If you ask yourself where do you think is the highest level of engagement you have four possibilities from high high in the upper right-hand corner to low low in the bottom left-hand corner, and what we found was that the highest level of engagement was as we expected and anticipated up in the upper right-hand corner 6.26 on a scale of 1 to 7. Where is the lowest level of engagement? We might suspect that it’s in the lower left hand corner but in fact it’s in the upper left-hand corner, 4.87 on a scale of 1 to 7. Not all that different from the bottom left-hand corner of 4.9 and the next, the second highest level of commitment is 6.12 in the bottom right-hand corner. Meaning that we can be very clear about the organizational values, but if we’re not clear about our own or not nearly as committed as if we are clear about our own, but don’t know the organization. Now how can this be? How can it be that people can be clear about their own values not clear about the organization but be committed? If you think about that question perhaps you can think about it in this way: Have you ever walked into a place and said to yourself, I don’t belong here? Or had the opposite experience and just walked into a place for the first time and it just feels comfortable and you feel like this is home and you say I like this place I feel like I’m in the right place? When we are clear about what we stand for, what we believe in, we are much more likely to have those feelings then if we’re not clear about our personal values. People who are clear about their organizations and their own have their highest levels of commitment, but, the second-highest comes when we are personally clear about our values and beliefs. Values drives commitment. Personal values drive commitment to anything. And that’s why the first step on the leadership journey is clarify your own and then to clarify the values of others and look at the fit between self and organization.
What followed from this interesting peek into commitment in organizations was an investigation of what it was that people looked for and admired in their leaders. The qualities that they looked for and we had a list of 20 and we asked people to consider this list of 20 qualities and indicate the seven that were the most important to them. And what we found in short in one word was that credibility is the foundation of leadership. Credibility is the foundation of leadership that people don’t believe in the messenger, they will not believe the message. So what is the evidence behaviorally that leaders are credible? What is the evidence that a leader is credible? And the answer that we got back from the people we talked to in our research is that you have to practice what you preach. Put your money where your mouth is, walk the talk or do what you say you will do. DWYSYWD and the S in the middle is what we just talked about the D is about setting the example.
Following through, one story to illustrate. Steve Starkey who is brought into INAUDIBLE in Texas to be plant manager. He came to the plant and he wanted to make this a world-class plant and one of the things about being world-class of course is that the environment in which people work is of the same quality that the product should be and he found that that wasn’t the case. There was litter in the parking lot, there was litter in the bathrooms, there was litter on the floors of the plant and he wanted people to take responsibility for making it a clean plant. But nothing he said seemed to move people. And so one day what he did is at lunch he went to a local hardware store and bought a bucket. You see the bucket in the slide. And on and he stenciled world-class plant. And he went out onto the floor when everybody was back from lunch and he picked up the litter put it in the bucket walked over to the trash receptacle when the bucket was full and emptied it and continued walking around and putting trash in the bucket and he said not one word when he was done and went back to his office. What do you think happened the next day? Well his managers went and got their buckets and they began to follow his lead and pretty soon the plant was spotless. You have to do what you say you will do not just exhort people to do it particularly if that hasn’t been the norm in the past. You have to set the example. So, modeling the way is about clarifying values by finding your voice and affirming shared values and setting the example by aligning actions. With those shared values. And one way you can put this into action for yourself is to ask this question of yourself every day. Each day ask yourself, “What have I done today that demonstrates the values that I hold near and dear to me?”
The second practice, and after this we will take some questions, so, if you if haven’t sent any in your long or yet please do so. The second of the five practices is inspire a shared vision. You’re driving down the road and I woke up this morning in Northern California to fog. So let’s say you’re driving down the road and there’s fog. And you see this sign that there is a winding road ahead. What do you do? Well if you’re like most people that we talked to they say they slow down, they turn on their headlights, they turn on their windshield wipers if it’s particularly heavy dense fog, they turn off the radio and any other distractions they put aside their mobile phones, they focus, grab the steering wheel real tight, lean and focus their attention. What do you do when the sun shines? The fog is burned off, you get through the fog, you can see for miles, what do you do? Well, you speed up. You turn the headlights off. Maybe you turn your tunes back on. You maybe can even multitask. You turn on the radio, listen to a podcast. You are more relaxed because you can see far into the distance. Inspiring a shared vision is like that. Leaders need to clear away the fog from people as they are driving particularly if we want them to go fast. Speed is a competitive advantage in the workplace these days. And, so, if you want people to drive fast you must clear away the fog so that they know where they’re headed. Leaders have to inspire a shared vision by burning off that fog and illuminating what’s out into the distance. “Vision trumps everything,” Nancy Zimpher, president at the time of the University of Cincinnati and now at State University of New York, told us.
And here’s what we found in our research. In leaders 71% of us look for someone who is forward-looking, but only 27% look for that in colleagues. The quality which most differentiates leaders from individual contributors is being forward-looking. The Delta, the difference between 71 and 27, is the biggest difference that we found between what people look for in leaders and in colleagues. Being forward-looking is the quality that differentiates leaders from either credible people. And, it is also the practice which leaders are most challenged by. Historically, it’s the lowest scoring practice for most individuals and that’s one that they need to work on particularly because it is the expectation of followers that leaders be forward-looking, while it’s not the expectation that our colleagues be forward-looking.
Another analogy might be of why this is so important is if I were to present you with a jigsaw puzzle of 1000 pieces and I put it in the middle of the table and my instructions were simply put it together. What would you want to see from me as the leader? What your immediate reaction? Consistently response to that question is well, show me the box top. What’s on the box top? I want to see the picture. Exactly. When we are told we are given a piece of something and are told put it together, we want to see what it’s supposed to look like when you’re done. When people can see the whole, they are much likely to be more highly motivated, more engaged, more committed, have more fun than if they are simply told to do something. But in organizations, we give people a piece of the puzzle, we call it a job, and then we say, do your job. Put the puzzle together. But, they don’t have a picture of the box top. Until we can give people a picture of the whole, a vision of the future of what we expect them to complete when they have done their job, they are not going to be as engaged and motivated in the work that they do. Ward Clapham put it to us this way, he was commander of the Richmond Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In talking about his personal best, he said, “I was the chief dot connector. At the end of the day I had to connect the dots from vision and strategy to the front line…” I love that phrase, chief dot connector. As his job he saw that he had to demonstrate to others, show other people how their frontline worked, fit with the overall organizational strategy.
Inspire a shared vision is about envisioning the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities. Seeing through that fog and having a clear sense of direction of where we are headed. And then enlisting others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations. Putting this into practice perhaps you can think about five years from now and you’re attending a ceremony honoring you as leader of the year. What do you hope others are saying about you if that were to happen? What do you hope they are saying about the lessons that they learn from you as a leader? What are you hoping that they are saying about the ideals that you stand for? What are you hoping that they say about how they felt when they were around you? What are they saying about the evidence, the empirical evidence that your leadership made a difference? Try that exercise for yourself and those leaders that you work with.
Now let’s take some questions.
SARAH: All right, great, yes we’ve got a couple of great questions coming in. It looks like the first one is from Michael: If a small group of members on your team have lost faith in your leadership what would be the first step to reestablishing your credibility and leadership?
JIM: Michael, that is an awesome question. If they have lost faith in you, the first and that comes to mind, Michael, is that word credibility. And I think the best place to begin is to have a conversation. One of the things that establishes trust, one of the key elements, trustworthiness is the most important element of personal credibility. People feel like they can trust you. One of the things that contributes to trust is opening up and being vulnerable. People tend to like people more whom they know than don’t know. There may be people out there you know and don’t trust at all, but people tend to trust more people whom they now. And so opening up about yourself and sharing what you just shared, I understand you’ve lost faith in me, I get the sense that or whatever the evidence is, whatever the feedback is that you’ve gotten and have a conversation about it. And ask them for their help. Sometimes we see that as a weakness, but, if you’ve demonstrated competence in other ways then that’s one way to begin. Another way to begin as the second most important aspect of credibility is competence. Being seen as someone who knows what they’re doing, knows their job. Sometimes confidence is a skill issue, you don’t know something and so, if there is a set of skills and abilities that you need to acquire, or if there is someone on your team who can do something that you don’t have the skills to do and you can make them a part of your team or delegate to them certain tasks that will help the group to get its job done and for them to see you as someone who recognizes their competence, those are a couple of thoughts. But I would begin around this question of having people get to know you better, being vulnerable in front of them and going back to Ron Sugar’s comment about sharing his values and beliefs with them, some way in which you build that trustworthiness. Thanks for that question, Michael. I hope that’s a help.
SARAH: Next one is coming from Tony: How do you handle it when your company has one set of values that is different from your values or if the walk doesn’t match the talk?
JIM: Great, thank you, Tony. So the question is two parts, first of all if the walk doesn’t match the talk and the other one is your values don’t match. So if you go back to that, recall that 2 x 2 and notice when 6.26 is the highest level of commitment people have. That’s when were clear about both the organizations and our own. So the first step I would ask myself is a question about am I clear? I may assume that my values don’t fit, but am I clear? So, the first step is clarity. If you are clear and you find that there is not a good fit, then you need to have, going back to my last question, you need to have a conversation perhaps with your manager just to make sure you clearly understand what those values mean. So, there’s one thing to be able to list the values and know what they are and another is to know the meaning behind the statement. And so, when we are doing this kind of exercise, with people for the first time and they are doing a values card sort and they’re clarifying their own personal values, we will ask people to have a conversation which they say just ask why it is important to you? What makes this important to you? Please give me a little bit more description, because, sometimes we hear the same words but we hear it differently. So if you take that step and if in fact you do understand the meaning and you still find that there is not a good fit, then you have a personal choice to make. And this is true for all of us. And that choice is can I continue to do my best every day, day in and day out, in a place where my values in the organization and the organizations values are in conflict with each other. The answer to that question is a personal one. But we need to have that question we need to ask ourselves that question and it may be that you say, you know, I like the work that I do, I like the people I work with, and I think I can continue to do my best with the individuals that I’m working with on my team, so I want to continue on the other and you might say, this is just too much stress for me, I can’t continue on and I need to find a different place to be. Values are your personal foundation for credibility. And if you can’t walk your talk, others will see you as not credible. And, you will personally question your own commitment to your values. And, so, those kind of decisions become very personal ones. But I’d go through those other steps first. Clarity and understanding first and then ask yourself that last question about your commitment. Walking the talk is a similar kind of process. If you are seeing visibly that people are modeling your values, modeling the values that they espouse, they are not going to be credible to you and that then raises the question can I continue to do my best when I am in an organization where people just now these words that are not serious about them and their behavior. Depending on the kind of organization you can have a conversation with your manager about that share your observations, but that’s not always the case that people feel safe in doing that. I know that’s probably not as direct an answer as I might give, but, I hope that’s helpful to you. Sarah, one more question we will take.
SARAH: We will take one more and this one is coming from Emily: What tips do you have for establishing trust and maintaining connection when you’re working on a virtual team and rarely see your colleagues in person?
JIM: Common problem that we face today. Trust is built more easily when people work face-to-face. So we have to apply some of the principles of building trust when we are in physical proximity to people to virtual trust. So, one of the principal says we are more likely to trust people whom we now than we don’t know. In response to an earlier question that Michael had. So, one of things we could do as virtual teams is spend some time learning more about each other. We can do that through webinars like this. We can do that through conference calls, and if you have the capacity to do it with video, that’s even better. But, you need to find some way to get to know the people on your team in ways other than the fact of what their particular job is. So you have to spend some time, as much as we would if we were physically working together. You have a cup of coffee, you have to have a virtual cup of coffee. You have to have that virtual conversation with people about who are you, what do you stand for and believe in? What’s important to you? Tell me a little bit more about yourself. That’s one way. Proximity is another way that people build trust with each other. In other words, we are more likely to trust the person next to us than the person who is a long-distance away. So, how do we close that gap? Virtually how do we close that gap? That would suggest more frequent interaction with people who are virtual. So, finding some ways to connect on a regular basis and not just every now and then. And, I think it’s absolutely essential for people who work on virtual teams to get together physically periodically that will depend upon the kinds of distances people have to travel. But, the more frequently you can do it, the better. Again, depends on the distance they have to be travel. But those are couple of ideas. Get to know people and in more ways than just what their job is and find ways to interact with each other more frequently, so you become more proximate to each other so that you close that distance gap with more frequent conversations. Those are a couple of ideas. Thanks very much, Emily, for the question.
So, let’s talk about a few more of the practices and then we’re going to come back and take additional questions. So, I’m going to spend about 20 more minutes talking and then we well take another set of questions.
Challenge the process is the third practice of our five practices. So, leaders have to model the way, inspire a shared vision, and then challenge the process. What we mean by challenge the process? Katherine Winkel from Seattle Genetics in talking about her personal best said, “The similarity that most stuck out for me when I was looking at the personal bests my own and others, was how each person had to overcome uncertainty and fear in order to achieve his or her best.” This is a very important observation that Katherine makes. When we asked people to write about personal best leadership experiences, they talked about things like turning around a plant, like Steve Skarkey, taking an organization that was losing money was not profitable and reestablishing profitability in the organization. From INAUDIBLE in China she took over a team from a publishing company where she found that the stores were she was selling books the shelves were bare with books and people thought she was too young to be doing this work. Arlene Blum who was the first woman to lead a team of all women to the top of Annapurna was one of the early cases we gathered. We’ve had people who were told they had a year to turn around the operation or we’re going to shut it down. And so case after case after case was about challenge, adversity, and difficulty. And yet we asked the question what was your personal best leadership experience? So in talking about personal best people told us that the context in which they operated which they did their best was challenge difficulty, adversity. And so we began to see that it was the challenging situation that brought out the best in people. Challenge is the opportunity for greatness. It’s the principle in which leadership is developed, and so we challenge the process by continually facing that adversity and we do our personal best when we face that adversity and we are successful in that endeavor. That’s what we talk about when we talk about personal best. The gentleman in the middle of this picture is Don Bennett. Don Bennett has a crutch on his one hand and you can’t see but one of his legs is an artificial leg because he lost that leg in a boating accident. Don is now in his 80s, but when he was 51 years old he became the first amputee to climb Mount Rainier 14,410 feet on one leg and two crutches. When he came down off that mountain he said to himself, you know I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in what am I going to do next? And he decided that he was going to play amputee soccer. He came to that because he was out in the backyard and kids were playing basketball in the driveway on the side of the house a ball dribbled down to his feet and his one good leg and he instinctively kicked the ball back. The realization came to him that I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life after this experience I can continue to do other things and I’m going to get other amputees like myself to come over to the park here in Seattle and we’re going to play some soccer. And he started the amputee soccer league. And his mission now in life, he has two more countries to go but he wants to qualify amputee soccer as a Paralympic sport. That’s challenging the process. First amputee to climb Mount Rainier and then start the amputee soccer league. He wanted to do something to continue to demonstrate to himself and to other people that you can overcome adversities. That’s one of the things that exemplary leaders do.
Where do they get their ideas for doing this? Inside organizations 42 to 62% of ideas innovative ideas come from the outside not from the inside. One of the implications is that we as leaders have to have outsite, that is we have to look external to ourselves to come up with ideas that we can use internally and we also know that the better leaders are the better learners. “Better learners consistently engaged in leadership practices more frequently than those in low learning category.” So which comes first meeting or learning? We would conclude, my colleague Barry Posner and I and along with our colleague Lillas Brown that based on this research that learning comes first and that the best leaders are simply the best learners. They devote more time and energy in learning and continuous learning. When we did this research we looked at learning styles. We asked people to complete a questionnaire about their learning styles and then we looked at their frequency of engagement and leadership practices and we hypothesized that certain learning styles would predict more engagement in leadership but in fact what we found is that all learning styles people have any learning styles can be an exemplary leader. Can score high on our leadership practices inventory, our measure of leadership behavior. But those who engage in their own particular style of learning more frequently score higher on the LPI. In other words, the more frequently you engage in learning the better you are as a leader. Now this makes perfect sense. But then we have to ask ourselves how frequently are we engaging in learning? If we want to increase our capacity to be exemplary leaders have to increase the amount of time we spend in learning each one of them. There is a positive correlation between how frequently engaged in learning and how well we do with leaders. And going back to Don’s example, he is still engaging in his 80s and improving himself, and making contributions to help other people become their best. So, it never stops. So we search for opportunities to challenge the process by seizing initiative and by looking outward for innovative ways to improve. And we experiment and take risks and we do that by constantly generating small wins doing little things and learning from our experience.
To put this into practice at least once a week ask yourself this question, “what have I done in the past week to improve so that I’m better at leading now than when I was a week ago? What have I done in the past week to improve so that I am better than I was a week ago? And you should also, if you’re leading a team of people, ask your team question. What have you done in the past week to improve so you’re better at your job then you were a week ago? The first time you asked them that question going to look at you funny and say he attended a webinar or she went to a seminar and very few people may have an answer but, ask it the next week and then the third week. It will take three or four weeks before everyone will have a response. But if you want to increase the amount of attention people spend to improving themselves ask this question on a weekly basis for several weeks in a row and I think you’ll find that at the end of the fourth or fifth week everybody will be giving you an answer. And then they may turn to you and say so what if you done last week to improve so you are better? Then you know it stuck.
The fourth practice, enable others to act. Cora Carmody, who is senior vice president of Jacobs Engineering, said to us, “… It’s all about fostering collaboration and building spirited teams actively involving others, creating an environment of mutual trust” as one of the things as her observations about personal best leadership. It’s all about fostering collaboration and building spirited teams. Collaboration teamwork trust is a key part of getting extraordinary things. Back to Don Bennett for a moment, Don Bennett the first amputee to climb Mount Rainier and now a person who is working on the amputee soccer, when we asked him what was the most important lesson you learned in climbing the mountain, Don said you can’t do it alone. Exemplary leaders understand that leadership is not a solo act. Leading a team of people who have to collaborate cooperate work together and trust each other and most importantly, said Sweeney, Thompson, and Blanton in the study that they did of soldiers in Iraq, “most importantly the level of trust subordinates had in their leaders determined the amount of leader influence subordinates accepted.” This is their language. They studied this is a study done in Iraq with Army soldiers by military officers. What they found was that even in that kind of command-and-control organization the level of trust subordinates had in their leaders determined the amount of leader influence that the subordinates accepted. Trust is the lubricant as well as the glue that holds relationships together. Both lubricates relationships as well as makes it work well together and if we don’t have trust will not have high credibility, we will not have effective teamwork, we won’t have innovation because people to trust each other inside organizations they want come up with new and different ideas to change things. They won’t take risks. It rules corporate reputation, it rules personal reputation, and just about everything else. So we have to have high degrees of trust if we are going to be exemplary leaders and as Lois Skilling CEO of Midcoast Health Services said, “If you see the best in people and expect the best they will deliver.” So, people will deliver when we as leaders see the best in them and if you take a look at another bit of research. We asked people the question what percentage of your talent is utilized by leaders and then we looked at worst leaders and best leaders. We asked people to look at best leaders and worst leaders and if you look at the left-hand side you’ll see that the least amount of talent people observed that came out from worst leaders was 2% from best leaders 40%. That’s the least. And the most from the worst leaders was 40% which was the least from best leaders and 110% from best leaders and we said you can’t get more than 100% of your talent and people would say yes I do I just did even more than I thought I could do. And so when we look at averages we look at worst leaders 31.2% of talent versus 95.1 of best leaders. When we bring out the best in others as leaders they will on average give us nearly all of their talent. We will be utilizing almost all of it 95.1%. Whereas with worst leaders we get we only get one third on average and perhaps it’s best put by this plaque which was on the side of the building in Truckee, California. My wife and I were up in Truckee here in Northern California in the Sierra Mountains and we’re going out to have some lunch and we found the sign on the side of this building and in Truckee which said this building is dedicated to the memory of Ignatius Joseph Firpo. “What we’ve done for ourselves dies with us. What we’ve done for others remains and is immortal.” What a wonderful way to remind ourselves that it’s not leadership is not about us, the leader. It is about those we serve. Those we work with. And when we are seen by others as doing for them, we will live on and have a lasting legacy, lasting positive legacy. So, enabling others to act is about fostering collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships and then strengthening others by increasing self-determination and developing competence. Bringing out the best in others. So one way to enact this practicing of enabling others to act is that before every interaction with every person ask yourself this question. Just as a little reminder. “What can I do in this moment to make others feel more powerful, competent, and able to do more than they think they can?” Whether it’s a one minute interaction or 10 minute interaction, one hour interaction, what can I do in this moment to make the other person, and I’m about to have an interaction with that group of people feel more powerful, more competent, and more able to do more than they think they can. And if we would just remind ourselves of this every time we have an interaction, we will do much much better at enabling others to act and increase their commitment and their engagement in the organization.
And the fifth practice, and then will take some more questions so hopefully we’ll get to more of your questions please send them in to Sarah. The fifth practice is encourage the heart. That climb to the top of that mountain is arduous and steep. People sometimes get discouraged. People get tired. And they need from us to feel brave. Shelley Freeman, regional vice president of Wells Fargo said to us, “When you encourage people you make them feel brave.” The word encourage includes the word courage. So when we encourage, give courage to other people, we make them feel brave. Rachel Aragaman, who is CEO of TFE hotels in Australia and New Zealand wrote a handwritten note to every one of her 3,000 employees. Took her four straight days. When anyone says to me I don’t have time to thank someone, I remind them of Rachel who was the CEO of 3,000 employees and wrote everyone a handwritten note and just in case you think this was just some rubberstamp that she stamped onto a card here’s one of her notes. This is a personalized note to that person. 3,000 of them. We need to take a lesson in a page out of Rachel’s book and do something to say how much we appreciate in detail what other people do that makes a contribution to the organization if we want to get the best, who want to get engaged employees and Prasaad Kanneganti, quality operations director at Pfizer put it this way to us, he said, “Sharing success stories and celebrating contributions encourages all of us to come together and work toward a larger goal.” So it’s about individual recognition, but it’s also about celebrating together to develop a spirit of community. But it has to be genuine. Just not something that’s in the policy manual. It has to come from the heart. Which is why we call it encouraging the heart. You have to recognize individual contributions by showing appreciation for their individual excellence and then celebrating the values and the victories by creating a spirit of community. Those are the five practices and the last one taking action on encourage the heart. You know, this is really the easiest one, in some ways to advise us all on and that is no matter how often you say now thank you, you should be saying it more often. So, say thank you more often. And I want to thank you for listening in and I want to make sure we take some questions before I summarize. So let’s take a few more questions.
SARAH: All right great, thank you. We have a ton of questions coming in. Looks like our first one is coming from Camille. How can we encourage leaders to be vulnerable with others? It’s hard to convey the value of demonstrating vulnerability.
JIM: It is, because one of the things about opening up to other people as Camille points out is that it tends to make us potentially make us feel like maybe were not doing the best job we possibly could or we are taking a big risk and what will other people do with if I shared this information with that person? That’s where trust comes in. In isolation these things are difficult to do. That’s why we call the five practices of exemplary leadership not the one practice of exemplary leadership. So, Camille, if there is not an environment of trust that becomes very difficult to do. So I would start with some of the things that are little simpler to do. Just increasing the amount of conversation people have about some more personal things like what did you do over the weekend, what’s your favorite hobby, some things that begin the process of people becoming more acquainted with each other. Because just opening up talking about a problem you have or some personal feeling you have when there hasn’t been the trust built up is highly risky and so I’d start slowly and build that initial foundation first and then you’ll increase the level of comfort people will have with each other. So, my advice would be to take it in small steps.
SARAH: All right, wonderful, thank you. And it looks like our next question is coming from Carol: How can we encourage and celebrate contributions of those on our teams that shy away from public recognition?
JIM: It’s really an important point that Carol is making. Going back to the example of Rachel she personalizes recognition and did it in a note. So, she knew something about what this person had done was able to personalize it that way. And I think the same thing is true for any kind of celebration. People shy away from, if you will, being publicly recognized that it might be better if we made it a more private recognition. On the other hand, if we can do it publicly in a way that kind of honors their shyness by simply having them hear the story about themselves without having to make a comment or statement, it would be better because sharing publicly also has another function, it points out to other people that someone like you when they do something exemplary and get recognized publicly, but we have to be sensitive to that. It doesn’t mean that we don’t recognize people publicly, but we do need to be sensitive to how we do that. And if indeed the person would really be embarrassed then I would do it privately.
SARA: All right, thank you, and it looks like we probably only have time for just one more live question and that one is coming from Marlene: How you maintain transparency and lead through change when your team is impacted over and over again without resolve from senior leadership?
JIM: So, again if senior management is not setting a good example it’s more difficult to do all of these things. If senior management is not offering support it’s more difficult to do all of these things. My only advice to leaders in those situations is this: Even though senior management is not living up to the five practices of exemplary leadership, we each need to make sure that we as individual leaders with our team do these things. It’s more challenging when were not in that environment where it’s supported, but they expect this of us, even though they are not seeing it or we are not seeing it from senior management. So, do this with your team even if you are not getting that level of support.
And I promised I tell the secret to success in life so I just want to do that very quickly if I could. So, in summary we talked about the five practices and you do them more frequently it will be a more engaged workforce. One of the people we interviewed kind of near the end of our very first round of interviews was Maj. Gen. John Stanford, but his answer to this question is the only response that has survived five editions of the leadership challenge. We asked what you do to develop leaders for the future and John said to us, here is a Maj. Gen. of the United States Army, he said to us whenever anyone asks me that question I tell them I have the secret to success in life. The secret to success is “Stay in love.” Staying in love gives you the fire to unite other people see inside of them other people have a great desire to get things done in other people. The person who is not in love doesn’t really feel the kind of excitement that helps them to get ahead and lead others and to achieve. I don’t know any other fire, any other thing in life that is more positive and exhilarating a feeling that love is. We did not expect to hear that from a Maj. Gen. But he reminds us that leadership is not an affair of the head, leadership is an affair of the heart. My last piece of advice than is to continue to love ‘em and lead ‘em.
Thank you very much, Sarah, for this opportunity to be part of this webinar with HRDQ. Thank you all for listening, I really appreciate it I hope all of you have a great rest of your week.
SARAH: All right, Jim, thank you so much and on that slide right there that is The Leadership Challenge, and you can check out that at the website www.leadershipchallenge.com. And that is all the time that we have today for those live questions. I know there are a ton of unanswered questions, you will get an emailed response to those questions next week. So go ahead and submit those now and while we wait for some of those questions to come in, let me just share a little bit about Leadership Practices Inventory. This is a best-selling and most trusted leadership tool of its generation. The celebrated instrument packages approaches leadership as a measurable, learnable, and teachable set of behaviors. Order the facilitator kit and online and print guides at 20% off today. And for a limited time use coupon code webinar LPI 20 at checkout. And if you would like to learn more, you are invited to stay on the line. We are going to be doing a very short product review after this session. So, Jim, thank you so much again, and a big thanks to our sponsors the Mars Rover Challenge. And if your organization is interested in sponsoring an HRDQU webinar you can reach me at email@example.com. Give your brand a boost and exposure through sponsorship. So, we appreciate your time and we hope you found today’s webinar informative
The key to making extraordinary things happen in organizations is great leadership. It contributes more to positive outcomes than any other single factor. Great products, great strategy, great people are absolutely critical, but with poor leadership they produce only a third to a half of their potential. It takes great leadership to create great workplaces that create great results. If you want better results in your marketplace, you have to ensure that you are fostering great leadership within your organization.
In this webinar leadership author and researcher Jim Kouzes will present evidence that leadership makes a significant and meaningful difference in people’s engagement at work and in the performance of their organizations. In analyzing responses from over two million people around the world, Jim and coauthor Barry Posner have found that leaders who more frequently exhibit The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® have employees who are more committed, proud, motivated, loyal, and productive than those whose leaders exhibit these practices less frequently. Engagement scores are 25 to 50 percent higher among the groups with exemplary leaders. These workplaces also have higher performance than those with leaders who engage less frequently in these practices. Jim will explore how great leadership creates great workplaces through the application of The Five Practices®. He’ll also offer concrete advice on what you can do to put each of the practices to use immediately to improve engagement and performance.
Participants Will Learn
- The variable that most explains engagement in the workplace.
- The one attribute that is the foundation of all leadership.
- The factor that most distinguishes leaders from individual contributors, and how it’s directly related to engaging people over the long term.
- The condition that is most likely to produce personal-best leadership and how you can create it.
- The factor that rules innovation, brand image, acceptance of leaders’ influence, commitment— just about everything else important in organizations—and what leaders can do about it.
- How to keep spirits high and hope alive.
- The secret to success in life—seriously
Who Should Attend
- Human Resources Professionals
- Organizational Development Professionals
Jim Kouzes is the coauthor with Barry Posner of the award-winning and best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge, with over 2 million copies sold and available in 22 languages. He’s also the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, at Santa Clara University.
The Wall Street Journal has cited Jim as one of the twelve best executive educators in the U.S. He is the 2010 recipient of the Thought Leadership Award from the Instructional Systems Association, listed in 2010-2013 as one of HR Magazine’s Most Influential International Thinkers, named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America in 2010-2015 and honored as one of its Lifetime Achievement recipients in 2015, selected by Global Gurus as one of the Top 30 Leadership Gurus in 2015 and ranked by Leadership Excellence magazine as one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders over the last 10 years.