Issue No. 318 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting spotlights a new leadership book with—trust me—at least a dozen chapters you’ve never read before. I’ve exhausted my inventory of affirming adjectives for this refreshing resource, Leadership Briefs. It’s amazing. And this reminder: subscribe here for Drucker Mondays, as 52 guest writers share their favorite quotes and commentary every Monday in 2015, from the new book, A Year With Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness.
When Do You Stop Leading?
Aw, heck. Just when you think you can pontificate on all-things leadership, along comes a phenomenal book that hammers your ego. I still have much to learn.
Case in point: Ask me how to build a healthy culture on your team—and I can give you three steps and three books. Ask Dick Daniels the same question and he delivers eight core elements and seven steps. (Where does he get this good stuff? It’s off-the-chart insightful—and packaged brilliantly.)
In the new, hot-off-the-press book, Leadership Briefs: Shaping Organizational Culture to Stretch Leadership Capacity, Daniels says that “building a healthy culture requires a carefully crafted blueprint.” He starts with four foundational building blocks: vision, mission, values…and one more we often minimize: leadership. Then in less than a page, he outlines the four sides of organizational framing: strategy, structure, staffing, and systems. He notes, “Staffing follows structure. A change in strategy leads to a change in structure which impacts staffing.”
But…there’s more! His seven steps to building culture are short and crisp (three to five lines each), yet comprehensive. The outline:
1. Declare it.
2. Define it.
3. Model it.
4. Defend it.
5. Expect it.
6. Measure it.
7. Reward it.
He elaborates: “Culture is evidenced in specific and measurable behaviors. People consistently perform according to what is measured.”
That’s Chapter 3 on organizational culture—a feast in just four pages, plus an eye-catching “Leadership Debrief” three-line chapter summary on the fifth page. (Some chapters—with equal punch—are just two pages. My kind of book!)
So imagine…40 very short chapters in nine major leadership categories with tempting subtitles:
• CULTURE: Leadership Friendly Places to Work
• FORMATION: Building Leaders from the Outside—In
• CHARACTER: Building Leaders from the Inside—Out
• STRATEGY: The Intuition of Leadership Judgment
• LEADING: The Daily Agenda
• TEAMS: Collaboration and Cross-Functional Alignment
• FOLLOWERS: Engaged and Growing
• COMMUNICATION: Everyone Knows Almost Everything
• ETCETERA: Behind the Scenes
Honest. Scan the table of contents—and you’re hooked. If you’ve got even a hint of leadership in your bones, you can’t resist cancelling your next meeting and digging deeper into these life-long learning leadership briefs. There are gems in every chapter:
• Chapter 9: The Trusted Leader
• Chapter 10: Emotionally Smart Leaders
• Chapter 11: The Social Graces of Memorable Leaders
Yikes! Under six “Graceful Reminders” in Chapter 11 he warns about “the danger of the 15%. Some people can be right 85% of the time. It is a powerful gift. The danger is when they assume they are right 100% of the time. They become relationally dangerous 15% of the time when they are wrong but think they are correct.”
How can you not read these chapters?
• Chapter 14: When Leaders Look for the Silver Bullet
• Chapter 18: The Point of Creativity in 31 Leadership Polarities
• Chapter 22: When Do You Stop Leading?
In Chapter 22, Daniels cautions, “There is a disruption in leadership continuity when you stop doing the critical exercises needed for sustainability.” Then his poke-in-the-ribs includes 12 “Don’t Stop” warnings, including: Don’t Stop Learning. Don’t Stop Listening. Don’t Stop Confronting. Don’t Stop Celebrating. Don’t Stop Studying the Competition. Don’t Stop Taking on the Next Challenge.
• Chapter 23: The Delicate Dance of Team Chemistry
• Chapter 25: Counterintuitive Conflict
• Chapter 30: Delegating Developmentally
Gimme a break, Dick! I’ve written a whole chapter on the Delegation Bucket, so how come I just learned a new insight that’s going right into my PowerPoint?
“Leaders have three options: (1) Not delegating, (2) Delegating prematurely, or (3) Delegating developmentally.”
• Chapter 33: The Emotional Flow of Employee Disengagement
• Chapter 35: The Power of Thought-Provoking Questions
• Chapter 38: Formulas for Succession Planning
Gut check on employee disengagement: “When the problem is organizational,” says the author, leaders fix it. “When the problem is a team member’s personal baggage, they find a way to help. At last resort, leaders will carefully calculate if it is necessary to release and replace the disengaged. How this transition is handled impacts the attitude and engagement of every other team member who is watching.”
‘Nuff said. Just buy the book. As I wrote in my endorsement, “I could have used this book 30 years ago—and saved myself and my team members from unnecessary leadership pain! Every chapter begs to be discussed and implemented in a weekly staff meeting. The chapter on delegation is worth the price of the book. I've already borrowed his memorable outline: Think, Talk, Act, and Reflect. Brilliant!”
To order from Amazon, click on the graphic below for Leadership Briefs: Shaping Organizational Culture to Stretch Leadership Capacity, by Dick Daniels.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
#1. Dick Daniels peppers his book with stunning insights from leaders, like this from Tom Peters: “Leader’s don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” How effective is our team’s leader-creation plan?
#2. Here’s another. This one from Leroy Eimes: “A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see.” Tell us about a leader you know who embodies that description.
Charles, You’re Fired! - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
In my cycle through the 20 buckets, here’s a reminder from the Culture Bucket, Chapter 8, in Mastering the Management Buckets:
In their book, Winning The Answers—Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today, Jack and Suzy Welch comment on “The Ultimate Values Test.” They warn not to get rid of value offenders with surreptitious excuses such as “Charles left for personal reasons to spend more time with his family.”
Instead, they say, inform your team publicly and “announce that Charles was asked to leave because he didn’t adhere to specific company values.”
By the way, today’s Wall Street Journal features an interview with Jack and Suzy Welch about their new book, The Real-Life MBA, coming this spring.
For more resources—and 11 other book recommendations on building a healthy culture, visit the Culture Bucket webpage.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting is emailed free two to four times a month to subscribers, the frequency of which is based on an algorithm of book length, frequent flyer miles, and client deadlines.