1 Integrity—The New Leadership Story
2 Leadership And Stories
3 Leadership Letdown
4 Leadership By Devil’s Advocate
5 Leaders And Luddites
6 Leaders Need To Be Seen
7 Close the Bathroom Door, Please
8 The Operations Planning Parable
9 A Tough Leadership Lesson
10 Assigment In Gorky
11 Wise Women Leaders
12 The Day After the Circus
13 Management by Stereo
14 The Safety Speech
15 Leadership Transformation
16 Sanchez had the Blues
17 Nancy the Nasty
18 Mikos Makeover
19 Work and Life Balance: Does it Ever Work?
20 Once An Autocrat
21 Leadership From Stone Great Bosses
22 Leadership Without The Vulcan Mind Meld
23 Short Term Memory Loss
Appendix 1: Enlightened 21st Century Organization Quiz
Profound recognition of my parent’s guidance—they subtly reminded me of the need for work and life balance, the need to manage boundaries, and to see the use and abuse of power. While business was not their venue, life was —funny how wisdom crosses over life’s runways!
Significant appreciation for the unconditional love of my sisters—all of your family support allowed me to be the “Corporate lady” and a mom.
Finally, thanks to my daughters whose unconditional love has allowed me to move to the next phase of my life. Their pride in their Mom is what makes me continue learning, teaching and on and on and on.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of companies, from startups to corporations. There were office politics, meetings, report writing, presentations good and bad bosses. My career started with a newly minted MBA. I even completed a course with Professor Peter Drucker. Little did I know that my management and leadership training was just beginning.
I had the opportunity to work with people up and down the old corporate organizational chart. I tried to eliminate bureaucracy when and where I could and help executives recognize that people are their greatest assets—interesting that these are now attributes of the New Economy. I consider myself fortunate to have met and worked with some great people.
I would not be able to write this book if not for the many sacrifices my parents Bronislaw and Mary. Much thanks to my sons Eddie and Peter who have taught me a lot. And finally much thanks to Nils Pearson whose wise counsel I deeply appreciate.
The New Economy is rapidly changing the rules of business. While some of the fundamentals of effective leadership will not change, leaders will continuously need to be nimble and adapt their styles. There will be an endless flow of books and executive seminars. However, one of the most effective ways to keep up with the New Economy will be a real life leadership story. As. Warren Bennis says, “The right anecdote can be worth a thousand theories.” We couldn’t agree more.
We’ve read the books, attended the courses. What we learned most about effective leadership, we learned by working and dealing with companies small and large. We believe that short stories about real business issues are a great way to communicate leadership lessons. That’s why we wrote these stories.
This is a book of stories some are tales of real events others are parables crafted from our experience. We are not going to say which stories are real or parables. Although based on actual experience in our work with many organizations and companies, no character or situation in this book references any specific person or organization. We think that the lessons learned from all of the stories make for interesting reading and learning about leadership.
We hope you enjoy our stories and learn what we learned.
No more important task exists than making sense of the times in which we live. This requires contemplation and self-knowledge, as well as timely action. This is the fundamental task of leadership for the 21st century.
W.E. Kellogg Foundation–Leadership Forum
“Myth associates leadership with superior position. It assumes that leadership starts with a capital “L”, and that when you are on top you are automatically a leader. But leadership is not a place; it is a process. It involves skills and abilities that are useful whether one is in the executive suite or on the front line, on Wall Street or Main Street.”— Drucker Foundation
What a brilliant, yet somehow overlooked idea for a book on leadership! Ed Konczal and Jeannette Galvanek absolutely galvanize the leader who reads this treatise on taking action steps towards revamping his or her leadership style, based on the stories herein.
If it is true—and it is—that experience is the best teacher, what better way to learn than through the experiences of other leaders who “open the kimono” to show you their triumphs and failures—so that you don’t have to experience them all yourself. Especially the failures.
Themes common to all of us who lead are woven through this compendium of corporate war stories: the seduction of power; the eternal conundrum of ethics vs. profitability; dealing with the glass ceiling; the collaborative leader—the illusion and the reality; and others. And for those of us who may not have drawn all the proper inferences from these stories, we are given LESSONS FOR LEADERS at the end of each story—the Aesop’s Fables of 21st century corporate America.
This is mandatory reading for all leaders—present and future.
William L. Ayers, Jr.
President and CEO, The Ayers Group
The two words that best describe “Simple Stories for Leadership Insights” are “timely” and “powerful”. The timeliness of this work rests in its focus on the importance of leadership with integrity in the wake of a wave of corporate scandals that has tainted the reputation of business. The books power is derived from its simplicity in the real stories that most everyone can identify with. In other words, it provides a powerful method for identifying and developing leaders with integrity.
Much of the cause of recent corporate scandals can be attributed to a failure to lead with integrity. Somewhere along the way, this important linkage was lost along with appropriate judgment. The result has been a failure to focus on the building of the long term value of the effected firms leading to detrimental impacts on the firm’s customers, employees and shareholders and the community in which the firm operates. This book appropriately points out that a leader’s role comes with tremendous responsibilities that can only be achieved through authentic leadership that incorporates a high degree of integrity. It also effectively makes the case that being a leader with integrity requires courage and self-confidence. The companies that will be most successful in the 21st century will have the competitive advantage of having leadership that has the courage to do what is right and the self-confidence that allows for the effective exchange of ideas and consideration of various points of view.
There exists widespread recognition of the importance of effective leadership to organizational success. The major contributions of this work overcome where most business schools, consultants, leadership publications and human resource development programs fall short. The first contribution is in pointing out the necessity of linking leadership and integrity for success in the New Economy. A second contribution is grounded in the book’s realism derived from the use of short stories. Using short stories (as opposed to theories about leadership) is clearly an effective tool in getting the messages of the book across. Finally, there are concrete suggestions for building authentic leadership. You will not only benefit tremendously from this book, but you will enjoy reading it as well.
Mark A. Thompson, PhD Dean—School of Business Quinnipiac University
1.Integrity—The New Leadership Story
This is a book about stories. The stories tell how leaders dealt with people, complex issues, and tough decisions. Some of the stories are sad, others uplifting and some are funny. Some stories involve a few people others involve thousands. All gave us important leadership insights. They all are real and you might find that a few relate to your own experience.
We both went through many leadership programs, seminars, books, articles and other leadership products. We found many of these well meaning but lacked capturing the complex context in which leaders live. We agree with Manfred Kets de Vries, one of today’s top Leadership Thought Leaders who said, “The literature we find on leadership, though vast, isn’t always helpful.”1
We found that the best leadership lessons were learned from experience. We lived these stories and learned many lessons about leadership. But the key lesson and the one that seems to be a part of most of our stories is the absolute importance of Leadership Integrity. We learned that if leaders don’t have Integrity, nothing else matters much. (We use Integrity synonymously with Authenticity, Credibility and Trust.)
A quick search for the definition of Integrity surfaced this—“Integrity comprises the personal inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from honesty and consistent uprightness of character” This seems to fit, but the following from Howard Adamsky, from his article “A New Day for American Leadership” captures what Integrity means for Leadership, “. . . leadership is part vision, part art, part science, part experience, part faith and part know-how, all bound together in an ironclad package called integrity.”2
Leadership is always important for Business success, but now Leadership with Integrity is critical. We are in the midst of a seminal change in the business environment—from the Information Age to the New or Knowledge Economy. Key for business success is leadership and organizational culture. And yet the news is filled with CEOs who are falling from grace and there is talk of a “leadership crisis” and of “toxic cultures.”
LEADERSHIP INTEGRITY LOST AND FOUND
There has been a continuing erosion of trust across numerous business sectors in America according to the Golin/Harris Trust Survey.3
Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents said, “I don’t know whom to trust anymore,” and said they will “hold businesses to a higher standard in their behavior and communications.”
But for those of us who have worked in corporate America, we’ve seen poor leaders in action daily. It just wasn’t news worthy in the past.
Despite much advice from the $15 Billion Leadership Industry (business schools, seminars, books, tapes, journals), it seems that many so called leadership experts; business books and publications failed us.
-A major Business School had a business case on the success of Enron.
- Bernie Ebbers and Ken Lay are profiled in a book on the best leaders.
- In a major business magazine’s list of most admired companies for 2000, Enron ranked first in quality of management—ahead of even GE. That ranking came from the votes of its peers.
- And look at what, Table 1.1, some management gurus said about Enron, before and after its collapse—
We may be seeing the results of Business School-Media-Corporate complex. Perhaps in concept similar to the once Military-Industrial complex former President Eisenhower warned about in the 1960s:
“Leadership is not a solo act . . . it is a shared responsibility, a chorus of diverse and complimentary voices. To an
unusual degree, [Enron] is chock-full o’ leaders”
“Egg all over the face is an understatement. As embarrassing as it is, we basically took the word of Lay and his
people. Was there a way to spot that the emperor was wearing no clothes? I don’t think so.”
“Skilling and Lay created `a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity and an engine of growth.”
“There are absolutely some strong, helpful lessons to learn by what they did right. Unfortunately, all those are trumped by the mistakes they made.”
-Top Consultant 1
“Enron isn’t in the business of eking the last penny out of a dying business but of continuously creating radical new business concepts with huge upside.”
“Do I feel like an idiot? No. If I misread the company in some way, I was one of a hell of a lot of people who did that.”
- Professor 3
“Skilling and others have led a transformation in Enron that is as significant as any in business today. This is brand new thinking, and there are broad implications for other companies.”
“History can’t be very kind to it. It’s sad: The innovation and ideas and what was good about what they did may be lost in the demise of the company.”
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”5
This Business School-Media-Corporate complex seems to have engaged in a group think of enormous proportions—professors, consultants, journalists, students and executives all feeding on their own diets of best practices, theories and what defines leadership.
- Business schools taught Ethics as a sideline.
- Many companies have lofty Mission Statements and Operating Practices statements that address ethics, but do little to enforce them.
- Journalists give interviews to glitzy executives who brag about what they are doing to improve profits.
- Executives courted Wall Street analysts who might improve their stock ratings.
Business is at a crossroads. Capitalism is facing a crisis. All of us who believe in business—from CEOs to business-school professors—must recognize that we have contributed to this crisis.
“Memo to: CEOs,” FastCompany, June, 20026
Not since the days of the insider-trading poster boy Ivan F. Boesky and the junk-bond king Michael R. Milken have M.B.A. programs been so assailed for their role in preparing future corporate executives. Many of the schools are scrambling to rewrite case studies, dust off their ethics lessons, and defend professors who have worked for the very companies now under scrutiny.
The Chronicle of Higher Education September 20, 20027
The image of business leaders has been declining for some time. Starting in the early 1980s we began to see a seemingly endless parade of mindless downsizing, reengineering, reorganizing and inauthentic PR all focused on satisfying the investment community. Corporate leaders seem to excel at Investor relations and fail in the vital relationships with their own people and their customers.
The damage caused by these poor leaders is too often hidden until it is too late. We need to examine business practices that lead to how these scoundrels got to their high office and identify the true characteristics of real authentic Leaders. After all somehow these scoundrels got to the top, whether by promotion or approval by the Board of Directors.
This is the darker side of leadership. Manfred Kets de Vries has identified several of those shadows that leaders fail to recognize. One of these is “mirroring, or the tendency to see themselves as they are perceived by their followers and to feel they must act to satisfy the projections or fantasies of followers. A certain amount of mirroring is part of human existence. Our understanding of the world will always reflect some shared perceptions of what is real. But, in a crisis, even the best of us is likely to engage in distorted mirroring. The impact is most serious when leaders use their authority and power to initiate actions that have serious, negative consequences for the organization.”
Be careful of your “Mirror.”
We observed that as people moved up the corporate hierarchy, and received more and more perks, many became consumed with their own importance. Their position and rank became more important than just about anything else. I remember one of my bosses who said, “you know why the guys at the top have such large offices? It is to house their huge egos.” Very few were able to resist the temptations and seductions of power. And they didn’t last long.
It takes real courage to be an authentic leader. You have to be willing to honestly look at and acknowledge your own weaknesses. To use Kets deVries’ metaphor, look at yourself in a clear mirror, not a distorted mirror.
In a survey by Lou Harris and Associates, only 40 per cent of US office workers believed that it was “very true” that the management is “honest, upright and ethical”, with 85 per cent of them saying that it was “very important” for management to be so.
Never extraordinarily high, trust levels between employees and senior managers are falling. Only 39 percent of employees at U.S. companies say they trust the senior leaders at their firms.
Between 2000 and 2002, there was a five point drop in both the percentage of employees (45 percent) who say they have confidence in the job being done by senior management and the percentage of workers (63 percent) who believe their companies conduct business with honesty and integrity.
Recent business news has chronicled some large scale leadership failures. More insidious and perhaps just as damaging as this example are the smaller but more numerous examples of ineffective, inauthentic practices that we saw each day carried by so called leaders.
Many would-be authentic leaders are out there pleading, trotting, temporizing, putting out fires, trying to avoid too much heat. They’re peering at a landscape of bottom lines. They’re money changers lost in a narrow orbit. They resign. They burn out. They decide not to run or serve. They’re organization Houdinis, surrounded by sharks or shackled in a water cage, always managing to escape, miraculously, to make more money via the escape clauses than they made in several years of work. They motivate people through fear, by following trends or by posing as advocates of “reality” which they cynically make up as they go along. They are leading characters in the dreamless society, given now almost exclusively to solo turns.
Warren Bennis, Forward in Counterfeit Leadership 10
GE Chairman & CEO Jeff Immelt's Message to Employees
As GE learns and grows in the 21st century, three traditions of Our company become more important. Along with commitment to performance and thirst for change, we must always display total, unyielding integrity.11
Despite the news about leader scandals, we find some examples of leadership integrity.
-At Enron it was Sherron Watkins who had the courage to do a “skip level” and go right to Ken Lay with the bad news. This was dangerous because her boss, Jeff Skilling, was notorious for not wanting to hear bad news. She wasn’t in on the complex, off balance sheet partnerships that were starting to unravel, but she knew that there was trouble and she let Ken Lay know what is was. In one of her earlier memos that have become public her heroic efforts seemed to be ignored, “The viewpoint is that I can effectively play devil’s advocate on the accounting issues and be sure we anticipate the tough questions answers. My personal opinion is that it’s very hard to know who in the organization is giving us good answers and who is covering their prior work.” 12 Too bad for Enron’s employees and shareowners that her warnings were unheeded.
-Here’s a great leadership story that didn’t get the same news attention as the classic J&J Tylenol case. Merck & Co.’s development of a drug for human river blindness is an example of leading with integrity. In West Africa, river blindness had affected millions of villagers and for years the disease was controlled with pesticides. However spraying could not be done on a large scale and river blindness continued unabated.
In 1978, a research scientist at Merck & Co. believed he found an agent that successfully combated similar disease-causing parasites in livestock. He asked the laboratory director, Roy Vagelos, for approval to develop a form of the drug for human use. This effort would cost millions of dollars and require extensive testing in African villages. And even if the drug was able to cure human river blindness, there was virtually no chance that there would ever be consumers who could afford to pay for the drug.
For Vagelos, denying the request, even knowing the financial risk, would conflict with the company ethic that health precedes wealth. So he approved the request and the drug, named Mectizan, was developed. One of his greatest challenges yet lay ahead—distributing the drug that took a decade to produce. Although Merck’s credo made health its first priority, freely offering and distributing the drug was without precedent.
Ultimately, Vagelos, who eventually became CEO, decided to provide the drug to all who needed it, free of charge and for as long as the need remained. “Sometimes in your life,” he said, “you’ve got to take a leadership position and make a decision.”13
-In our story “Wise Women Leaders”, we chronicle the leadership of an innovative woman executive whose vision saw that the real route to competitive advantage was through the hearts and minds of people.
Max De Pree, in his book Leaders Without Power, addresses authenticity: “Vital organizations don’t grant their members authenticity, they acknowledge that people come already wrapped in authentic humanness. When an organization truly acknowledges the a priori authenticity of each person and acts accordingly, how many ways open up for people to reach their potential!”14
Authentic leaders in certain companies understand this vital relationship. It might be helpful to look at a list of the Top Authentic Leaders. Seems that people like “Lists Of The Top (You Name It). Well, there isn’t any list of the Top Authentic Leaders. This didn’t get press because authentic leaders are hard to find. We have a suggestion for how we might find authentic leaders. Take a look at a list of The Best Companies To Work For. Compiled by Robert Levering’s Great Places To Work Institute. Here are the Top 20 US and UK Companies (Table 1.2.):
We should look at the leaders in these companies to find Authentic Leaders. “A company doesn’t become a Great Place to Work® by accident. It is the result of the attitudes and actions of a management that seeks to develop trust and co-operation. Good workplaces are not just about tangible staff benefits. The culture counts, too.”15
Look at the Organizational Culture statement of SAS “If you treat employees as if they make a difference to the company, they will make a difference to the company. That’s been the employee-focused philosophy behind SAS’ corporate culture since the company’s founding in 1976. At the heart of this unique business model is a simple idea: satisfied employees
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
create satisfied customers. From managers who work on projects alongside their staff members, to flexible scheduling that allows employees to work hard and play hard on the job, the environment at SAS is designed to enable employees to do great work and to have a life outside of work, as well.16
It is also interesting to note that there aren’t many Fortune 500 companies on this List. Why don’t more big companies appear on this list? Because these organizations can’t seem to develop leaders that understand the vital relationships they need to develop with people and customers, and to inspire and align a compelling organizational culture.
Take our short test in Appendix 1 to see how your company rates as an Enlightened 21st Century Organization.
Profile Of The 21st Century Leader
While leadership is always important to corporate performance, there is a growing realization that effective leaders with integrity are absolutely crucial to successfully navigating the New Economy of the 21st Century. In addition there is also a growing realization that the characteristics of the Leader of the 21st century are dramatically different than the leader of the past, even the recent past.
Command and control is out, organizations are getting flatter, the competitive landscape is chaotic, people are looking for meaningful work, customers are in control, these and more demands are being placed on today’s leaders. Transition to the New Economy are frequently compared to movement to the Industrial Economy, the Information Economy, but the breadth of developments and changes in the New Economy are so dramatic that there is little precedent.
The real job of leaders is to inspire and create meaning and direction in the midst of drastic change and even chaos. In such a world of change and ambiguity, a new leadership style is needed. This involves the need to grasp the paradoxes inherent in the New Economy and to master the competencies required by the business environment now being created. This new leadership re-
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
lies on the leader acting as an authentic and inspirational force developing effective relationships with people in the company, partners, customers, competitors and any other stakeholders.
We developed a Profile of the 21st Century Leader. Figure 1.1. Through our experience and research we defined the characteristics that will be needed to lead in an increasingly changing business landscape. This not to say that there is a definitive leadership model. Rather, we believe that leaders need to continuously adapt and change their approach as needs dictate. Leaders will need to apply these characteristics in an artful rather than a rigid scientific manner.
While all these leadership characteristics are needed, the most important is Integrity. We’ve seen too many leaders who lack Integrity. While most companies are not ethically (and now financially) bankrupt like Enron, there still exist leaders whose credibility is in question. Lack of Integrity must not be tolerated since they will undermine everything else that contributes to corporate success.
LEADERSHIP INTEGRITY GUIDELINES
Integrity is a delicate jewel. Building integrity in leaders and their organizations takes time, continuous effort and cannot be feigned. You must feel it in your gut, in your core beliefs that
being honest and trustworthy is the right business practice. If you feel that integrity is the route to financial success you are doomed to failure.
Accountability is the foundation for authentic business relationships. At least it forces the process of identifying and resolving issues. Authentic people take full and complete ownership for their lives, their choices, thoughts, feelings and actions, without blame or faultfinding.
Not financial acumen. Not vision. Not creativity. What employees want most from their business leaders are basic principles in practice such as honesty, integrity, ethics and caring, according to the results of a survey conducted by Right Management Consultants.17
Authentic people know their deepest values without hesitation and fulfill them in thought, word and deed. Integrity is their nature. They do not depend on their position for power. A leader with Integrit–
- delivers their message clearly and don’t worry about revealing themselves,
- must have a clear vision of who they are and what they stand for,
- creates clear intention by knowing the right questions to ask to create clarity and commitment,
- firmly believes that doing the right and ethical thing is the overarching way to do business.
So can integrity become as much a part of a company's daily existence as turning on the lights and answering the telephone? Shouldn't that be the goal?
PricewaterhouseCoopers “Stand and be counted”18
SUGGESTIONS FOR BUILDING LEADERSHIP INTEGRITY
We offer some suggestions you might want to consider as you build integrity within your leadership team. The suggestions are aimed at integrating Integrity within the underlying organizational culture. You must address “the way we do things here in company x”, or the norms that govern how people make decisions each day.
-Integrity starts with Board of Directors who develops a statement of ethical practices and demand adherence. Anyone guilty of violating these practices must be publicly admonished in a manner similar to what Jack Welch did at GE.
- Senior leaders insure that these practices flow easily throughout the culture and embedded in the formal and informal company practices.
- Stop the scoundrels at the gate—when you are hiring people for leadership positions use new approaches to reviews and assessments that are designed to surface integrity issues. Companies such as Bristol-Myers, Pfizer and even smaller companies such as Spartan Stores are using innovative approaches to filter out candidates with Integrity issues.
- Put Integrity components in your compensation and incentives programs for all not just executives.
- Communication between leaders and people in the organization has deteriorated despite polished multimedia techniques. Your message may be lost in the technology. Try a proven old technique. Tell stories about authentic leaders at company meetings, publish these stories in company newsletters.
- If you have Leader development programs, make sure the first course or seminar includes Integrity.
- Be seen by the people in your company. Let them see you and talk with you in a relaxed place. If you “hide” in your office, it will be more difficult to build Integrity. In our story “ Leaders Need To Be Seen”, we tell about how a simple change of venue can make a big difference in establishing a leader’s integrity.
- Turn bureaucracy on its head. In our story “Leadership By Not Getting in the Way”, a leader shows how to delegate and let people in his group really show their stuff.
- Communicate with your people. Let them know how the company is performing. If you are a publicly traded company, ensure they know about insider trading rules. Limit use of fancy slides; just tell them the facts.
- Establish a “safe haven” approach that permits employees to surface integrity problems without them fearing retribution.
- Tough decisions will always be a challenge to Integrity. At such times it takes courage to do the right things. Leadership with integrity acknowledges accountability and responsibility. Step up to the task; don’t waste time over analyzing. If you embrace integrity you will know what to do.
- Get rid of the “yes men/women”. Surround yourself with a trusted team of people with diverse viewpoints who will tell you what they really think about your ideas. In our story “Leadership by Devil’s Advocate”, we explain the dangers of falling in love with your own approach.
- Appoint an Integrity Czar, a Chief Integrity Officer (CIO) who reports to the CEO. This person must have a well known reputation for credibility and honesty. The CIO will oversee all Integrity matters and insure that the words in the integrity statement leap off the paper and come alive. The CIO should periodically brief the Board of Directors.
Building Integrity takes time and continuous vigilance to ensure that ensure that it is maintained. We admit that these guidelines are not conclusive. We of course don’t know the business context in which you live. But if you follow our suggestions you will be off to a good start.
LEADERSHIP INTEGRITY QUOTES
Leadership integrity must be firmly grounded in the company’s values and integrated into individual employee values. Small business owners must build a company culture based on its core values and supported by a storehouse of stories— telling your people what the organization stands for, what it is trying to achieve and what is in it for them.
Winning Your Way, November 2002
Our society and our workplaces are tired of everything including one’s principles being situational. Such traits as honesty and integrity must never be compromised.
Leadership integrity is essential to the process of gaining the support of the rest of the organization in bringing about change. If the front line team senses that such integrity is not in place, the levels of trust required to make empowerment and quality a reality will never be generated. Altoona Metro Transit, “Focus on Excellence,” <www.amtran.org/focus/Focus_on_Excellence.rtf> (11/01/2004).
The transformational leader sets the moral tone for his subordinates by the example of integrity he provides in both his official duties and in his private life. Honesty cannot be instilled by contract— but it may be enhanced by education about its importance to mission accomplishment and by example.
Colonel Malham M. Wakin, “Ethics of Leadership,” in Military Leadership, ed. James H. Buck and Lawrence J. Korb (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, Inc., 1981), 105.
“Integrity has no need of rules.”
— Albert Camus
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower,
“There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.”
“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Integrity is so perishable in the summer months of success.
Vanessa Redgrave, “Wisdomquotes,”
Personal trust, based on faith in a person’s integrity, is trust at its most fundamental and widely understood. It is the trust of confidences shared without thought of betrayal, ideas revealed without fear of appropriation, and tasks doled out to teammates with the assurance that they will try hard not to let you down. Personal trust develops in the workplace through shared experiences and knowledge of colleagues’ characters. From such crucibles as impossibly tight deadlines or shop-floor emergencies, we quickly learn on whom we can rely.
Joni, Saj-nicole A, The Geography of Trust, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 82, Issue 3 (Mar 2004).
Our promise, just like a brand, is a promise that gets fulfilled or not, depending on the strength of our integrity.
“Integrity audit”—taking some time to ask ourselves whether what we believe, how we act, and how we allocate our resources are aligned. I think responsible leaders take this kind of time regularly to check whether their “deeds match their creeds.”
Al Watts, “Integrity and Leadership,”
Life is full of ethical complexities and ethical challenges. In the game of life, there isn’t a space you land on that says: “Draw an ethics card now.” That means integrity is a lifelong task. History shows us there will always be a few who are incorrigible and unteachable, and maybe even oblivious of what they are doing wrong. Even the best intentioned, most principled people have ethical lapses occasionally. But the great majority wants to act ethically. Unfortunately, among this majority, some number can be swayed to act against their better nature if they perceive that being honorable puts them at a financial or a career disadvantage.
Mike Ruettgers, “ Responsibility Lies In Leadership,” Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. 70, Issue 5 (12/15/2003).
SmartLeaders are committed to a life of integrity. Yale University Professor Stephen Carter has called integrity “The First Virtue.” Before a leader can achieve true success in any area there must be a commitment to strive for integrity. Influence, success, achievement and soundness are all dependent on a leader’s commitment to integrity.
Searcy Nelson, Thinking About Integrity,
“Integrity. Without integrity you are dead as a leader . . . and it’s going to be true throughout your career.”
Noel Tichy, Leadership Starts With Integrity,
“There are still CEOs who won’t sacrifice long-term interests for short-term gains, financiers who walk away from unethical deals, consultants who level with their clients no matter what, athletes who won’t endorse useless products, and professors who refuse to bend the truth as expert witnesses. These are people for whom integrity and self-respect are basic values—absolute needs— that are not open to negotiation”
Robert Simons, Henry Mintzberg, and Kunal Basu, “Memo to: CEOs,” Fast Company (June 2002), <http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/59/ceo.html> (11/01/2004), 117.
“For executive leaders, character is framed by drive, competence, and integrity. Most senior executives have the drive and competence necessary to lead. But too often organizations elevate
people who lack the moral compass. I call them `destructive achievers.’ They are seldom evil people, but by using resources for no higher purpose than achievement of their own goals, they often diminish the enterprise. Such leaders seldom last, for the simple reason that without all three ingredients— drive, competence, and moral compass—it is difficult to engage others and sustain meaningful results.”
Warren Bennis, The Leadership Advantage,
< http://www.pfdf.org/leaderbooks/l2l/spring99/bennis.html> (6/15/2004).
2. Leadership And Stories
“Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.”
Dr. Howard Gardner, Professor, Harvard University, and Author of Leading Minds
You might think that a degree in business, or better yet, an MBA, is needed to become a leader—wrong!
I have both, but when I got my first supervisory job, I realized how little I knew about what it took to be a good leader.
Look at the business leaders sited in the book Lessons From The Top. 1 A random sampling of ten shows the following in Table 2.1.
Only 2 out 10 have MBAs or business degrees. Of course a business degree helps but it doesn’t guarantee that you will become a leader.
What I do remember from my course with Peter Drucker was his telling stories about how Alfred Sloan led General Motors to a transformation. He also told stories about his own development—when he was a young manager he learned how never to surprise your boss.
Stories stay with you because they involve people and how they deal with real problems and issues.
Look at the best books in business—they all include stories or anecdotes about real business issues. As Thomas A. Stewart puts it, “Nothing serves a leader better than a knack for narrative. Stories anoint role models, impart values, and show how to execute indescribably complex tasks.”2
We think that story telling in business is an effective but greatly underused technique. According to Charlotte Linde, a linguist at Stanford University and the Institute for Research on Learning in Menlo Park, Calif., stories of identity help organizations bring in new members, adapt to change, and, crucially, define who is “us” (and who “them”) and why we’re here. She adds: “Stories play a big role in institutional memory–they are the principal means by which groups remember.”3
Stories are such potent carriers of values and memory and similar stories sometimes show up in more than one company. For instance, many companies share the story of the day an underling stops the boss from breaking a rule. In the IBM version, Tom Watson praises the security guard who forces him to go back for his identification. But when a Revlon receptionist won’t let Charles Revson walk off with a sign-in sheet, he fires her. In one company the moral is, we obey rules; in the other, We obey rulers.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Notice what happens when people hear the words, “I’m going to tell you a story.” They relax. They open up. They listen. They become neurologically receptive to new Information and new possibilities. The result of that state is that people retain more of what they hear, they internalize it and take it to “usability” more effectively.4
We agree with Michael Hattersley, who in his Harvard Business Review article says, “Too often, we make the mistake of thinking of business as a matter of pure rational calculation, something that in a few years computers will handle better than humans. One hears this in conference room and corridor: “What do the numbers indicate?” “Just give me the facts.” “Let’s weigh the evidence and make the right decision.” And yet, truth to tell, few talents are more important to managerial success than knowing how to tell a good story.”5
HOW COMPANIES ARE USING STORIES
- 3M company is currently using stories as part of its business planning to generate excitement and commitment. Their strategic stories set the stage, introduce dramatic conflict and outline the challenges the company is facing, and reach a resolution, which outlines the or-ganization’s approach to the future.
- IBM preps its executives on how to get just the right kinds of stories to tell and retell.
- Physician Sales & Service (PSS) employees chuckle whenever their CEO tells a story about a bad bank relationship. And they learn, or relearn, an important lesson: No matter how badly other people treat you, no matter how confident you get about your future, never burn your bridges. The power of this story inside PSS also offers a lesson about leadership itself: In the new world of business, where it’s every executive’s job to make sense of a fast-changing environment, storytelling is the ultimate leadership tool.
- Noel Tichy in workshops with clients such as Ameritech, Royal Dutch/Shell, Coca-Cola, and US West. Business leaders, he says, need “a teachable point of view—a set of ideas about success in the marketplace and a set of values based on personal and organizational success.” The best way to communicate that point of view is through a story”6
- The Corporate Story can be used in a number of ways. Human Resource Departments can include it in their orientation package, sharing with new employees all the hopes, struggles, and accomplishments the company has undergone over the years. This gives employees a sense of belonging, a feeling of being a part of something that has substance, and that in turn gives them a sense of security and pride. Corporate stories are also ideal sales and marketing tools, giving customers interesting, historical background information they might otherwise never know. In addition, corporate stories are excellent morale boosters, as they show that the contributions made by the “elders” of the company continue to be valued to this day. What new employee wouldn’t want to give their all to a company that honors its past employees in such a way ? 7
- Hewlett-Packard is a company that recognizes the power of stories. Most everyone at HP has heard about the time that Bill Hewlett found the door to the supply room locked, snapped it open with a bolt cutter, and left a note reading, “Don’t ever lock this door again.” It’s a great lesson in prizing trust as well as order. Or about the time that Dave Packard toured an HP factory, saw a cheap, thin prototype for a new product, twisted it into a mangled ball, and declared it “a hunka junk.” It’s a great lesson in prizing quality as well as cost8
- At Patagonia, an outdoor-sports apparel company in Ventura, California, customer storytellers surf at the “Point,” right outside the front door of headquarters. Founder Yvon Chouinard, who spends at least six months a year at the ends of the earth testing his com-pany’s gear himself, has made a point of hiring several of these customers so they could share their war stories in-house. He refers to them affectionately as his “dirtbags,” people who spend so much time outside that it shows under their fingernails.
- Honest Tea in Bethesda, Md., is a purveyor of loose and bagged teas. It differentiates itself by exploring its roots at its web site. The “Our Story” section of the site describes how the company came up with the idea and started the business. “We know from our market research that people want to know more than just about a product, they want to know about the story of the company,” says co-founder Seth Goldman.
A positive example of corporate story telling is one where the head of British Airlines took over a few years ago. One of the first things he did was go to the airport and take a flight. The first-class area was full and the reservations staff was going to move someone out of first class to give him a seat. He said, “No, no. These are people that have paid for tickets. Give me what-ever’s available.” The only available seat was one in the last row that did not even recline. He took it. The former CEO would never have done something like that. When he was on board, the flight attendant rushed back to him with magazines and said, “Well, we’ve got a few magazines.” The CEO said, “Give it to the paying customers first. If there’s anything left, I’ll take it at the end.” Of course, there was nothing left. That story went through the company in seconds. It was recounted over and over as if it had happened last week. What kind of message does that give? Obviously, that the customer comes first. This story accentuated all of the communications the company was doing.
HOW TO TELL STORIES
Here are some guidelines from Stephen Denning who is with the Storytelling Foundation In-ternational.9
Stories should be told from the perspective of a single protagonist . Stories with multiple protagonists are more difficult to win sympathy for than stories with a single protagonist.
The story should have a degree of strangeness or incongruity for the listeners. The story must, in a sense, violate the listener’s perceptual frameworks in some way. It should arouse their curiosity.
The story must not only be strange, but also eerily familiar. If the story is too exotic, it will fail to spring the listeners to a new level of understanding of their own situations.
The story should, to the extent possible, be a true story. Where the story is true, there is greater credibility that it is worth listening to.
The story should be told as simply and as briefly as possible.
Michael Hattersley, in his Harvard Business Review article and Elizabeth Weil, Every
Leader Tells A Story, offers these guidelines:
Opening Strategies—Getting Their Attention
- Demonstrate that there’s a defining value at stake. Begin with a vivid concrete image. Avoid too much detail or you will lose your readers. Put the familiar in a new light—By creating a new perception of the situation, you signal that you’re setting out on an adventure that the audience should want to join.
Building Strategies—Holding Their Attention
- Convey a clear sense of direction. Once you’ve defined the central thrust of your argument, identify the issues you’ll need to cover to reach a conclusion.
- Overcome obstacles—confronting and then overcoming obstacles to the achievement of your common goal can inject the excitement of an adventure story
- Maintain suspense—By vividly defining the challenge to be met, you can generate suspense about how it can be resolved.
- Portray character in action—Audiences usually identify more with people than they do with abstract ideas. Which means that sometimes it’s most effective to describe a proposal or situation in terms of its effect on a particular individual
Concluding Strategies—Driving the Point Home.
- A successful conclusion feels expected, complete and inevitable.
- Respect the audience’s expectations—Make sure you’ve condensed your argument into the minimum number of words possible without wandering or being too abrupt.
- Draw the lesson or moral—When your audience realizes you’re about to finish, their attention level goes up. Take advantage of heightened audience attention to drive your main point home, preferably in language as vivid as you used in the beginning.
- Point to the next steps—Most business communications carries with them a call to action. Once you’ve convinced an audience of the merits of your proposal, outline for it the specific actions necessary to reach what, by now, should be your common goal.
These are guidelines are meant to get you started. Not all stories will need to cover each guideline item but expect that any effective story will need cover the majority of these guidelines. Perhaps one more guideline should be added—have fun writing your stories.
Here is a story telling technique that you might want to use at your next group meeting. I found it on Fast Company Magazine’s website—thanks to Michael Buschmohle10
Here’s a four-part formula for telling or analyzing stories.
Somebody . . . (a person, actor, group)
wanted . . . (what this person sought, desired, yearned for)
but . . . (complication, obstacle, conflict)
so . . . (resolution, climax, outcome, learning)
This makes a great learning tool in a group: ask one person to create a “somebody,” next person add a “wanted,” and so on. Lively stories and high energy emerge.
Some final thoughts—Before human beings settled into farms and cities, and began lives of relative predictability, they gathered at night around campfires and told stories. Through those stories they learned from one another. They learned the signs that might tell them where the game hid, they learned of places where roots and tubers might grow, they learned where fresh water was to be found and where honey bees hid. And they learned, as well, of triumphing through cunning and courage, or sacrifices made by parents for children, of the power of love, of overcoming fear Millennia later we find ourselves in the era of the New Economy. We struggle with complex work and life issues. Telling stories is once again a powerful technique to help us cope. (From The Living Story by Karen V. Bading, Janet E. Crawford and Lisa J. Marshall)11
LEADERSHIP STORIES QUOTES
By now you know that we strongly believe that storytelling is a powerful leadership tool.
If you need more to convince you about the importance of telling stories to advance your leadership capabilities, we’ve quoted some inspiring storytelling statements drawn from a variety of sources. A common theme is that stories reach the hearts and minds of people who are overwhelmed with information, don’t relate to slick presentations and mistrust much of the communications from senior mangers.
Every individual life contains characters, plots, scripts and a host of other ingredients found in a good story. When we forget this truth, we lose an important interpretive tool for discerning direc-tion and creating meaning both personally and organizationally.
David Fleming, “Narrative leadership: using the power of stories,”
Strategy & Leadership 29, 42001, p 34–36.
A leader’s story conveys the lessons of experience—theirs and others. Its power is that a story wraps the two central facets of leader learning, character and capability, into a memorable and practical package ripe for action.
Ray Blunt, “Leaders and Stories: Growing the Next Generation, Conveying Values, and Shaping Character,” The Public Manager, 3/22/2001.
First, we acknowledge the value of learning from experience and regularly invite class participants to share their stories of leadership with each other. These narratives, in turn, provide an experiential platform upon which we, as teachers, can begin to help learners recognize the theories and concepts that are implicit in their own understandings and practices of leadership.
Jennifer Grant Haworth, Dane A. Delli, and Madeline M. Hafner, “How to Hand Off the Gold Ring of Leadership, Loyola Magazine (Summer 2001), <http://www.luc.edu/publications/loyolamag/summer2001/leadership.htm>.
Telling a meaningful story means inspiring your listeners—co-workers, leaders, subordinates, family, or a bunch of strangers—to reach the same conclusions you have reached and decide for themselves to believe what you say and do what you want them to do. People value their own conclusions more highly than yours. They will only have faith in a story that has become real for them personally. Once people make your story, their story, you have tapped into the powerful force of faith. Future influence will require very little follow-up energy from you and may even expand as people recall and re-tell your story to others.
Annette Simmons, “The Six Stories You Need to Know How to Tell,” <http://www.storytellingcenter.com/resources/articles/simmons.htm>.
There is so much we need to know and to teach in an information-driven society. But sometimes, we get “too full” of facts to care anymore. Apathy can set in. Storytelling is a way to cut through the apathy that comes with information overload. As audiences grow weary of reports, manuals, texts, and lectures, those who are charged with leading others are often at a loss at how to “get through” tired and bored brains.
Virginia Creveling, “Storytelling & Leadership” (syllabus), <http://trc.ucdavis.edu/trc/freshSem/w04/creveling_virginia.html>.
Storytelling is an interesting, proven, and inexpensive way of communicating memorable messages. People like to hear stories, and they tend to repeat them. In business as well as in other settings, storytelling works as a useful technique to
- capture people’s attention
- send a message people will remember
- establish rapport
- build credibility
- bring a team closer together.
Karin B. Evans and Dennis Metzger, “Leadership Through Storytelling,” Info-line, No. 0006 (Nov. 2000), <http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4467/is_11_54/ai_67590804>.
Forget about PowerPoint and statistics. To involve people at the deepest level, you need stories. Mckee, Robert, “Storytelling That Moves People”, Harvard Business Review (June 2003) p 51.
Is there a place for stories in today’s corporate world? Clearly, presenting data alone is not enough and too often detracts from the objective. Gardner quotes no less an authority than IBM CEO Louis V. Gerstner: “You’ve got to appeal to people’s emotions. They’ve got to buy in with their hearts and beliefs, not just their minds.”
Howard Gardner (interviewed), “What Leaders Have In Common,” Effective Leaders Use Storytelling, <http://ecglink.com/newsletter/incommon.shtml>.
Because stories and legends have the power to inspire, to convince, to educate and to motivate— as we have seen, these are powerful tools for the leader in a technological environment to be able to build a culture and promote his vision and mission for his company—a company must give it- self the means to develop and share a clear vision for the men and women working in it. Great leaders develop this vision by instinct or intent, relating stories and legends whose main theme is what the Anglo-Saxons call the ‘centrally relevant’—in other words, “a story addressed to everyone.” This type of story and legend indeed motivates and stimulates the imagination.
Loïck Roche, “Stories And Storytelling: An Example Of Best Practice Of Leadership In A High-Tech Environment,” Business Leadership Review (October 2004), <http://www.mbaworld.com/blrarticle.php?article=11&page=1>.
“Certainly, the ability to tell the right story at the right time is emerging as an essential leadership skill, one that can help managers cope with, and get business results in, the turbulent world of the twenty-first century.”
Steve Denning, “Telling Tales,” Harvard Business Review (May 2004).
Much of the intellectual capital of an organisation is not written down anywhere but resides in the minds of the staff. Communicating this knowhow across an organisation and beyond typically occurs informally, through the sharing of stories.
Marcus Evans, “High-value Organisational Storytelling,” (27th August 2004), <http://www.marcusevans.com.au/pdf/tr88.pdf>.
Stories fit that narrative level, and manage to touch it on four different levels: physical, mental, emotional, and the human spirit. Good stories can bring out an actual reaction that bullet points can’t—laughter or smiles at something funny, or a personal connection when the story reminds them of something in their own lives. More than that though, a story with upheaval and depth can stir people into action.
Les Chappell, “Storytelling makes a comeback in an unlikely place,” Wisconsin Technology Network (09/13/04), <http://www.wistechnology.com/article.php?id=1182>.
If you’re tired of internal competition, for instance, and you hear a story about people from different departments who left their silos to team up on a project, start telling it and retelling it. If you want to nurture greater risk-taking, tell a story about an employee who tried a new approach to an old process, failed, tried again, failed again, then finally succeeded. If you want people to be more open with each other, get things started by telling a story about yourself—like that saga from your teen years, when your first boss at your first job had to leave for an afternoon and put you in charge of the whole operation.
“When you begin to talk in stories,” Simmons says, “your black-and-white words turn into color. Your drab requests turn into a mission. People find you to be more compelling. And once that happens, others will see that stories work, and they’ll start telling stories, too.”
So what are you waiting for? Start telling.
Tom Terez, What Works: The Business of Storytelling, <http://www.workforce.com/archive/feature/23/22/16/index.php>.
1. Manfred Kets de Vries, The Leadership Mystique (Pearson, 2001), 212.
2. Howard Adamsky, “A New Day for American Leadership/Integrity Revisited”, Recruiters Network, <http://www.recruitersnetwork.com/articles/article.cfm?ID=1379> (6/9/2004).
3. Anne-Birte Stensgaard, “Golin/Harris trust survey finds 69 percent of Americans say ‘I just don’t know whom to trust anymore,” Options, <http://www.ameinfo.com/news/Detailed/16892.html> (6/9/ 2004).
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10. Ken Shelton, Beyond Counterfeit Leadership: How You Can Become a More Authentic Leader, (Executive Excellence Publishing, September 1, 1997), ix.
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13. Komisarjevsky, Christopher (Speech at Ball State University, October 3, 2002).
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1. Lessons From The Top , Meet The Leaders, <http://www.lessonsfromthetop.com/lftt/leaders/> (6/10/2004).
2. Thomas Stewart, The Cunning Plots Of Leadership, <http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc0 .asp?docid=1G1:21040156&refid=ink_g5s2&skeyword=&teaser= >(6/7/2004).
3. Marian Their, Using Storytelling to Create Powerful Problem Definitions, <http://www.thinksmart .com/2/conv2000/thierarticle.html> (6/10/2004).
4. Karen V. Bading, Janet L. Crawford and Lisa J. Marshall, “The Living Story,” <http://www .smartworkco.com/pdf/the_living_story.pdf> (6/10/2004).
5. Hattersley, Michael, “The Managerial Art of Telling a Story,” Harvard Management Update (January 1997).
6. Elizabeth Weil, Every Leader Tells A Story, <http://pf.fastcompany.com/magazine/15/rftf.html> (6/10/2004).
7. Haley & DiMaggio Newsletter (Volume 1, Number 1).
8. Elizabeth Weil, Every Leader Tells A Story, <http://www.fastcompany.com/online/15/rftf.html> (6/10/2004).
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10. “Sound Off—Every Leader Tells A Story,” <http://www.fastcompany.com/soundoff/reader_ comment.html?cid=25> (6/10/2004).
11. Karen V. Bading, Janet L. Crawford and Lisa J. Marshall, “The Living Story,” <http://www .infrasonicsco.com/Images/The%20Living%20Story.pdf> (6/4/2004), 2.
- Quote paper
- Ed Konczal (Author)Jeannette Galvanek (Author), 2005, Simple Stories For Leadership Insights in the New Economy, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/125486