Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Build on Strengths

Many years ago, I had an important conversation with Joe Batten, author of 18 books, 38 films, and one of the first professional speakers voted into the Speakers Hall of Fame. Joe, the man who coined the phrase “Be all you can be” for the Army, shared with me that the key to leadership is “to build on strengths.”

Tom Rath and and Barry Conchie in their recent book, Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, Gallup, 2008, note that based on Gallup research there are four domains of leadership strength. They are as follows:

- Executing: knowing how to make things happen.

- Influencing: helping their team reach a broader audience.... and selling the team’s ideas inside and outside the organization.

- Relationship Building: the essential glue that holds a team together.

- Strategic Thinking - keeping us focused on what we could be.

Our challenge this fall is that we must build on the strengths of our key people, particularly those in leadership positions. Given the current economy, the changing needs and expectations of clients and customers, the amount of competitive pressure, plus the importance that the four domains mentioned above have on culture and brand identity, we need leaders and leadership teams to be strong and getting stronger.

The first step in this process is to ask ourselves “do we have the right people on the right seats on the bus?” If so, then how can we groom this talent to become better? If not, do we have strong internal candidates who can fill these positions?

Research by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in the book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, HarperBusiness, 1994, shows that home-grown management is vital to being a visionary company. When there is a track record of continuity in top management, there is a continuity of leadership excellence within the company. As they write, “Simply put, our research leads us to conclude that it is extraordinarily difficult to become and remain a highly visionary company by hiring top management from outside the organization. Equally important, there is absolutely no inconsistency between promoting from within and stimulating significant change.... The key is to develop and promote insiders who are capable of stimulating healthy change and progress, while preserving the core.”

One way to develop homegrown talent is to enroll them in the 2012 From Vision to Action Leadership Training. This year long course is designed to help people become better in the areas of leadership, strategic planning and execution, and organizational change. Through a challenging, interactive curriculum which blends lectures, small and large group discussions, and how to skill-building exercises, participants gain knowledge and skills through an immersion into research, current issues and real time solutions.

For more information on the dates, location, price and how to enroll in the 2012 From Vision to Action Leadership Training please click on the following link: http://www.chartyourpath.com/VTA-Training-Details.html

For over a decade, this in-depth training program has helped participants become effective leaders, capable of building on personal and organizational strengths. Great leaders and great teams are the foundation of visionary companies. Now is the time to start building for the future.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope you can join us in 2012.

Geery Howe, M.A.Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer inLeadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational ChangeMorning Star Associates319 - 643 - 2257

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