Tag Archive for: Leadership

In his groundbreaking book Good to Great, Jim Collins introduced the world to the concept of “Level 5 Leadership.”

At the time, I was five years into my tenure as CEO of a fledgling social purpose

real estate venture known as More Than A Roof. 

This concept resonated deeply and made an indelible impression on me.

I made it my mission to be an ever-learning student and practitioner of Level 5 Leadership.

Here’s how Collins’ 5 Levels are summarised as a quick recap.

 

Level 1:

You are a competent individual. Your leadership starts with your good individual skills. You make productive contributions through your talent, knowledge, skills, and good working habits.

Level 2:

You are a committed team member. Your leadership involves excellent team skills. You contribute your individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and work effectively with others in a group setting.

Level 3:

You are a competent manager. As a leader, you develop and practice excellent management skills. You organize people and resources to effectively and efficiently pursue predetermined goals.

Level 4:

You are recognized as an effective leader. Your leadership means demonstrating a commitment to and pursuing a clear, compelling vision and stimulating higher performance standards.

Level 5:

You are a top executive. You build enduring greatness at the highest leadership level through a curious blend of personal humility and professional will, becoming the key to creating a great organization.

Here’s the Kicker!

Based on Collins’ extensive research, organizations spearheaded by Level 5 leaders consistently outperform their sector by a margin of three to one over time.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that kind of result?

 

The Professional Leader Vs. Amateur Difference 

Based on all the above, here are some hallmarks of Level 5 Professionalism 

 

Personal Humility vs. Ego-Driven Leadership

Level 5 leaders have earned and learned a measure of personal humility. In fact, they are known for their humility. They credit others and external factors for success while taking personal responsibility for failures.

They recognize that they don’t know what they don’t know, and this humility is blended with intense professional will.

This particular combination of qualities fosters a genuineness that shines through and attracts people to a cause.

I’ve found that true pros do not aspire to become larger-than-life personalities or unreachable icons.

On the other hand, amateur leaders often rely on a more ego-driven, self-serving style that is all about personal recognition and credit.

Focus on Lasting Legacy vs. Short-Term Results

Level 5 pros aim to create a lasting legacy and work towards the organization’s long-term success. It’s a bigger vision that will carry over and continue to grow after their departure.

They foster an organizational culture that supports the long-term vision.

Amateurs often have a default mindset that relies on personal gain or short-term wins that serve a personal agenda.

While there certainly are situations that call for immediate short-term results, having that as a primary strategy doesn’t work.

Developing Successors vs. Maintaining Power

Level 5 leaders select and develop superb successors, wanting their organization to become even more successful well into the future. Succession planning and consistent leadership development are top of mind.

Other leaders may focus more on maintaining their power and influence within the organization.

Beyond these broad-stroke Level 5 mindsets and approaches, there are innumerable Amateur Vs Professional Comparisons.

 Curated from a Farnham Street Blog

 Here are some of my favourites :

  • Amateurs focus on dividing the pie. Professionals focus on growing the pie.
  • Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just a launchpad for the next step.
  • Amateurs are reactive. Professionals are proactive.
  • Amateurs want to win the moment. Professionals want to win the decade.
  • Amateurs wait for someone to recognize their positional, tap them on the shoulder, and give them an ample opportunity. Professionals go show people what they are capable of with no expectations.
  • Amateurs are kind-of -in. Professionals are all-in.
  • Amateurs focus on the outcome. Professionals focus on the process.
  • Amateurs believe they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circle of competence.
  • Amateurs see feedback and coaching as someone criticizing who they are. Professionals know they have blind spots and seek out thoughtful criticism.
  • Amateurs value doing it once. Professionals value doing it consistently.
  • Amateurs rely on willpower. Professionals focus on creating an environment that turns desired behaviours into success habits.
  • Amateurs wait until they feel like it. Professionals do it when they don’t feel like it.
  • Amateurs show up to practice to have fun. Professionals realize that what happens in practice happens in games.
  • Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and partnering with people who are strong where they are weak.
  • Amateurs predict. Professionals position.
  • Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice.
  • Amateurs focus on being right. Professionals focus on obtaining the best outcomes
  • Amateurs worry about what they see. Professionals worry about what they can’t see.
  • Amateurs focus on expedience. Professionals know that haste can make waste.
  • Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long-term.

Amateurs focus on putting other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.

Professionalism In Leadership Summary

To summarize, Level 5 Leadership over time cultivates a culture of success and innovation, fosters excellence, promotes responsibility and accountability and wins loyalty.

There you have it!

Until next time.

Questions?  Comments?

Shoot me a note. I read all my emails and respond as I can.

 

 

 

Note: This is not the actual bridge in my story, but a very close facsimile.

 It happened some years ago but it was an adventure I’ll never forget. I was exploring a rugged and remote part of my province. My trusty truck was pulling hard in the steep terrain, and my fuel supply was dwindling.

My map showed me an alternate route that would get me back to civilization (and fuel) much sooner than going back the way I came. It meant crossing a fairly large river, but the map showed a bridge – so no problem, right?

It was almost nightfall when I got to the river. Guess what – the road led right onto a timber railway bridge!

I felt that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My heart rate went up a notch.

This required some “thinking about it.”

Pulling aside, I made myself a cup of tea. Somehow that helped.

Looking more closely, the rails had 2×6 planks installed on either side to accommodate vehicle traffic should anyone be nutty enough to attempt a crossing.

 I started “walking the plank” on either side of the rail to check if it was sturdy enough. It seemed to be.

There’s no turning around or backing up with the truck, camper and loaded trailer on that narrow plank. Not an option.

There were no guardrails. The slightest deviance from the plank could tip the whole rig into the swift flowing waters.

My next thought was, “What if an oncoming train happens?”

Somewhere in a Western movie, some guy would always put their ear on the track to determine an oncoming train.

It worked in the movies, so I decided to try it. Nothing to be heard.

Taking a deep breath, I started the engine, aligned with the track, and started slowly and carefully inching across.

It was the longest twelve minutes of my life, my heart thumping every moment of the way.

In retrospect, as sketchy as it was, I had to trust that the bridge would get me from here to there.

I had to trust my driving skills to not go off the rails.

 I had to accept a reasonable risk of no oncoming train.

Trust is the cornerstone for building relationships and running our businesses.

It’s like a bridge, connecting us to others, facilitating communication and collaboration, and strengthening our bond.

It allows us to traverse the otherwise vast chasm of unfamiliarity, misunderstanding, and insecurity.

Just like many types of physical bridges get us from here to there, types of Trust can be viewed on a continuum.

At the one end there’s a tightrope which only allows fragile, one-way traffic. This might represent a relationship or business venture just beginning to build Trust. Next would be suspension bridge, or a hastily erected Bailey bridge over a washout and so on.

At the far end, a substantial, four-lane bridge accommodates high-speed, multi-directional traffic.

This could symbolize a well-established relationship or a successful business partnership where Trust is deeply ingrained and mutual.

Here are a few examples.

The Fragile Tightrope: Picture a trust bridge resembling a tightrope, swaying precariously with each step. This delicate construction permits only one-way traffic, making it essential to tread carefully. In relationships where Trust is fragile, any misstep or breach can easily send the participant tumbling down. It’s like walking on eggshells, constantly second-guessing intentions and actions. This kind of trust bridge limits openness and can create an atmosphere of suspicion.

The Swinging Suspension Bridge: Moving along the trust bridge continuum, we encounter a swinging suspension bridge. This structure allows for limited two-way traffic, enabling communication and interaction. Although the bridge may sway with the winds of doubt or uncertainty, Trust remains intact, albeit with some wobbles. It requires continuous efforts to maintain balance and address concerns promptly.  

The Substantial Highway:  This is the trust bridge at its strongest—a steel and concrete four-lane highway built to withstand the tests of time and traffic. This bridge enables fast and reliable connections, fostering openness, collaboration, and mutual respect. Trust on this scale allows for smooth two-way traffic, ensuring effective communication and meaningful relationships.

When the Trust Bridge Becomes Blocked, Compromised, or Broken: Just as real bridges can encounter roadblocks, detours, or even collapse, trust bridges also face challenges. When Trust becomes blocked, it obstructs the flow of communication and understanding. Misunderstandings, unfulfilled promises, and hidden agendas can lead to a traffic jam of emotions.

When a Bridge Collapses: The immediate feeling is denial and disbelief. You’re caught off-guard, especially if the bridge had appeared solid and sturdy. You may stand incredulous on one side of the chasm, wondering how such a sturdy structure could fall so unexpectedly.

Anger soon follows, kindled by the hurt of betrayal and fanned by resentment towards the person who let you down and perhaps even towards yourself for not seeing the signs.

The broken bridge also leads to anxiety, as you’re stranded, unable to reach the other side, unsure how to rebuild or find another way. Thoughts of lashing out might bubble up, but they only lead to more destruction and less resolution.

Financial damage might occur, especially if the trust bridge was between business partners or in a marital relationship where finances were intertwined.

Moreover, the stress caused by a betrayal of Trust can manifest as physiological symptoms such as loss of sleep or appetite. In some cases, individuals may even resort to thoughts of self-harm or harming others, showing the severity of the psychological impact of broken Trust.

In its aftermath, a bridge that once stood firm may be left in ruins. Moreover, the relationship might be terminated, as rebuilding a fallen bridge takes more energy and resources than building a new one.

The effects of this broken Trust may spill over into other relationships, contaminating them.

As a result, you might start questioning other bridges, even those that are well-built and sturdy, casting doubts on their stability.

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Stephen R. Covey

To mitigate these adverse effects, it is crucial to diligently maintain our bridges of Trust. Frequent checks and balances, open communication, and mutual respect are the pillars that uphold these bridges.

 Friedrich Nietzsche once said:

 “I’m not upset that you lied to me; I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

Therefore, let’s work to keep our bridges strong because they are not quickly rebuilt once broken.

However, even when a trust bridge breaks, it’s essential to remember that it’s not the end of the road.

It’s a lesson, a warning sign that helps us build stronger, more resilient bridges in the future.

 “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” Isaac Newton

So, let’s focus on building bridges of Trust, nurturing and maintaining them because, ultimately, these bridges connect us.

Without them, we are but islands in a vast sea.

Until Next Time.

Hey – If you found this article helpful, you might also enjoy this one

(Just click on this title)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I saved this Times article, not really knowing why.
Maybe it’s because I’m a total leadership geek and try to absorb everything I can on this topic.

Ambitiously named “Project Oxygen”, the mission, as reported in the New York Times, was to build better leaders. After combing through internal performance reviews, feedback surveys, and other data-rich metrics, they distilled what makes good leadership down to 8 bullet points.
Read about it here: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/business/13hire.html


Given the massive, high profile unrest of Google employees over the last year, it raises the question “How’s that Oxygen Leadership thing going over there in Google-ville?”  Resignations and protest walkouts have taken place over a range of frustrations from particular ethical concerns over the use of artificial intelligence in drone warfare to broader worries about Google’s political decisions—and the erosion of user trust that could result from these actions. A $90m payout to a top exec. under murky circumstances didn’t help matters.


I don’t need Google. My wife (or husband) knows everything!
– Anonymous 


Historically, Google has promoted an open culture that encourages employees to challenge and debate product decisions. But some employees feel that their leadership is no longer attentive to their concerns, leaving them to face the fallout. “Over the last couple of months, I’ve been less and less impressed with the response and the way people’s concerns are being treated and listened to,” one employee who resigned said.

Below, is the comprehensive list of what Google came up with as recipe ingredients for effective leadership and management back in ’09 

1. Be a good coach
Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive.Have regular one-on-ones, presenting solutions to problems tailored to your employees’ specific strengths.

2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage
Balance giving freedom to your employees, while still being available for advice. Make “stretch” assignments to help the team tackle big problems.

3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being
Get to know your employees as people, with lives outside of work.Make new members of your team feel welcome and help ease their transition

4. Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented
Focus on what employees want the team to achieve and how they can help achieve it.Help the team prioritize work and use seniority to remove roadblocks.

5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
Communication is two-way: you both listen and share information.
Hold all-hands meetings and be straightforward about the messages and goals of the team. Help the team connect the dots.
Encourage open dialogue and listen to the issues and concerns of your employees.

6. Help your employees with career development

7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team

Even in the midst of turmoil, keep the team focused on goals and strategy.
Involve the team in setting and evolving the team’s vision and making progress toward it.

8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team
Roll up your sleeves and conduct work side by side with the team, when needed.
Understand the specific challenges of the work.

Really? That’s it? 
I’m having flashbacks of Steve Carell and The Office.

You’ve probably seen variations of this list before. Best-selling business tomes have been writing on these topics for years.
While I agree with all 8 points, it’s still kind of Leadership 101–ish. You know, the kind of info you can find in Leadership for Dummies. (which actually is pretty good)

Perhaps Google has reached such dizzying heights that the oxygen is running a bit thin. 
I get it that no one is asking my advice, however I can’t help but dive in with a few leadership pointers of my own. 

What about delivering on the bedrock of character? 
Deep respect, honesty, humility, being fair-minded, kind-hearted with a serving others mindset are all essential.

What about delivering on trust?
Trust is to an organization what oil is to a car engine. It keeps the moving parts from seizing up and stopping forward motion.
But trust is not something you can take for granted. It takes months—sometimes years—to build. Unfortunately, you can lose it overnight.

What about soft skills? 
There’s still a lot of buy-in on the prevailing stereotypical Type -A hard-chargers in today’s get stuff done business environment.  leadership is actually about soft skills such as empathy, listening, understanding motivation, communicating, and the like. 
Even St. Brene’, the reigning queen of touchy-feely, is weighing in on leadership with her latest offering, Dare to Lead.

What about deep listening? 
Richard Branson purportedly makes this a priority in his personal leadership style. You’d think he’d be front and center at each executive team meeting, but no, he prefers to listen quietly, making notes and contribute only when he has something to say. 

What about aspiring and inspiring?
It’s not just about getting things done. It’s about making things happen.  A great leader makes things happen by inspiring, encouraging, and enabling others to act toward a compelling common vision.
One of my most trusted resources on leadership wisdom is the business classic, the Leadership Challenge. Authors Kouzes and Posner make the point that the content of great leadership doesn’t change, however the context of leadership is constantly changing.  The increased pace of change of the 21st century with all the complexities it brings, is the new normal.

That’s one of the reasons I dubbed my monthly memo “Hey, What’s Next?”
Figuring out what needs to happen next and navigating the new normal is a deeply personal leadership challenge for myself and those I serve.

One comforting takeaway from all this?  It’s good to know that the biggest and the best wrestle with the leadership issues that you and I face on a daily basis.

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” 
― Neil Gaiman



Rock- on Google! We all use your services every day. Don’t take us for granted.


I’d be delighted if you drop me a text or a note to let me know how things are going and what’s happening for you these days.

Here to help.

Lorne  (604 617 4707)

lorne@lorneepp.com

P.S. Do you know a friend, a colleague, or family member who would enjoy this article? If so please click on this link.

June Habit Challenge:

Start Your Morning With Intention


 
Change is hard. You’ve probably noticed that.

We all want to become better people and do better at life — live stronger and healthier, be more creative and more skilled, be a better friend or family member.

Even if we get totally inspired and start doing things better, it’s tough to actually stick to new behaviors. Odds are that this time next year you’ll be doing the same thing rather than performing a new habit with ease.

Habits are our personal travel companions in the journey of life. They can be our friend or our foe. Make us or break us.

It’s a well-document fact that people who are highly effective, do some things differently than most others. 

This month’s habit challenge. Start each day with an intentional morning and habits that inspire you. 

Me, I like to start each day early with quiet time and a gratitude meditation accompanied with some good strong coffee. I review my three words for the year and think through how to apply them to this day’s activities. Often I’ll read from sources that are personally thought-provoking, encouraging or inspiring. Finally, I’ll jot down the main things I want to accomplish this day. 

I refuse to open a device or check emails etc. until I’ve done my routine and feel good about the possibilities of each new day. That’s when I feel ready.

This is a lot of habit all rolled into one, an intentional morning.

Some people roll out of bed and start their day with a jog or a workout. Others like to spend a bit of time with their kids. There’s no “one size fits all” here.Drop me a not

For the month of June, I challenge you to design your morning. Start small, but start with intention.

How about you?
Have you ever managed to gain an inspiring morning habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?
Drop me a note – I’d love to hear about it.