Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Which Change Model Should You Pick?

From the Great Leadership mailbag:

First thing I want to say is that I love your blog ; so many interesting thoughts on leadership, and practical examples.
One topic I'd really like to have your view on is around leading change.
My company is willing to have a more structured model for change management and as head of OD I've been asked to provide recommendations to the CEO. The good thing is that leaders in my company are aware of the importance to lead change, but It's difficult to find one's way among all the existing methodologies and approaches built by consultants.
I'm sure you'd have interesting thoughts on this topic that would bring value to a lot of HR and OD practioners. What do you think?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Thanks in advance

I’m happy to address this question. OD practioners often find themselves in similar situations where their organizations are asking them to adopt one single change model. There’s a lot of merit to the “one model” approach. It’s a must for financial systems and marketing strategy, as well as softer things like values and leadership competencies. Using a common change model could help facilitate learning, consistency, and efficiency.

On the other hand, I’ve seen the quest for a single model taken to the extreme. In a previous large, global organization, it actually turned into silly turf wars. A LOT of energy was expended debating over whose model should be “the one”, as well as the “policing” of stamping out rouge models. I don’t think that kind of nonsense was helping the managers we were supposed to be supporting.

Given this, I could recommend a few change models that have served me well. When I say “served me well”, it means they actually made sense to managers and they actually used them with some success.

This is by no means meant to be a “top 10” list – there are way too many excellent models out there, and I’m in no position to declare which are the best. This is simply my own personal critique of some of the most widely used models.

1. Kotter’s 8 step model.
This one seems to be the most widely used; it’s the granddaddy of all change models. John Kotter has spent a career perfecting it, it’s very “teachable”, and it intuitively makes sense. I would say it may be a little too high level for a lot of front line managers - it seems to work better for planning large organizational changes.

2. Bridge’s Change model.
From the classic book on change by William Bridges, Managing Transitions, Making the Most of Change. I love this book! The primary model is “Endings, Transitions, and Beginnings”, but the book is chock full of other useful tools, checklists, and models, including the “Marathon Effect”. Individuals to senior managers always seem to be able to embrace these concepts and change their behaviors and implementation plans accordingly.

3. Kubler-Ross.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a classic book called “On Death and Dying” in 1969 in which she introduced a 5 stage grief model. A lot of OD practioners now use this 5 stage model to help explain the individual and emotional impact of change. While it’s spot on, I find it a bit depressing. “Good morning, today we’re going to be learning about leading change! Let’s start with a model on death and dying”. Anyway, it’s a classic and has withstood the test of time.

One of the simplest yet most powerful change models I’ve ever used is the Change Equation, developed by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher. Try whipping this model out the next time your team is planning or discussing a major change; it never fails to focus a team on what needs to be done and stimulate some lively discussion! See highlighted post for a further explanation.

5. The Personal Power Grid.
I really don’t know who to give credit to for this model I think I first came across in a Crisp book on change. The personal power grid plots control against action. You should take action in areas where you have control (Mastering). You should not take any action in areas where you do not have control (Letting Go). By focusing on what you control and letting go of what you do not, you will not miss opportunities (Giving Up) or waste your time (Spinning Wheels).
A highly respected general manager once stood up and gave an emotional testimonial to how using this model changed his life. Go figure. It’s a good one to draw on a flipchart when people start whining and you want to focus them in a constructive way.

6. Kurt Lewin Change Model.
Kurt Lewin developed a three stage theory of change commonly referred to as Unfreeze, Change, Freeze (or Refreeze). A lot of OD practioners seem to just love this model, and can take it to the deepest levels of discussion and application. I haven’t had as much success trying to get managers to use it. I have used his Force-Field Analysis, but managers sometimes laugh at the goofy name. It should be in your toolkit, but I wouldn’t recommend it as “the” model.

7. Peter Senge
No list of change models would be complete without mentioning Peter Senge. If you are going to hang out with OD folks, you must read the Fifth Discipline. I’ve read it – twice – as well as the companion Fieldbook.
However, I just don’t get Senge - he's too over my head. But gee, I sure do respect those that do. And chuckle at those that say they do and are really faking it, which I think are the majority.

8. Others:
I just had the pleasure of working with Professor James Clawson on a Managing Change executive development program we did for one of our clients. Jim uses his own change model, as well as others. Here are the one’s he referenced in addition to the one’s I’ve already listed:

- Michael Beer’s

- Tim Galloway’s

- MIT model

- James Prochaska’s

In summary, if I had to pick one change model to introduce to an organization, I’d probably take all of these and create my own. However, if you’re looking for a proven model, I’d start with Kotter, Bridges, or Beckhard and offer a few of the other ones as resources in a change toolbox. Then call me, and I’ll work with you to develop a world-class training program for your managers. (-:

How about hearing from readers? If you had to pick one change model, what would you recommend?

Monday, July 25, 2011

One More Time: It's the Leadership, Stupid!

Here's a guest post by Rich Wellins, Senior Vice President, Development Dimensions International (DDI):


Put 10 people in a room and ask them how they define leadership. Chances are, you’ll get a lively debate but not a lot of agreement. The word “leadership” can mean very different things to different people. Some believe that a leader’s key responsibility is to nourish and cultivate team members, while others believe that it is to drive growth and innovation. The reality, of course, is that both perspectives are true. Still, no matter how they define leadership, those 10 people will probably agree on one thing: Leadership makes a difference.

The difference between the impact that a top-performing leader and an average leader has on an organization is at least 50 percent, according to leaders participating in DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2011. In fact, this research demonstrates that organizations with the highest quality leaders were 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in key bottom-line metrics such as financial performance, quality of products and services, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction. Specifically, when leaders reported their organization’s current leadership quality as poor, only 6 percent of them were in organizations that outperformed their competition. Compare that with those who rated their organization’s leadership quality as excellent—78 percent were in organizations that outperformed their competition in bottom-line metrics.

In this study of 1,897 HR representatives and more than 12,000 leaders from 74 countries some of the global findings are:

Leader quality is low and hasn’t budged.

Only 1 out of 4 organizations (as rated by HR representatives) rated leadership quality as very good or excellent. With leaders themselves, a little more than 1 out of 3 three gave themselves and their peers high marks—consistent with the same study from two years ago, telling us that we’ve made very little progress. We also broke down the results geographically to see how some of the countries fared. In a comparison between China and India, India dramatically outperformed China, and was well above the global norms when it came to the quality of leadership.

Organizations are not confident in the future of their leaders.

A mere 18% rated the bench strength for the future as strong. As baby boomer retirements loom and organizations on the precipice of recovery and growth, confidence in the next generation of leaders should be much stronger. As one leader said: “We need to develop key talent for the future in a strategic way, not by default.” It can also be explained by the fact that while ‘identifying and developing future talent’ was rated as one of the top skills needed for leaders in the future, it was not rated as a top skill that was needed in the past, and a staggering 43 percent of leaders said they’re ineffective at doing this.

We’re falling down on innovation. Innovation rocketed up the list as a skill needed for the future, however, according to research from the Boston Consulting Group, the US is investing the least in innovation when compared to other countries around the world.

However, half of leaders rated themselves as ineffective at fostering creativity and innovation, the highest among all of the future necessary skills. One answer to this could be the high occurrence of leadership ‘derailers’ or dispositional qualities that HR identified were the most common personality shortcomings of leaders in their organization. The high occurrence of risk aversion, distrust and approval dependence, which were likely to be reinforced as a means of survival during the economic downturn, are qualities that will squash innovation.

Rigid management practices are holding organizations back.

When looking at Gary Hamel’s factors for management innovation, 6 out of 10 leaders said that key business decisions were made by those in power with little discussion, and more than half said they’re in organizations that are rigid, siloed or hierarchical. Why the concern over updating management practices? Organizations with effective management cultures were more than two and a half times more likely to have highly passionate leaders.

And we know passion is important because leaders in organizations with higher quality leadership were almost eight times more likely to report that the passion of their leaders is high.

So what do you think—how does leadership quality impact an organization?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kicking and Screaming to my First Podcast: Executive Onboarding

Up until recently I’ve turned down all offers to participate in podcasts or internet radio. Why? I’m not really sure. I always said I don’t have the time - which is always a lame excuse not to do something you don’t thing is worth your time.

I guess I’m just not into this kind of social media. I’ve yet to venture into the world of “vlogging”, or Youtube videos as well. A lot of what I’ve seen comes across as kind of cheesy.

There were two things that made me change my mind. First of all, now that my new job involves marketing executive development programs, I’m starting to use my personal brand (Great Leadership) to promote our stuff. So any time I can get “Whittemore School Executive Development” mentioned in the media (wasn’t that sneaky), it’s a good thing.
Unless I get arrested or involved in a scandal – that wouldn’t be so good.
The second reason is that one of my blogging friends, Art Petty, convinced me to give it a try. I admire bloggers like Art that are always trying out new ways to develop leaders, and I realize I need to keep up with the technology. I don’t want all that work I put into my blog to end up like the next Borders or Kodak.

Anyway, I actually did my first podcast with Art a couple weeks ago. He’s going to be starting a new podcast series on is blog, but I don’t want to ruin his announcement. I’ll let you know when it’s live - unless I don’t like it. Thankfully, Art has given me veto rights.
Once Art got me over the hump, I agreed to do another one for Human Resources IQ (HRIQ), a very cool online community for finding human resources information, discussing ideas about human resources, and sharing hr best practices. HRIQ has a wealth of HR articles, HR videos, online HR Seminars, live HR conferences and blogs, including my own.

The podcast is part of an HR Roundable series called “Achieving Sustainable Excellence Through Leadership Onboarding”. I had a blast rapping with bloggers Sylvia Lafair and Erika Lamont about onboarding new executives.
Onboarding new leaders is something I have a lot of passion for. About a year ago, I wrote a post called “How to Onboard a New Manager”. I tried to cram as many of those points into the podcast as I could, but I kept getting distracted by the great advice Sylvia and Erika were giving.

Go here to listen to it – it’s about 20 minutes. You’ll need to register for the site, but it’s free, and I think you’ll find the resources worthwhile.

What’s next for Great Leadership? Leadership “Planking” or"Owling"Stay tuned.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Leading Today’s Exodus Out of OZ

Guest post by Julie Overholt:

A $6.25 billion corporation brought me on board about five years ago to work with a director as his leadership coach. My assignment was to help him recover from losing a contract that he and his team were charged with pursuing.

As the lead on this objective, he held himself strictly accountable for the failure of this initiative. My role was to help him synthesize that experience and support him re-engaging into a new leadership role.  When I first met him, he felt very defeated and withdrawn.

Interviewing key stakeholders, I was amazed and touched at how his peers expressed total respect for how he leads. Repeatedly I heard his reputation to be: 

·       Very straightforward. Always know where you stand with him.

·       Incorporates everyone and treats them as a part of his team.

·       Clear thinker. Organized. Collaborative. Forthcoming. Egoless. Warm personality.

·       Encourages and holds people responsible.

·       Even tempered. Good or bad results are treated the same.

In addition, his peers told me that he took an impossible task further than anyone else could have. Their consensus: His people would “walk through fire for him” because they respect him that much.

Imagine my surprise when the president of this same organization told me, “That guy doesn’t have a leadership bone in his entire body!”

How does this kind of disconnect happen inside an organization? (We might also wonder, “What planet has this guy been living on?”)

Welcome to the land of the OZ workplace. Oz organizations embrace processes, policies, procedures, rules and regulations. They believe that rules should define people rather than people defining the rules.

In an OZ company, the leaders operate from behind a curtain of ego, entitlement and demands. It is typical, in an OZ company, for a CEO to be so clueless about the true leadership qualities of his top executives.

The younger Gen-Xers and Millennials — today’s emerging talent— have more professional latitude than any other generation and they know it. They are in no hurry to pledge their commitment to a cause that leaves them indifferent. They also aren’t eager to sell their talents and skills to an organization that’s going to marginalize them the way it did their parents.

The OZ company, in other words. The dysfunctional organization ruled by fear and exploitation instead of inspired by great leadership.  With four generations crowding the workplace, corporate disconnect and dysfunction are a global issue.

In contrast to OZ, leaders who build a respectful, loyal, and values-based organization attract and keep emotionally intelligent, self-motivated, and uniquely talented professionals. This type of environment will inspire all generations, not just the youngest.

This is leadership that moves into the future instead of looking to the past, and it is in high demand today. This is great leadership, helping all of us deal with the truth and realities of our unpredictable world.

The youngest members of the workforce have been immersed from birth in the need for a pragmatic reality. They have seen and accept that things don’t always work the way they are supposed to.

Ironically, it is exactly that pragmatic focus that leads the youngest Gen-Xers and the Millennials to walk out the door when they perceive they are in a no-win situation. They stick with something as long as it works, but it’s “game over” if it’s no longer working.

This attitude is not about lack of loyalty. It’s quite the contrary. Millennials are dedicated to what works, not to being right or knowing the truth of something.

Without great leaders who promote a healthy corporate culture, no company can survive for long. OZ-like dysfunction is not a sustainable corporate M.O.

Here’s the bottom line. Leaders who know that they don’t have a culture that can attract and retain the best and the brightest for their organizations had better start building it immediately! If needed, find help.

Don’t, however, pay some self-proclaimed wizard a big fee to fix it. Stop throwing money at the problem. Instead, build a visionary leadership team to identify stakeholders for collaboration and reputation.

Remember my client above? He went on to take a pivotal leadership role for the organization. The president retired eight months later.

In retrospect, both individuals are exactly where they need to be.


Julie Overholt is Dallas based executive coach who may be contacted through her website. She is also co-author of the newly published book,  Julie is an internationally recognized coach to leaders of Fortune 100 Companies. She has been used as an expert resource for Men’s Health, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous technology and media outlets across the country.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Do We Need a Manager’s Guide to Employee Social Media?

I have to confess, I’m not a user of Facebook. I’m an avid blogger, casual Twitterer (btw, what do you call someone who Tweets?), and use LinkedIn for professional networking. So when it comes to workplace managerial guidelines for Facebook, I’m clueless.
However, as the father of two avid Facebook users and now that I work at a college, I have some credible sources for Facebook workplace horror stories.

One of these sources showed me a story from the Huffington Post called “The Funniest Facebook Snafus of All Time”. Apparently, some dolt had some unflattering things to say about her boss, forgetting that her boss was also her Facebook friend. He responded to her comment with a scathing rebuttal and fired her.

Wow. Can you really fire someone on Facebook?  Is there some kind of Donald Trump button?
Here’s another real life scenario I came across lately:

Employee calls in sick. Employee’s coworkers see that employee has posted a status update bragging about what an awesome day she has planned for her day off. Coworkers, not being Ferris Bueller fans, aren’t too happy about having to pick up her workload.
What should they do? “Like” it, so she knows she’s busted? Print out a copy and leave it on her desk? Tell their manager?

If they did tell the manager, then what should the manager do? Treat it as “private” information, as if it doesn’t exist, and ignore it? Confront the employee? Hire a private investigator to take pictures of the employee going to a Cubs game or art gallery on company time?
Managers, you’d better be ready to deal with these wacky scenarios, because you’ve got a whole generation of employees bringing a set of cultural norms into the workplace that never existed before.

What about it, readers? Are there managerial dos and don’ts when it comes to social media? Or is it too soon to write them?
Should a manager just apply “common sense”, the same as we do with phones, or when the internet first arrived in the workplace?

Something tells me this is different, especially when it comes to Facebook.
Does anyone have an example of a progressive workplace social media policy (other than the usual, i.e., doing it on company time, divulging trade secrets, etc…)? How about a blog post that seems to nail it that you could point us to?

Finally, how about sharing your best workplace Facebook snafu?
I don’t have a “top ten” list for this one, just a lot of questions. Thanks.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Timely Guidance, From 25,000 Years Ago

Guest post by Rick Lash, Director of Hay Group’s Leadership & Talent Practice in Canada and co-leader of the annual Hay Group Best Companies for Leadership study

In the winter of 1994, three spelunkers exploring the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France noticed an updraft coming out of a small opening in the cliffs. They followed the airflow and ultimately found themselves in a massive underground cavern.

Awaiting them there was one of the greatest cultural discoveries of the 20th century: vivid images on the cave walls of bison, running horses, hunting lions and other animals, together with evocative human handprints in red ochre – images that had gone unseen for 25,000 years.

For me, these paintings of the Chauvet Caves – at once both primitive and timeless – have an important message for managers seeking to establish relevant leadership today.

Consider the context: The shamans who made these paintings – along with the community they led – lived in a frightening world governed by unpredictable forces.

Ferocious beasts attacked and killed their loved ones. The animals they relied on for food were abundant one year, scarce the next – and always faster and more powerful then they were, requiring skills and experience accumulated over generations for a successful hunt.

The painted depictions created by the shamans allowed the people to exercise some measure of control over the beasts that governed their world. They also served as a reminder of the community’s collective knowledge, reinforcing their sense of identity and continuity, and providing shared meaning and purpose.

The shamans served as integrators; they created alignment between members of the tribe and the broader community. They provided the common values, beliefs and ways of behaving that gave the community a larger sense of purpose that went beyond individual needs and conflicts. The more aligned the tribe, the more assured their survival.

Not so very different: In today’s world, a predicted recovery in the U.S. sputters and stalls, affected by far-away events such as the debt crises in Europe and political upheaval in the Middle East. Technological change disrupts or even dooms existing markets and opens up brand new ones at an astonishingly fast pace. Competitive challenges appear almost overnight from previously unknown businesses in emerging economies.

In our global, interconnected marketplace, threats that cannot be foreseen can emerge from anywhere – and tried and true solutions no longer seem to work.

It is what the U.S. military, in its acronymic wisdom, calls a VUCA world – volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous – very much like the threatening world faced by the cave painters 250 centuries ago. And leaders today can take a lesson from the cave painters of long ago.

I’m not recommending you decorate your boardroom with the likenesses of your competitor’s CEO, although I suppose that couldn’t hurt. But the message you can and should take away concerns the importance of giving your community – your business team – a sense of their place in the world.

My colleague Dan Goleman, author of Primal Leadership, tells the story of a broadcasting executive addressing a group of journalists who were being laid off:

“He spoke about the importance of journalism to the vibrancy of a society and of the calling that had drawn them all to the field in the first place. He reminded them that no one goes into journalism to get rich. He recalled a time in his own career when he had been let go and how he had struggled to find a new position – but how he had stayed dedicated to the profession. Finally, he wished then well in getting on with their careers. When this resonant leader finished speaking, the staff cheered.”

This leader helped his laid-off co-workers discover a deeper meaning in a difficult event. In a VUCA world, that’s exactly what leaders must provide: a sense of purpose, and a global context that gives every individual’s work a broader meaning and deeper importance.

So as a leader, how do you survive and inspire others in an unpredictable world? Here are a few lessons from our ancestors:

Know yourself: The tree that survives the strongest winds has the deepest roots. What are the qualities that characterize you personally as a leader? What values most define you? What are your non-negotiables? What deeply energizes you and motivates you to action? What is your purpose? Answering these questions may provide you with some profound insights into who you are – your self-image – and will help you build a compelling vision that others will recognize and feel in themselves.

Know your role: When we love what we do, our role is perfectly aligned with our self-image. Who we are and what we do are one and the same. The truth is some leaders don’t see themselves as leaders even though the job title says they are. To create stronger alignment, leaders first need to build a deeper understanding of their role. Get multiple perspectives on what others expect from you. What does your staff want from you? What about your boss and your customers? Finally, look for ways that you can incorporate more elements of your self-image into your role. It will help you feel more alive, motivated and inspired.

Change your context and relationships: Hang out more with the people who can see the leader in you. Other people’s image of you can inspire you to greatness, but it can also hold you back. Choose your role models carefully and surround yourself with people who will show you the leader you can become.

Rick Lash, Director of Hay Group’s Leadership & Talent Practice in Canada and co-leader of the annual Hay Group Best Companies for Leadership study. Rick works with executives to build the leadership capabilities needed to execute their organizational strategy. He specializes in organizational change, succession planning and leadership development; working with leaders and senior teams to refine their capabilities and create lasting change and improved performance.

Image attributed to The Adventurous Eye.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The July 3rd Leadership Development Carnival 2011

Welcome to the July Leadership Development Carnival!

We've got a 4th of July fireworks extravaganza lined up for this month's Carnival. Here in New Hampshire fireworks are legal, so there's been a lot of them going around our neighborhood and towns. In fact, I've seen so many of them, each of this month's bloggers reminded me of a firework.

Mary Jo "Red White and Blue Salute" Asmus presents 30 Overlooked Acts of Leadership Courage posted at Mary Jo Asmus.

Sharlyn "Shagadellic Mojo" Lauby presents Smart Innovation Takes Competent Leadership posted at hr bartender, saying, "If companies want their innovation efforts to yield results, they must display proper leadership."

Jennifer "Texas Cyclone" V. Miller presents 5 Ways to Stay Current at Work posted at The People Equation.

Steve "Rain of Fire" Roesler presents New Managers: Delegate posted at All Things Workplace, saying, "New managers are often naturally inclined to get "control" of things. Once they figure out the boundaries and the talent, it's time to delegate in order to be effective."

Here's Wally "Silver Sonic Warhead" Bock from Three Star Leadership, with Simple Leadership Lessons from George Marshall, saying "The anniversary of Allied invasion of Normandy, D-Day, June 6, 1944 is a good time to reflect on the leadership lessons we can learn from George C. Marshall, whom Churchill described as "The Architect of Victory." We can learn a lot from the way he did his job."

Laura "Emerald City" Schroeder presents Rock Stars Need Not Apply posted at Working Girl.

Art "Hellfire Barrage" Petty presents Leadership Caffeine: Do You See Beauty or Blemishes? posted at Management Excellence.

Bret "Flying Fish" L. Simmons presents Ten Keys To Real Responsibility | Bret L. Simmons - Positive Organizational Behavior posted at Bret L. Simmons.

Mike "Cosmic Tsunami" Henry Sr. presents Pass It On: The Imperative to Lead - Lead Change Group posted at Lead Change Group Blog, saying, "Becky Robinson gives us a real-life story of how leadership could have made a difference in a customer service opportunity she experienced while traveling."

Lynn "Black Cat" Dessert presents Messaging that Works Strategies, tips and advice to be successful in your career and personal relationships Elephants at Work posted at Elephants at Work,

Tanmay "Crazy Aces" Vora presents Leading People? A Few Core Lessons posted at QAspire Blog by Tanmay Vora.

Jason "Roman Candle" Seiden presents How to Surround Yourself with People Better than Yourself posted at Seiden Leadership, saying, "13 steps to building an A talent team. (BTW, after 3 years, I've retired "Fail Spectacularly!" as the theme of my blog. Like many, my blog integrates my professional observations with personal experiences, and I wanted to capture that in the title. Introducing, "My blog is profersonal.")"

Mark "Boom Boom" Stelzner presents Orbiting the HR Hairball posted at Inflexion Point.

Miki "Dark Thunder" Saxon presents Playing the Fool posted at MAPping Company Success, saying, "Few are willing to follow Shakespeare's advice, but doing so can yield great insight for those who lead or just live."

Michael "Crazy Crown" Lee Stallard presents Rise of Lonely American Employees Undermines Productivity posted at Michael Lee Stallard.

Michael "Triple H Bomb" Cardus presents Effective Leaders are Alike-They Know the Limit posted at Create-Learning Team Building & Leadership Blog, saying, "The main point is the particular traits have little effect upon a person’s in-role leadership work, UNLESS the traits are so far extreme or unacceptable that the person lacks control to keep from disturbing their working relationship with others."

Kevin "T Rex Terror" Eikenberry presents What are You NOT Doing? posted at Leadership and Learning with Kevin Eikenberry, saying, "Considering what you need to "stop" doing can be a helpful leadership activity."

Utpal "Ion Storm Barrage" Vaishnav presents Do You Want to Win the Battle or the War? posted at Utpal Vaishnav, saying, "What's more important? Proving that you're right or getting the problem resolved?"

Jon "Power Force" Ingham presents Hacking love ~ Management 2.0 developing social capital posted at Management 2.0 developing social capital, saying, "A post on the role of love in leadership and organisations"

Anna "Bermuda Triangle" Farmery presents The Power of Contrast posted at The Engaging Brand.

Eric "Thunder King" Pennington presents How Management Could Improve Organizational Well-Being posted at Epic Living - Leadership Development Career Management Training Executive Life Coaching Author, saying, "This timely post explores how management can impact well-being within the organizational arena."

Kathy "High Voltage" C presents Generational Differences – 3 Strategies for Managing Generational Differences posted at The Thriving Small Business, saying, "Diversity of age in the workplace can create problems but can be managed effectively."

Adi "Space Monkey" Gaskell presents Why female teams mean business | Chartered Management Institute posted at Do entrepreneurs think differently?, saying, "New research suggests that the presence of women in teams makes those teams smarter as a result."

Nick "Screaming Vampires" McCormick presents Managers, Don?t Bow to Should posted at Joe and Wanda - on Management, saying, "Sean O’Neil, author of Bare Knuckle People Management, is our guest for this Management Tips Podcast. Sean cautions us about universally applying the advice of leadership gurus. He advocates obtaining a heightened awareness of our teams and team members and applying a situational leadership approach. Listen in to learn more."

Sylvia "Mad Moth" Lafair presents Leadership Lessons: The Difference Between Procrastinators and Action Figures - National Workplace Issues | posted at Examiner, saying, "Remember being warned that you better study for final exams BEFORE the last few days? Did you? Were you one of the super achiever students who put time aside and studies just enough every night?"

Guy "Sky Lab" Harris presents The Difference Between Doing and Mastering posted at Guy Harris: The Recovering Engineer, saying, "Becoming a great leader requires focused thinking and practice."

Michael "Raging Raptors" Donelly presents Life is a constant negotiation ? Do it successfully posted at, saying, "Read this if: You want to assert your interests successfully
Gain: Reconcile differences, manage conflict, resolve disputes and establish or adjust relationships
Cost: Only perseverance"

Malik "Master Blaster" Mirza presents 10 qualities of a great leader; Do we have what it takes to be a leader? | posted at, saying, "What are the ten attributes of a good leader? In this blog post, I have shared 10 qualities of a good leader from Napoleon Hill's international best selling book: Think & Grow Rich"

Chatsworth Consulting Group presents Want more of it? Measure it posted at The Thoughtful Leaders Blog, saying, "Lisa "Mardi Gras Magic" Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting Group blogs about how we make things important when we measure them, positive or negative. Where are you focusing your energy? Are you measuring positive or negative?"

AJ "Armageddon" Brammer presents "Success is not measured by how much money you make" posted at The LeaderLOOP.

Jon "Ultimate Devastation" Milligan presents Smart Goals posted at Simple Life Habits, saying, "A close look at setting smart goals on how you can better obtain the goals you have set."

Dana "Thunder Blast" Theus presents 3 Ways Powerful Leaders Can Practice the Art of Saying No posted at Reclaiming Leadership, saying, "I think this article speaks for itself and I hope you'll consider it for next month. I'm not really sure of your categorization scheme so if you'd like to change my suggested categorization, feel free. Thanks for considering it!"

D.L "Earth Shaker" Drew presents Taking Criticism | What makes a great workday? posted at What makes a great workday?.

Jill "Master of the Universe" Malleck presents Leaders’ Guide to Ethical Employee Engagement « Out of the Bluestocking posted at Out of the Bluestocking.

Sean "Steam Roller" Glaze presents How to Identify and Live Your Passion posted at Lead Your Team.

Chris "Terminator" Edmonds presents Values Clarity from Scratch posted at Driving Results Through Culture, saying, "This post describes how senior leaders can define organizational values in behavioral terms, making them observable, tangible, and measurable."

Linda "Nightstar Fury" Fisher Thornton presents 100th Blog Post: The Ethical Leadership Training Challenge posted at Leading in Context LLC.

Ben "Atomic Star" Brabyn presents Take risks early - lessons from Commando Training posted at Ben Brabyn, saying, "Hi - this is one of a series of leadership posts I'll be publishing based on lessons learned from military training."

John "Rainbow Fountain" R. Turner presents Complexity Leadership Theory posted at JohnRTurner_HPT_resource, saying, "A look at Complexity Leadership Theory."

Lakshman Sky Python" Rajagopalan presents How can you motivate your manager « Learning Curves posted at Learning Curves.

Lahesha "Triple H Bomb" Williams presents 4 Ways To Resolve Conflict as a Manager posted at Career Help For Christians, saying, "Techniques that are useful in redirecting your staff’s energy away from inter-personal problems and back towards more productive ends."

Andy "Arial Avalanche" Klein presents Why managers are problem finders... but NOT problem solvers posted at Fortune Group Blog, saying, "Managers who act as a problem solver fail their people, the organization and themselves. However a crucial distinction (one that isn't always immediate obvious to some) is that managers MUST be problem finders and givers."

Robert "Dragon Tears" Tanner presents Abandonment for Innovative and Creative Problem Solving posted at Management is a Journey Blog, saying, "Sometimes the best strategy for solving a difficult organizational problem is to leave it alone. Abandonment, as this is called, can be the spark that ignites creative and innovative problem solving."

Rich "Blooming Flower" Maltzman, PMP presents The Elephant and the Swiss Army Knife posted at Earth PM, saying, "The link from strategy to operations goes right through projects, programs, and portfolios. Right?"

Finally, here's my own Free Leadership Development Program: Becoming a Great Leader. Use it yourself and/or share it with others.

That's it for this month's edition. The next Carnival will be on August 6, with a host to be determined.

Friday, July 1, 2011

*Free Leadership Development Program: Becoming a Great Leader

Introduction and background

After a recent post called "Clues That You May Have Fallen off the Fast Track" , I was interviewed by a reporter from The Globe and Mail (Canada’s national newspaper), for a story called "Getting the jump on the fast track". The reporter, Wallace Immen, asked me what an employee should do to get themselves back on the fast track. One of my answers was “Take charge of your own development. While formal corporate programs and resources are nice, you can also create your “program”, as long as you have some initiative and know where to find the resources.”

That interview gave me the inspiration for this idea. Simply saying “take charge of your own leadership development” might not be enough for a lot of people. Most people wouldn’t know what to do.

What if I created a leadership development program that anyone with $100 and a good dose of initiative could complete on their own?

So here it is, my first draft. It turned out to be more of a project than I thought it would be, taking up a good part of a rainy Sunday morning in New England and hours of follow-up refinement. Your feedback is welcomed, including pointing out typos, which I am sure there are many.

Terms of use and disclosure:

1. Individuals may freely print and use all materials - that’s why I created it.

2. If you are an internal practitioner or external consultant or coach, you may use and electronically distribute this program to your clients but may not charge for it. You may publish this post in it's entirety on your website or blog (but must inlude all links), or distribute via an email with instructions and a link to this post.

3. While you may add your own suggestions in your instructions, the content of the post cannot be modified without my permission and all links must stay intact.

4. You may print and distribute copies of this post, with embedded links. If you want to print and distribute copies any of the posts I’ve referenced and linked to, please email me ( for permission with an explanation on how you’d like to use it.

5. Disclosure: I have no direct affiliation with any of the books or products contained in the program. I am, however, an Amazon affiliate, so when products are purchased though the links in the post I’ll receive a small commission.

Becoming an Great Leader
A self-study leadership development program for aspiring leaders
Designed by Dan McCarthy, author of Great Leadership


1. Buy a “learning journal”. You’ll use this to take notes throughout the program. Read this post for more on learning journals: "Learning Journals for Leadership Development". Cost: $15.00, can be purchased at any office supply store or online at Amazon.

2. Participation in this program is only for serious and committed students of leadership. If you are not willing to invest at least 40 hours of your time, then don’t bother starting.

3. Schedule time. In order for this program to work, you need to treat it like an appointment. Block out 2 hours per week for the next 20 weeks, or more until the program is completed.

4. Decide if you want to complete the program alone or with a partner. The advantage of taking it with a partner, or study group (no more than 4) is to share your insights, coach each other, and keep each other motivated. The disadvantage is it will take some coordination and cooperation, and the introverts may not prefer this method.

5. Create a folder on your computer, Nook, IPad, or use an old fashioned 3-ring binder to keep track of documents, books, feedback, reports, etc… This, and your journal are your course materials.

Module One: building a foundation

1. Write a goal statement.
Why are you interested in learning more about leadership? What’s your motivation? Think about it, write a draft, reflect, and refine. This should be your vision, your north star, something that will keep you motivated to complete the program. Write it in your journal.

2. Learn from the leadership “gurus”.
There are an overwhelming number of models and theories about leadership. While there is no single “bible” for leadership, you have to start somewhere. You’ll need some context before you can begin to identify and talk to role models, get feedback, practice, and set specific development goals. While I know leaders that read one leadership book a month, we’ll start with three:

- The Leadership Challenge, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner (used, $10.00)

- On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis (used, $10.00)

- What Leaders Really Do, by John Kotter (used, $10.00)

As you read each book, jot down insights in your journal. You should end up with at least 2 pages of notes per book.

Module Two: Learn from role models.

Now that you have a foundation of what leadership is all about, it’s time to learn from those leaders that you admire and exemplify the leadership qualities you want to learn more about.

You will learn about these role model leaders in a number of ways:

1. The movies. Rent/download two movies from the following list: 20 Best Leadership Movies; Break Out the Popcorn. My personal favorite: Braveheart. Record insights in your journal. (2 movie rental/downloads, $10.00).

2. Books. Read two biographies of leaders you admire. Some recommendations (all under $20 used or new):

It’s Your Ship, by Captain Michael Abrashoff;

Quiet Strengths…., by Tony Dungy

- My Life in Leadership, by Francis Hesselbein

3. Real live leaders. Interview three leaders that you admire and feel you could learn from. It could be your old high school or college sports coach, a business leader, a family member, your pastor, or even someone you don’t know but has a reputation for being an outstanding leader. Don’t be shy…. reach out, ask for an hour of their time, ask questions, and take notes. Most people, even those who you think might be hard to contact, are usually flattered and willing to talk about themselves and leadership. That’s part of being a great leader, they usually are willing to give back and teach others. Who knows, one of these role models might end up being a mentor. Cost for three cups of coffee, $10.00.

In case you have not caught on (last reminder), yes, record your insights in your journal. At this point in the course you should have about 20 pages of notes.

Module Three: Capstone project #1.

You’ve learned all about leadership, now it’s time to get some practice. Find an opportunity to lead. It can be a project at work, a little league sports team, a volunteer assignment, planning the neighborhood barbecue, a church committee, anything that gives you the opportunity to set a direction and inspire others to action. If you are completely stumped and can’t think of one, read "10 “Off-the-Job” Leadership Development Opportunities" or purchase CCL’s 88 Assignments for Development in Place ($15.00).

Module Four: Feedback

Once you’ve had a chance to apply what you’ve learned, it’s time to get feedback. Read "10 Ways to Get More Candid Feedback" (and 5 ways if you really can’t handle the truth) and "18 Tips for Receiving Feedback".
One of the ways mentioned to get feedback is to take a formal leadership assessment. While many of these require assistance from a certified professional and would exceed our $100 budget, I’d recommend
the LPI Online 360 assessment. It’s based on the Leadership Challenge (which you have already read) and only cost $130.00. There’s even a free trial version, although I’ve not tried it.

Module Five: Reflection and coaching

Reflect on what you’ve learned about leadership and yourself. Read back over your journal. Either by yourself or with a learning partner (a partner would be the preferred way for this part of the program), answer the following questions:

1. Which aspects of leadership resonated with you the most?

2. If you could pick one thing that would make the greatest impact in your ability to lead, what would it be?

3. What have you learned about yourself?

4. What’s your motivation for wanting to be a leader? Has it changed since you started the program?

5. What obstacles are getting in your way? What can you do about them?

6. What are your next steps?

Module Six: Development planning

Read "How to Write a Great Individual Development Plan" and create your own plan. You should recognize the process, because you’ve already been following it in a general way. Now’s the time to get more specific – you’re not just learning about leadership, you’re putting a plan together to develop a specific aspects of leadership. Here’s a couple examples to get you started.

Module Seven: Capstone project #2: Your leadership “rules”.

From studying great leaders, you know that every great leader has a set of guiding leadership principles, or “rules” that they live by. Now it’s time to create your own. In your journal, develop a set of personal leadership “dos and don’ts” that you are willing to commit to live by. These are yours are yours alone, and should incorporate your deeply help values and beliefs. This is the list in which you’ll strive to exemplify and role model. They are not situational, to be bent and modified based on circumstances. For inspiration, try reading the Declaration of Independence. It’s still an amazing document!

Post course work and graduation

Now that you’re hooked on leadership, you won’t want to stop learning. Become a lifelong student of leadership by subscribing to free blogs, newsletters, Twitter summaries, and podcasts. Pick at least six and subscribe via email:

1. Here are three sources of leadership blogs:

- AllTop Leadership

- HR Examiner’s Top 25 Leadership

- Top 50 Leadership blogs

2. Here are three leadership newsletters:

- SmartBrief on Leadership

- The Center for Creative Leadership’s Leading Effectively

- HBR’s monthly leadership newsletter

3. Graduation.

Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you’ve graduated. Now you just need a course certificate and photo. You’ll need to create your own certificate, however, if you mail it to me with a postage paid return envelop, I’d be glad to sign it for you.

*Total cost of course materials: $100.00.
The value of learning to be a better leader: priceless.