New Leadership Model - World Class Leadership
For my entire 30+ history as a management trainer there has been no shortage of firms jumping on the bandwagon to insist that they know what leadership is all about. Examples run the gamut from Situational Leadership and Servant Leadership to Leader as Coach, Inspirational Leadership and more. There are many analytical publications where the author has analyzed a particular figure from business or history and highlighted some of their leadership actions and tried to present a leadership model based upon that (Lincoln On Leadership, The Leadership of Steve Jobs etc.).
The idea is tha there if you can just get the style right and lead like Steve Jobs (and act like the prescription says) then things are going to work out for you as you lead your own company, department or what have you.
Now I'm not getting down on leadership education, becasue God knows I have lead my share from Leadership programs for CEO's at UCSD to subcontracting for organizations like Tom Peters Leadership Challenge, The Center For Creative Leadership and Ken Blanchard's organization. But in all my study and exposure to leadership education I have always been struck by how theoretical and abstract it comes across. Can there be formulaic 'ways to be' that will work magically and guide leaders to always do the right things so their organizations will thrive and prosper?
Certainly us consultants will continue to tell you why this or that perspective on leadership is SO CRITICAL in today's business world. On the other hand, I have seen those who I considered to be very talented and inspirational dynamic leaders watch their organizations tank anyway. Why? Well it must have been somethng other than their leadership skills and abilities right?
While I have always been happy to schedule an expensive offsite leadership experience for just about any group of executives to study and learn about themselves and leadership - and hopefully make some commitments to operating in more effective ways - these types of programs, while profitable for me, always seemed to be more relevant to the individual leader or manager's personal development. It was often hard to track hard measures of performance and productivity back to the organization after one of these deep leadership development workshops.
My own model of leadership - (World Class Leadership) the only one I really care about these days, evolved for me, in an entirely unexpected way. It came from all of the intense research we were doing in Customer Satisfaction. To make a very long story a lot shorter - we were doing tons of satisfaction surveys for a whole range of industries and processing mountains of data to write our findings and reports for clients. We recognized patterns that would repeat themselves time and time again in our data, so much so that we began to discern the ten values most important to customers that affected what we now call: Customer Return & Recommend Rate.
Of course our clients have always been interested in identifying what they needed to do to get customers to come back and buy again - and have their customers recommend them to others, but what we also discovered was the thinking and language of customers when they rated supplier's (your business) at the highest levels. There were three terms we discovered that were synonymous in the mind of the customer: 'Known As The Best', 'Excellent' and 'World Class'. These terms were always used when customers described their experience with the highest levels of preference, loyalty and unsolicited positive testamonials and recommendations.
It was no surprise of course, that these companies who enjoyed this rarefied air of excellence were also very successful organizations by any measure. This is where the World Class Leadership Model originated. So instead of simply calling your company 'World Class' , with my Leadership Model you needed to do the things that would make your customers call you 'World Class'. My leadship model is less about the 'How' or 'Style' of leadership you utilize, and much more about the 'what'
you are leading in your organization to get to those World Class levels of customer loyalty and preference.
Measuring this was part of our research and is also the topic of several of my organizational development books regarding customer satisfaction, but simply put- there are ten factors that we are measuring you by as a World Class Leader - and whether or not you are prioritizing these things in your organization:
Commitment To The Customer
Now you can read all about these factors in my book: 'Becoming Excellent - Applying The Ten Values OF Excellence To Your Organization' and you'll have everything you need to get going as a World Class Leader.
What I'm trying to emphasize here is that you need to understand that as a leader - you're sitting in that Captain Kirk chair and you've got to make things happen. Every day is full of decisions and it's easy to get distracted and caught up in the details of every task. You need a set of values to let you know you are always on the right page and that you have a strong basis for your decisions. What better reason than working to create the highest levels of customer satisfaction, loyalty and preference possible - and generating new business from the positive referrals of happy customers who call your organization 'World Class' ?
So when you find yourself conflicted about your coaching style or how to situationally react to this employee or how to take a particularly tough decision - remember the touchstone of World Class Leadership - as long as the decision points to achieving higher levels of satisfaction for your customers and distinguishing your organization in their eyes - it's probably the right way to go.
Yes we have a powerful workshop called World Class Leadership and it is different from many leadership workshops not only in the content, but in the fact that we audit each leader's operations and develop a plan to integrate these ten values of excellence into the actual performance and producti
vitiy of the organization. Our workshop participants don't leave with a theoretical 'way of being' they leave with a plan for what they are going to do.