Title: The Leader Ship Code: Five Rules to Live By
Author: Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood, Kate Sweetman
Copyright Date: 2008
Based on extensive research and interviews, authors Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood, and Kate Sweetman in The Leadership Code offer “five rules to lead by”: Shape the Future, Make Things Happen, Engage Today’s Talent, Build the Next Generation, and Invest in Yourself. They present a compelling case for their framework and do an excellent job of tethering it to the practicalities of day-to-day leadership. Of the many takeaways from the book, I found their seven questions in making organizational change to be extremely helpful (see LOCATION 662).
Check out these Book Notes to see for yourself the down-to-earth insights offered.
What makes a great leader?
It’s a question that has been tackled by thousands. In fact, there are literally tens of thousands of leadership studies, theories, frameworks, models, and recommended best practices. But where are the clear, simple answers we need for our daily work lives? Are there any?
Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood, and Kate Sweetman set out to answer these questions—to crack the code of leadership. Drawing on decades of research experience, the authors conducted extensive interviews with a variety of respected CEOs, academics, experienced executives, and seasoned consultants—and heard the same five essentials repeated again and again. These five rules became The Leadership Code.
In The Leadership Code, the authors break down great leadership into day-to-day actions, so that you know what to do Monday morning. Crack the leadership code—and take your leadership to the next level.
This book attempts to do the improbable, if not the impossible. In a brief and clear way, we want to synthesize large numbers of frameworks, tools, processes, and studies of leadership to identify the essential rules that govern what all great leaders do. LOCATION: 104
Being an effective leader starts with the self. If you want to build leadership in your company, you need to model what you want others to know and do. LOCATION: 108
Being an effective leader requires that you help others to lead. Leaders succeed by enabling others to do the right work right. Modeling the rules of leadership ensures that you lead well, but helping others master those rules guarantees future success. When we know and follow the leadership rules, we lead well; when we help others learn and follow those rules, we expand leadership from a personal ability into an organization capability. LOCATION: 112
This leadership code, like any other code, provides both structure and guidance, and helps you know not only what to do to be a better individual leader, but also how to build better leadership capability. Some leaders seem born to the code, others need to learn it, but it is the sine qua non of effective leadership. LOCATION: 119
What we offer in this book is a synthesis of these ideas, a way to cover the landscape of leadership so that we see the whole of what makes an effective leader, not just one of the parts. LOCATION: 132
In a brief and clear way, we wanted to synthesize the existing frameworks, tools, processes, and studies of leadership to define the rules that all great leaders follow. LOCATION: 140
As we worked with these leadership experts and reviewed the extensive work on leadership, we concluded that leadership comprises two principle parts: one part the leadership code and the other the differentiators. The code represents about 60 to 70 percent of what makes an effective leader. It represents the basics, the fundamentals, or the essentials of leadership. The differentiators may vary by firm strategy and vision and by individual job requirements. Mastering the code becomes the foundation on which effective leadership is established. LOCATION: 200
In terms of self, leaders must model what they want others to master. Leadership of others ultimately begins with the self. Individuals who govern themselves will be more able to lead others. LOCATION: 215
Rule 1: Shape the Future. This rule is embodied in the strategist dimension of the leader. Strategists answer the question, “Where are we going?” and make sure that those around them understand the direction as well. LOCATION: 223
Rule 2: Make Things Happen.Turn what you know into what you do. The executor dimension of the leader focuses on the question, “How will we make sure we get to where we are going?” Executors translate strategy into action. LOCATION: 229
Rule 3: Engage Today’s Talent.Leaders who optimize talent today answer the question, “Who goes with us on our business journey?” Talent managers know how to identify, build, and engage talent to get results now. LOCATION: 233
Rule 4: Build the Next Generation.Leaders who are human capital developers answer the question, “Who stays and sustains the organization for the next generation?” Talent managers ensure shorter-term results through people, while human capital developers ensure that the organization has the longer-term competencies required for future strategic success. LOCATION: 238
Rule 5: Invest in Yourself. At the heart of the leadership code—literally and figuratively—is personal proficiency. Effective leaders cannot be reduced to what they know and do. LOCATION: 249
Leaders are learners: from success, failure, assignments, books, classes, people, and life itself. Passionate about their beliefs and interests, they expend enormous personal energy and attention on whatever matters to them. LOCATION: 258
If you want to be a better leader or build more effective leadership in your organization, you need to learn these five rules of leadership. As an individual leader, some of these rules will come naturally; some will have to be learned. Each person’s leadership will look and feel somewhat different, based on personality as well as more external circumstances (position, job level, industry, company culture). That said, every leader must master the fundamentals. Without owning these basics, an individual cannot lead and CEOs cannot invest in future leaders because they won’t know what they are looking for. LOCATION: 272
To shape the future, be a strategist: 1. Stay curious and develop a point of view about your own future. 2. Invite your savviest outsiders inside. 3. Engage the organization—no “one” knows enough. 4. Create strategic traction within the organization. LOCATION: 332
Strategists combine vision and analytics. They envision a future state that creates or responds to opportunities. They specify rigorous financial, customer, technology, and organization analytics to build a path to reach the future state. To be both visionary and analytical, strategic leaders must clearly understand their organization’s current core competencies (technical skills like creating space-age adhesives, state-of-the-art engines, world-class logistics support, or great consumer design), organization capabilities (the company’s culture and ways of doing things, like collaborating across boundaries, managing talent, or knowing how to get new products to market fast), financial resources, and technology. LOCATION: 341
But strategic traction comes when employees at all levels of the company not only understand where the company is going, but are excited by it, remember it, and know what to do to make it happen in their day-to-day decisions. LOCATION: 516
As we have looked at hundreds of vision, mission, purpose, strategy, or goal statements, we have identified six criteria that we call the ABC’s of strategic traction for any organization. These criteria enable leaders at any level to be clear about where they want to go. LOCATION: 518
To make things happen, be an executor: 1. Make change happen. 2. Follow a decision protocol. 3. Ensure accountability. 4. Build teams. 5. Ensure technical proficiency. LOCATION: 594
Execution is the ability to turn what we know into what we do. LOCATION: 601
As a leader, your ability to execute will enable you to turn strategic aspirations into actions, desires into results, and desired futures into present reality. LOCATION: 602
Execution without strategy may be blind, but strategy without execution is unfounded hope. LOCATION: 607
Any leader’s job is to share information so that people know why the change needs to occur and to help people define the personal day-to-day impact of the change on their work. LOCATION: 642
You can determine the likelihood of any change project’s success by asking these seven questions. The profile that results will help you know how likely the change will be to succeed and highlight where your need to focus to improve. Scale: 1=Low10=High
Scoring: Change initiatives must receive high marks in all areas to achieve success. Evaluate each area against this scale: 9–10 = Excellent | 7–8 = Good | 6 and below = Project may be at risk in this area. LOCATION: 662
Decision making is at the core of intelligent action. LOCATION: 718
One of the most effective execution-oriented leaders we know approached most questions and problems from others with the opening question: “What decision do you want me to make coming out of this conversation?” LOCATION: 725
One of our clients consistently used a structured feedback methodology in her division. The five-step feedback process began with intentions (“What did we set out to do?”), then went to results (“What did we do?”), focused on the positive (“What did we do well?”) before opening up discussion around mistakes (“What could we have done better?”), and concluded with learning (“What did we learn from this experience? What will we continue to do? What will we do better or differently?”). LOCATION: 819
Talent managers nurture and develop others. Leadership can never occur in isolation from followers. Leaders lead by engaging others in defining strategies and executing goals. Talent management has many parts. LOCATION: 887
To improve your ability to communicate, you need to remind yourself to be clear about what you want to say (the content), why you are saying it (supporting data, or the real nature of the problem, challenge, or opportunity), to whom you should say it (recognizing that there may be multiple audiences), how you should say it (communication methods), and when to share it (timing). LOCATION: 911
To build the next generation, be a human capital developer: 1. Map the workforce. 2. Create a firm and employee brand. 3. Help people manage their careers. 4. Find and develop next-generation talent. 5. Encourage networks and relationships. LOCATION: 1117
Empowerment means giving your employees knowledge, authority, and incentives to make good decisions. If you give an employee the authority to make a decision, but do not give him the information to make the right decision, you have entrapped, not empowered, that employee. To empower, you need to share information as well as authority. LOCATION: 1296
To invest in yourself, be personally proficient: 1. Practice clear thinking: rise above the details. 2. Know yourself. 3. Tolerate stress. 4. Demonstrate learning agility. 5. Tend to your own character and integrity. 6. Take care of yourself. 7. Have personal energy and passion. LOCATION: 1327
Who you are becomes a key predictor of what you can help others to become. When you have personal insights into yourself, you will be more able to lead others. LOCATION: 1335
If there is a decision to make, identify it, study it, and make it. If you’re wrong, admit it and learn, but be willing to act. LOCATION: 1366
To be personally proficient, you must begin by looking in the leadership mirror and being honest with yourself about your full range of personal predispositions: the good, the bad, and the ugly, as the saying goes. The more you understand your predispositions—to be introverted or extroverted, to seek risk or to avoid it, to work with people or with data, to work with ideas or take action, to be patient or impatient, and so on—the more you can own your reality and work to adapt it. LOCATION: 1405
The real goal of knowing yourself is to connect signature strengths and passions to work demands. You need to build on your strengths that strengthen others. LOCATION: 1428
One of the greatest sources of stress for ambitious people is fear of failure. Courageous and bold leaders take risks, and sometimes those risks don’t work out. We have learned a simple formula for risk taking: will to win divided by fear of failure. Increasing the will to win comes as you feel a personal passion, desire to succeed, and believe in the outcomes of your agenda. Reducing fear of failure comes as organizations build in career and compensation safety nets to buffer against mistakes. LOCATION: 1435
Failing is not failing if it leads to learning. LOCATION: 1459
Ask questions that probe for alternatives. Find a balance between analytics grounded in data and intuition rooted in instinct. Data ensures that decisions are logical and consistent with past patterns. Instinct means that you do what you sense is right even if the data does not confirm your decision. If you can combine both data and instinct in the decisions you make, you will recognize old patterns, but build new ones. Such clear thinking requires not only an intellectual quotient (IQ) and an emotional or social quotient (EQ or SQ), but also a clarity quotient (CQ) to create confidence in the direction. LOCATION: 1466
Your character is the set of qualities that defines who you are; your adherence to a moral code guides your daily actions and measures your integrity. A character based on strong integrity builds trust. Others’ trust in you gives you your leadership mandate. Loyalty and commitment will follow. Commitment, as we all know, is a cornerstone of productivity and success. LOCATION: 1497
Note: should you wish to find any quote in its original context, the Kindle LOCATION is provided after each entry.
Chuck OlsonAs founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out. To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.
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Compiled by Chuck Olson
Compiled by Chuck Olson
Compiled by Chuck Olson
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