Leadership 5 Week Discussion

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Leadership – Colin Powell

Colin Powell is a retired four star general and was Commander of the United States Army Forces Command.  He also served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush and was his National Security Advisor.  Listen to Powell talk about Leadership in the video entitled: “Colin Powell Speaks about Leadership.”  [You can find the video by going to YouTube and using the search terms, “Colin Powell Speaks about Leadership at Colgate”.]  This was an address given to business students at Colgate University.

Please respond to the following questions:

  • In the many leadership roles Powell occupied, what according to Powell is the role of a leader?
  • How does the individual who is serving as a leader go about seeing that the needs of the organization are met?
  • What advice does Powell have for the business students he is speaking to with regard to leadership?

Your should response to each questions should be substantial and specifically reference the applicable elements of cover within lecture.

No plagiarism

Leadership 5 Week Discussion
Running head: W5 Lectures 1,2 0 Good to Great Leadership Aloha Class, By now you should be running on all cylinders as the finish line is in sight for this course!  For this week’s lecture, I want to expand our scope beyond and focus on leadership and look at some of the leadership lessons derived from another book, Good to Great – Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, by Jim Collins.  At the time of this writing, the book had already appeared at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List for a number of weeks with over three million copies sold.  That’s the first bit of evidence which suggests there might some information worth looking at beyond the cover!  I’m not asking you to purchase the book as I’ll be summarizing some of the key learnings in the next few paragraphs.   That being said, I hope to stoke your curiosity enough that you’ll want to further extend your leadership learning beyond this course!  What’s unique about this book is that the conclusions are based on five solid years of research, interviews, analysis, and debate.  He enlisted the support of a twenty member research team in search of what makes a company go from good to great.  Based on his research, Collins developed six key concepts in which one hundred percent of the good to great companies exhibited during the transitional years.  I’ll discuss a couple of the most relevant traits (as they pertain to this class) in detail below. Level 5 Leadership When Mr. Collins embarked on his research project, he made it clear to his research team that leadership, neither good nor bad, should be an outcome of their research.  However, in the end, the data prevailed and he and his research team uncovered a new realm of leadership coined Level 5 Leadership.  Level 5 Leadership refers to the highest level of executive capabilities as defined by Collins.  A Level 5 Leader combines both personal humility and extreme will to build a great company.  Level 5 Leaders focus on sustained results and long-term success rather than short-term turnarounds.  Additionally, because Level 5 Leaders care not so much about their personal legacy but that of the company, they set up their successors for phenomenal success.  Each one of the Good to Great companies had Level 5 Leadership during the pivotal years.Level 5 Leaders care more about working hard than showing off.  In fact, in ten out of the eleven Good to Great companies, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) were Level 5 Leaders that worked themselves up the ladder from within the company.  Level 5 Leaders also share a belief with Collins named “the window and the mirror”.  Level 5 Leaders look through the window and find someone to give credit to when things are going well.  In the absence of finding someone, they credit good luck.  Also, Level 5 Leaders look in the mirror and accept responsibility when things are going bad while never blaming bad luck.  The leaders of the comparison companies did just the opposite, crediting themselves for good fortune and blaming others for misfortune.Three Level 5 Leaders who stand out from the book are Darwin Smith (CEO of Kimberly-Clark), Colman Mockler (CEO of Gillette), and Charles “Cork” Walgreen (CEO of Walgreen’s).  All three of these gentlemen chose a direction for their respective company to follow and showed tremendous resolve in following through.  Smith courageously chose to close the paper mills so his company could focus on the consumer paper products industry, Mockler rejected three takeover opportunities which would have meant instant riches for him, and Walgreen chose to eliminate food service operations and focus solely on convenient drugstores.  Because these gentlemen were not afraid to lead in trying times, all three companies ended up better off in the long run.First Who…Then What During his research, Mr. Collins found that Good to Great companies first focused on getting the right people on the bus and wrong people off the bus rather than on vision and strategy.  The first major benefit of this approach is that a company can adapt easily to a changing world.  If a company hires resources based on a specific vision, those resources might decide to jump ship when the company must change direction.  In contrast, if the right people are on the bus, they can adapt when the company changes direction.  The second major benefit is less time is spent on motivating, inspiring, and managing employees when you have the right people on the bus.Collins found that Good to Great executives are rigorous in both debate and people decisions.  They are willing to debate alternatives to derive the best solution and also unify behind the team once a decision has been made. When it comes to hiring people, they are disciplined in their search for exemplary candidates.  In addition, Good to Great executives do not settle for mediocrity and take swift action to eliminate poor performers from the mix.You are all leaders in some form or fashion, whether it be formally designated by position title or informally by your willingness to lead in various settings.  In summary, I encourage you to take these key lessons and incorporate them into your leadership lifestyle for unbelievable results!  Stay strong! References Collins, J.C. (2001.  Good to Great:  Why some companies make the leap—and other don’t. New York, NY: HarperBusiness. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood Good Day Class!  The second lecture this week focuses on Chapter 9’s theme, communication within an organization.  Before we get started on the particulars, I want you to jot down your feelings about your current organization when it comes to communication.  If you’re currently not working outside the home, no worries.  Think about your communication at home with your significant other, child, or with others at volunteer activities.  What are some of the key descriptions you’ve come up with?  If you’re part of a dynamic, innovative organization, you might have listed terms like transparent, vibrant, pure, passionate, and thought-provoking.  If you’re part of a flailing organization, terms like unapproachable, ulterior motives, overload, and boring might come to mind.  My goal for this lecture is for you to develop a meaningful way to effectively communicate with those around you.I want to discuss a principle developed by a well-known and respected motivational speaker and author, Dr. Stephen Covey.  In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey discusses seven habits that help unlock your potential as a human being and set you up for success when communicating with people.  One of my favorite habits is, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  What does this saying mean to you?  Take a few moments and reflect before we move on.  In essence, Dr. Covey explains that before someone is willing to listen to what you have to say, you need to first listen to the other’s viewpoint.   He further goes on to define “listening”.  To effectively communicate with someone, you need to not only hear what the person is saying but be able to successfully explain that point of view back to the individual to ensure you understand what they are saying.  Sound familiar?  Once you completely understand the other’s point of view, you can then explain your side.  The other person will be more willing to listen to you because you’ve taken the time to listen to him/her first.   A Communication Example This is best illustrated with an example as noted below: Scenario:  Husband and wife have been arguing about what to watch on television for the last fifteen minutes.  The husband wants to watch a sports show while the wife wants to watch a home makeover show.  The wife being the calmer of the two and having just read Dr. Covey’s book, decides to invoke Dr. Covey’s habit of “seek first to understand, then to be understood”. Husband:  We always watch your home shows in the evening.  Why can’t I watch a game without feeling guilty about it? Wife:  You know, you’re right.  We’ve been watching a number of my shows this week.  What game is it that you want to watch? Husband:  I would like to watch the football game – the Seahawks versus the Cardinals. Wife:  You were a great football player in college when we met.  I always enjoyed watching you play.  What about this game interests you the most? Husband:  You know, I’m a fan of the Seahawks.  Do you remember Teddy, a teammate of mine from my college football team?  He called the other day and said he had been picked up for a short-term contract with the Seahawks.  I thought he might see a few minutes of action and I told him I would watch the game. Wife:  Hey honey, I’m sorry.  I didn’t realize Teddy made the team…that’s great news!  I totally get it now.  I took it that you didn’t want to spend time with me.  How about I record the home show and we can watch that tomorrow?  I’ll go ahead and make some salsa for the game and, if you don’t mind, I’ll watch it with you. Husband:  That sounds great.  Thank you for understanding…you’re the best! Analysis:  Now this is a simplified version and might sound like a dream world to some of you, however, it does work.  Note how the wife asked a question to obtain clarifying information from the husband, “What about this game interests you the most?”  That was a defining moment.  The husband felt like his wife was actually trying to understand his situation and he opened up.  That breakthrough led to a win-win situation (another of Dr. Covey’s habits).  Speaking from experience, I can tell you that this habit is a total paradigm shift for most folks, however, works when used mindfully and not in a cocky way.  I encourage you to give a try and see for yourself!  If you are the combative or explosive type, I expect most people will think you’re playing games the first couple of times you try this.  That’s normal…don’t get frustrated.  Stay the course and remember the long-term goal of improving relationships through effective communication and caring. References Covey, S. R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 1989, NY: Free Press. Hitt, M. A., Miller, C. C., & Colella, A. (2015). Organizational Behavior (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


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