Book Review

Book Review

Below is the information needed to prepare your Microsoft PowerPoint on the leadership book “The Essential Guide to Leadership” attached below. 

You should include the following information:

1. The title, and a brief introduction to the major theme of this leadership book (similar to an abstract)

2. Background information on the authors.

3. A description of the major theme of the book

4. An explanation as to your interest in selecting this particular book for your leadership book review

5. Describe the main theories and principles (at least five) presented in the book.

6. How each of the theories and principals presented in the book directly relates to being a leader.

7. Show how the theories and principals presented in the book relate to specific leadership standards.

8. Explain how each of the theories and principles presented in the book directly relates to your development as a leader.

9. Closing comments to summarize the theories and principals presented in the book.

10. Your critique of the book, as to developing leaders

11. How could the information you gained through reviewing this book on leadership enhance your knowledge base and development as a leader?

12. Why or why would you recommend this book to your fellow class members

Organization of the Presentation:

  • Concise in presentation
  • Sections are clearly identified
  • 12 slides (one for each bullet above)
  • No grammar, spelling, punctuation, or typing errors
  • You must include speaker’s notes for each slide and all speaker’s notes included for each slide in the Notes Pages

The Essential Guide to

Leadership EiGhT UniqUE

PErsPEcTivEs on BEcominG a

sTronGEr LEadEr

www.hbr.org

The Essential Guide to Leadership

In thIs specIal artIcle collectIon:

1 Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life by Stewart D. Friedman

15 Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker

31 Putting Leadership Back Into Strategy by Cynthia A. Montgomery

41 Seven Transformations of Leadership by David Rooke and William R. Torbert

59 Leader’s Framework for Decision Making by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone

71 How Successful Leaders Think by Roger Martin

85 Managing Multicultural Teams by Jeanne Brett, Kristin Behfar, and Mary C. Kern

99 What Great Managers Do by Marcus Buckingham

© 2009 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved.

www.hbr.org

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by Stewart D. Friedman

Included with this full-text

Harvard Business Review

article:

The Idea in Brief—the core idea The Idea in Practice—putting the idea to work

Article Summary

Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life

A list of related materials, with annotations to guide further exploration of the article’s ideas and applications

13

Further Reading

Traditional thinking pits work and the rest of our lives against each other. But taking smart steps to integrate work, home, community, and self will make you a more productive leader and a more fulfilled person.

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The Idea in Brief The Idea in Practice

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Life’s a zero-sum game, right? The more you strive to win in one dimension (e.g., your work), the more the other three dimensions (your self, your home, and your community) must lose. Not according to Friedman. You don’t have to make trade-offs among life’s domains. Nor should you: trading off can leave you feeling exhausted, unfulfilled, or isolated. And it hurts the people you care about most.

To excel in all dimensions of life, use Friedman’s

Total Leadership

process. First, articulate who and what matters most in your life. Then experiment with small changes that enhance your satisfaction and performance in

all four domains

. For ex- ample, exercising three mornings a week gives you more energy for work and im- proves your self-esteem and health, which makes you a better parent and friend.

Friedman’s research suggests that people who focus on the concept of Total Leader- ship have a 20%–39% increase in satisfaction in all life domains, and a 9% improvement in job performance—even while working shorter weeks.

Total Leadership helps you mitigate a range of problems that stem from making trade-offs among the different dimensions of your life:

Feeling

unfulfilled

because you’re not doing what you love

Feeling

inauthentic

because you’re not acting according to your values

Feeling

disconnected

from people who matter to you

Feeling

exhausted

by trying to keep up with it all To tackle such problems using Total Leadership, take these steps:

1. REFLECT

For each of the four domains of your life— work, home, community, and self, reflect on how important each is to you, how much time and energy you devote to each, and how satisfied you are in each. Are there discrepan- cies between what is important to you and how you spend your time and energy? What is your overall life satisfaction?

2. BRAINSTORM POSSIBILITIES

Based on the insights you’ve achieved during your four-way reflection, brainstorm a long list of small experiments that may help you move closer to greater satisfaction in all four do- mains. These are new ways of doing things that would carry minimal risk and let you see results quickly. For example:

Turning off cell phones during family din- ners could help you sharpen your focus on the people who matter most to you.

Exercising several times a week could give you more energy.

Joining a club with coworkers could help you forge closer friendships with them.

Preparing for the week ahead on Sunday evenings could help you sleep better and go into the new week refreshed.

3. CHOOSE EXPERIMENTS

Narrow the list of experiments you’ve brainstormed to the three most promising. They should:

Improve your satisfaction and performance in all four dimensions of your life.

Have effects viewed as positive by the peo- ple who matter to you in every dimension of your life.

Be the most costly—in regret and missed opportunities—if you

don’t

do them.

Position you to practice skills you most want to develop and do more of what you

want

to be doing.

4. MEASURE PROGRESS

Develop a scorecard for each experiment you’ve chosen. For example:

Experiment: Exercise three mornings a week with spouse.

Life Dimension Experiment’s Goals

How I Will Measure Success Implementation Steps

Work Improved alertness and productivity

No caffeine to get through the day; more productive sales calls

• Get doctor’s feedback on exercise plan.

• Join gym. • Set alarm earlier on exercise

days. • Tell coworkers, family, and friends about my plan, how I need their help, and how it will benefit them.

Home Increased closeness with spouse

Fewer arguments with spouse

Community Greater strength to partic- ipate in athletic fundrais- ing events with friends

Three 10K fundraising walks completed by end of year

Self Improved self-esteem Greater confidence

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by Stewart D. Friedman

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Traditional thinking pits work and the rest of our lives against each other. But taking smart steps to integrate work, home, community, and self will make you a more productive leader and a more fulfilled person.

In my research and coaching work over the past two decades, I have met many people who feel unfulfilled, overwhelmed, or stagnant because they are forsaking performance in one or more aspects of their lives. They aren’t bringing their leadership abilities to bear in all of life’s domains—work, home, community, and self (mind, body, and spirit). Of course, there will al- ways be some tension among the different roles we play. But, contrary to the common wisdom, there’s no reason to assume that it’s a zero-sum game. It makes more sense to pursue excellent performance as a leader in all four domains—achieving what I call “four-way wins”—not trading off one for another but finding mutual value among them.

This is the main idea in a program called Total Leadership that I teach at the Wharton School and at companies and workshops around the world. “Total” because it’s about the whole person and “Leadership” because it’s about creating sustainable change to benefit not just you but the most important people around you.

Scoring four-way wins starts by taking a clear view of what you want from and can contribute to each domain of your life, now and in the future, with thoughtful consider- ation of the people who matter most to you and the expectations you have for one an- other. This is followed by systematically de- signing and implementing carefully crafted experiments—doing something new for a short period to see how it affects all four domains. If an experiment doesn’t work out, you stop or adjust, and little is lost. If it does work out, it’s a small win; over time these add up so that your overall efforts are focused increasingly on what and who matter most. Either way, you learn more about how to lead in all parts of your life.

This process doesn’t require inordinate risk. On the contrary, it works because it entails realistic expectations, short-term changes that are in your control, and the explicit support of those around you. Take, for instance, Kenneth Chen, a manager I met at a work- shop in 2005. (All names in this article are

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pseudonyms.) His professional goal was to become CEO, but he had other goals as well, which on the face of it might have appeared conflicting. He had recently moved to Phila- delphia and wanted to get more involved with his community. He also wished to strengthen bonds with his family. To further all of these goals, he decided to join a city- based community board, which would not only allow him to hone his leadership skills (in support of his professional goal) but also have benefits in the family domain. It would give him more in common with his sister, a teacher who gave back to the community every day, and he hoped his fiancée would participate as well, enabling them to do some- thing together for the greater good. He would feel more spiritually alive and this, in turn, would increase his self-confidence at work.

Now, about three years later, he reports that he is not only on a community board with his fiancée but also on the formal succes- sion track for CEO. He’s a better leader in all aspects of his life because he is acting in ways that are more consistent with his values. He is creatively enhancing his performance in all domains of his life and leading others to improve their performance by encouraging them to better integrate the different parts of their lives, too.

Kenneth is not alone. Workshop partici- pants assess themselves at the beginning and the end of the program, and they consistently report improvements in their effectiveness, as well as a greater sense of harmony among the once-competing domains of their lives. In a study over a four-month period of more than 300 business professionals (whose average age was about 35), their

satisfaction

increased by an average of 20% in their work lives, 28% in their home lives, and 31% in their community lives. Perhaps most significant, their satisfac- tion in the domain of the self—their physical and emotional health and their intellectual and spiritual growth—increased by 39%. But they also reported that their

performance

improved: at work (by 9%), at home (15%), in the community (12%), and personally (25%). Paradoxically, these gains were made even as participants spent less time on work and more on other aspects of their lives. They’re working smarter—and they’re more fo- cused, passionate, and committed to what they’re doing.

While hundreds of leaders at all levels go through this program every year, you don’t need a workshop to identify worthwhile experiments. The process is pretty straightfor- ward, though not simple. In the sections that follow, I will give you an overview of the process and take you through the basics of designing and implementing experiments to produce four-way wins.

The Total Leadership Process

The Total Leadership concept rests on three principles:

• Be real: Act with authenticity by clarify- ing what’s important.

• Be whole: Act with integrity by respecting the whole person.

• Be innovative: Act with creativity by experimenting with how things get done.

You begin the process by thinking, writing, and talking with peer coaches to identify your core values, your leadership vision, and the current alignment of your actions and values—clarifying what’s important. Peer coaching is enormously valuable, at this stage and throughout, because an outside per- spective provides a sounding board for your ideas, challenges you, gives you a fresh way to see the possibilities for innovation, and helps hold you accountable to your commitments.

You then identify the most important people—“key stakeholders”—in all domains and the performance expectations you have of one another. Then you talk with them: If you’re like most participants, you’ll be sur- prised to find that what, and how much, your key stakeholders actually need from you is different from, and less than, what you thought beforehand.

These insights create opportunities for you to focus your attention more intelligently, spurring innovative action. Now, with a firmer grounding in what’s most important, and a more complete picture of your inner circle, you begin to see new ways of making life better, not just for you but for the people around you.

The next step is to design experiments and then try them out during a controlled period of time. The best experiments are changes that your stakeholders wish for as much as, if not more than, you do.

Designing Experiments

To pursue a four-way win means to produce a

Stewart D. Friedman

(friedman@ wharton.upenn.edu) Professor of Management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia. He is the found- ing director of Wharton’s Leadership Program and of its Work/Life Integra- tion Project, and the former head of Ford Motor’s Leadership Development Center. He is the author of numerous books and articles on leadership development, work/life integration, and the dynamics of change, including

Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life

, forthcoming from Harvard Business Press.

is Practice

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change intended to fulfill multiple goals that benefit each and every domain of your life. In the domain of work, typical goals for an experiment can be captured under these broad headings: taking advantage of new opportunities for increasing productivity, reducing hidden costs, and improving the work environment. Goals for home and com- munity tend to revolve around improving rela- tionships and contributing more to society. For the self, it’s usually about improving health and finding greater meaning in life.

As you think through the goals for your experiment, keep in mind the interests and opinions of your key stakeholders and anyone else who might be affected by the changes you are envisioning. In exploring the idea of joining a community board, for instance, Ken- neth Chen sought advice from his boss, who had served on many boards, and also from the company’s charitable director and the vice president of talent. In this way, he got their support. His employers could see how his participation on a board would benefit the company by developing Kenneth’s leadership skills and his social network.

Some experiments benefit only a single domain directly while having indirect benefits in the others. For example, setting aside three mornings a week to exercise improves your health directly but may indirectly give you more energy for your work and raise your self-esteem, which in turn might make you a better father and friend. Other activities— such as running a half-marathon with your kids to raise funds for a charity sponsored by your company—occur in, and directly bene- fit, all four domains simultaneously. Whether the benefits are direct or indirect, achieving a four-way win is the goal. That’s what makes the changes sustainable: Everyone benefits. The expected gains need not accrue until sometime in the future, so keep in mind that some benefits may not be obvious—far-off career advancements, for instance, or a con- tact who might ultimately offer valuable connections.

Identify possibilities.

Open your mind to what’s possible and try to think of as many po- tential experiments as you can, describing in a sentence or two what you would do in each. This is a time to let your imagination run free. Don’t worry about all the potential obstacles at this point.

At first blush, conceiving of experiments that produce benefits for all the different realms may seem a formidable task. After all, if it were easy, people wouldn’t be feeling so much tension between work and the rest of their lives. But I’ve found that most people re- alize it’s not that hard once they approach the challenge systematically. And, like a puzzle, it can be fun, especially if you keep in mind that experiments must fit your particular circum- stances. Experiments can and do take myriad forms. But having sifted through hundreds of experiment designs, my research team and I have found that they tend to fall into nine general types. Use the nine categories de- scribed in the exhibit “How Can I Design an Experiment to Improve All Domains of My Life?” to organize your thinking.

One category of experiment involves changes in where and when work gets done. One workshop participant, a sales director for a global cement producer, tried working online from his local public library one day a week to free himself from his very long commute. This was a break from a company culture that didn’t traditionally support em- ployees working remotely, but the change benefited everyone. He had more time for outside interests, and he was more engaged and productive at work.

Another category has to do with regular self-reflection. As an example, you might keep a record of your activities, thoughts, and feel- ings over the course of a month to see how various actions influence your performance and quality of life. Still another category focuses on planning and organizing your time—such as trying out a new technology that coordinates commitments at work with those in the other domains.

Conversations about work and the rest of life tend to emphasize segmentation: How do I shut out the office when I am with my family? How can I eliminate distractions and concentrate purely on work? But, in some cases, it might be better to make boundaries between domains more permeable, not thicker. The very technologies that make it hard for us to maintain healthy boundaries among domains also enable us to blend them in ways—unfathomable even a decade ago— that can render us more productive and more fulfilled. These tools give us choices. The challenge we all face is learning how to use

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How Can I Design an Experiment to Improve All Domains of My Life?

Our research has revealed that most successful experiments combine components of nine general catego- ries. Thinking about possibilities in this way will make it easier for you to conceive of the small changes you can make that will mutually benefit your work, your home, your community, and yourself. Most experiments are a hybrid of some combination of these categories.

Tracking and Reflecting

Keeping a record of activities, thoughts, and feelings (and perhaps distributing it to friends, family, and coworkers) to assess progress on per- sonal and professional goals, thereby increasing self-awareness and main- taining priorities.

Examples

Record visits to the gym along with changes in energy levels

Track the times of day when you feel most engaged or most le- thargic

Planning and Organizing

Taking actions designed to better use time and prepare and plan for the future.

Examples

Use a PDA for all activities, not just work

Share your schedule with some- one else

Prepare for the week on Sunday evening

Rejuvenating and Restoring

Attending to body, mind, and spirit so that the tasks of daily living and work- ing are undertaken with renewed power, focus, and commitment.

Examples

Quit unhealthy physical habits

(smoking, drinking)

Make time for reading a novel

Engage in activities that improve emotional and spiritual health (yoga, meditation, etc.)

Appreciating and Caring

Having fun with people (typically, by doing things with coworkers outside work), caring for others, and appreci- ating relationships as a way of bond- ing at a basic human level to respect the whole person, which increases trust.

Examples

Join a book group or health club with coworkers

Help your son complete his home- work

Devote one day a month to com- munity service

Focusing and Concentrating

Being physically present, psychologi- cally present, or both when needed to pay attention to stakeholders who matter most. Sometimes this means saying no to opportunities or obliga- tions. Includes attempts to show more respect to important people encoun- tered in different domains and the need to be accessible to them.

Examples

Turn off digital communication devices at a set time

Set aside a specific time to focus on one thing or person

Review e-mail at preset times dur- ing the day

Revealing and Engaging

Sharing more of yourself with others— and listening—so they can better sup- port your values and the steps you want to take toward your leadership vision. By enhancing communication

about different aspects of life, you demonstrate respect for the whole person.

Examples

Have weekly conversations about religion with spouse

Describe your vision to others

Mentor a new employee

Time Shifting and “Re-Placing”

Working remotely or during different hours to increase flexibility and thus better fit in community, family, and personal activities while increasing efficiency; questioning traditional assumptions and trying new ways to get things done.

Examples

Work from home

Take music lessons during your lunch hour

Do work during your commute

Delegating and Developing

Reallocating tasks in ways that in- crease trust, free up time, and develop skills in yourself and others; working smarter by reducing or eliminating low-priority activities.

Examples

Hire a personal assistant

Have a subordinate take on some of your responsibilities

Exploring and Venturing

Taking steps toward a new job, career, or other activity that better aligns your work, home, community, and self with your core values and aspirations.

Examples

Take on new roles at work, such as a cross-functional assignment

Try a new coaching style

Join the board of your child’s day care center

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them wisely, and smart experiments give you an opportunity to increase your skill in doing so. The main point is to identify possibilities that will work well in your unique situation.

All effective experiments require that you question traditional assumptions about how things get done, as the sales director did. It’s easier to feel free to do this, and to take inno- vative action, when you know that your goal is to improve performance in all domains and that you’ll be gathering data about the impact of your experiment to determine if indeed it is working—for your key stakeholders and for you.

Whatever type you choose, the most useful experiments feel like something of a stretch: not too easy, not too daunting. It might be something quite mundane for someone else, but that doesn’t matter. What’s critical is that

you

see it as a moderately difficult challenge.

Choose a few, get started, and adapt.

Coming up with possibilities is an exercise in unbounded imagination. But when it comes time to take action, it’s not practical to try out more than three experiments at once. Typi- cally, two turn out to be relatively successful and one goes haywire, so you will earn some small wins, and learn something useful about leadership, without biting off more than you can chew. Now the priority is to narrow the list to the three most-promising candidates by reviewing which will:

• Give you the best overall return on your investment

• Be the most costly in regret and missed opportunities if you don’t do it

• Allow you to practice the leadership skills you most want to develop

• Be the most fun by involving more of what you want to be doing

• Move you furthest toward your vision of how you want to lead your life

Once you choose and begin to move down the road with your experiment, however, be prepared to adapt to the unforeseen. Don’t become too wedded to the details of any one experiment’s plan, because you will at some point be surprised and need to adjust. An ex- ecutive I’ll call Lim, for example, chose as one experiment to run the Chicago Marathon. He had been feeling out of shape, which in turn diminished his energy and focus both at work and at home. His wife, Joanne, was pregnant with their first child and initially supported

the plan because she believed that the focus required by the training and the physical out- let it provided would make Lim a better father. The family also had a strong tradition of athleticism, and Joanne herself was an accomplished athlete. Lim was training with his boss and other colleagues, and all agreed that it would be a healthy endeavor that would improve professional communication (as they thought there would be plenty of time to bond during training).

But as her delivery date approached, Joanne became apprehensive, which she expressed to Lim as concern that he might get injured. Her real concern, though, was that he was spending so much time on an activity that might drain his energy at a point when the family needed him most. One adjustment that Lim made to reassure Joanne of his commitment to their family was to initiate another experiment in which he took the steps needed to allow him to work at home on Thursday afternoons. He had to set up some new technologies and agree to send a monthly memo to his boss summarizing what he was accomplishing on those afternoons. He also bought a baby sling, which would allow him to keep his new son with him while at home.

In the end, not only were Joanne and their baby on hand to cheer Lim on while he ran the marathon, but she ended up joining him for the second half of the race to give him a boost when she saw his energy flagging. His business unit’s numbers improved during the period when he was training and working at home. So did the unit’s morale—people began to see the company as more flexible, and they were encouraged to be more creative in how they got their own work done—and word got around. Executives throughout the firm began to come up with their own ideas for ways to pay more attention to other sides of their em- ployees’ lives and so build a stronger sense of community at work.

The investment in a well-designed experi- ment almost always pays off because you learn how to lead in new and creative ways in all parts of your life. And if your experiments turn out well—as they usually, but not always, do—it will benefit everyone: you, your busi- ness, your family, and your community.

Measuring Progress

The only way to fail with an experiment is to

Typically, two experiments turn out to be relatively successful and one goes haywire.

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fail to learn from it, and this makes useful met- rics essential. No doubt it’s better to achieve the results you are after than to fall short, but hitting targets does not in itself advance you toward becoming the leader you want to be. Failed experiments give you, and those around you, information that helps create better ones in the future.

The exhibit “How Do I Know If My Experi- ment Is Working?” shows how Kenneth Chen measured his progress. He used this simple chart to spell out the intended benefits of his experiment in each of the four domains and how he would assess whether he had realized these benefits. To set up your own scorecard, use a separate sheet for each experiment; at

the top of the page, write a brief description of it. Then record your goals for each domain in the first column. In the middle column, de- scribe your results metrics: how you will mea- sure whether the goals for each domain have been achieved. In the third column, describe your action metrics—the plan for the steps you will take to implement your experiment. As you begin to implement your plan, you may find that your initial indicators are too broad or too vague, so refine your scorecard as you go along to make it more useful for you. The main point is to have practical ways of measur- ing your outcomes and your progress toward them, and the approach you take only needs to work for you and your stakeholders.

How Do I Know If My Experiment Is Working?

Using this tool, an executive I’ll call Kenneth Chen systematically set out in detail his various goals, the metrics he would use to measure his progress, and the steps he would take in conducting an experiment that would further those goals—joining the board of a nonprofit organiza- tion. Kenneth’s work sheet is merely an example: Every person’s experiments, goals, and metrics are unique.

Visit richerlife.tools.hbr.org for further work sheets and for blank versions to download. For a more comprehensive offering of online tools, videos, and blogs, go to www.totalleadership.org.

EXPERIMENT’S GOALS HOW I WILL MEASURE SUCCESS IMPLEMENTATION STEPS

Work

To fulfill the expectation that executives will give back to the local community

To establish networks with other officers in my company and other professionals in the area

To learn leadership skills from other board members and from the organization I join

Collect business cards from everyone I meet on the board and during board meetings, and keep track of the number of professionals I meet

After each meeting, regularly record the leadership skills of those I would like to emulate

❏ Meet with my manager, who has sat on many boards and can provide support and advice

❏ Meet with the director of my company’s foundation to determine my real interests and to help assess what relation- ship our firm has with various community organizations

❏ Discuss my course of action with my fiancée and see whether joining a board interests her

❏ Sign up to attend the Decem- ber 15 overview session of the Business on Board program

❏ Assess different opportunities within the community and then reach out to organizations I’m interested in

❏ Apply for membership to a community board

Home

To join a board that can involve my fiancée, Celine

To have something to discuss with my sister (a special-education instructor)

See whether Celine gets involved in the board

Record the number of conversations my sister and I have about community service for the next three months and see whether they have brought us closer

Community

To provide my leadership skills to a nonprofit organization

To get more involved in giving back to the community

Record what I learn about each nonprofit organization I research

Record the number of times I attend board meetings

Self

To feel good about contributing to others’ welfare

To see others grow as a result of my efforts

To become more compassionate

Assess how I feel about myself in a daily journal

Assess the effect I have on others in terms of potential number of people affected

Ask for feedback from others about whether I’ve become more compassionate

A Sample Scorecard:

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Workshop participants have used all kinds of metrics: cost savings from reduced travel, number of e-mail misunderstandings averted, degree of satisfaction with family time, hours spent volunteering at a teen center, and so on. Metrics may be objective or subjective, qualitative or quantitative, reported by you or by others, and frequently or intermittently observed. When it comes to frequency, for in- stance, it helps to consider how long you’ll be able to remember what you did. For example, if you were to go on a diet to get healthier, in- crease energy, and enhance key relationships, food intake would be an important metric. But would you be able to remember what you ate two days ago?

Small Wins for Big Change

Experiments shouldn’t be massive, all- encompassing shifts in the way you live. Highly ambitious designs usually fail because they’re too much to handle. The best experi- ments let you try something new while mini- mizing the inevitable risks associated with change. When the stakes are smaller, it’s easier to overcome the fear of failure that inhibits innovation. You start to see results, and others take note, which both inspires you to go further and builds support from your key stakeholders.

Another benefit of the small-wins approach to experiments is that it opens doors that would otherwise be closed. You can say to people invested in the decision, “Let’s just try this. If it doesn’t work, we’ll go back to the old way or try something different.” By framing an experiment as a trial, you reduce resistance because people are more likely to try some- thing new if they know it’s not permanent and if they have control over deciding whether the experiment is working according to

their

performance expectations. But “small” is a relative term—what might

look like a small step for you could seem like a giant leap to me, and vice versa. So don’t get hung up on the word. What’s more, this isn’t about the scope or importance of the changes you eventually make. Large-scale change is grounded in small steps toward a big idea. So while the steps in an experiment might be small, the goals are not. Ismail, a successful 50-year-old entrepreneur and CEO of an engi- neering services company, described the goal for his first experiment this way: “Restructure

my company and my role in it.” There’s noth- ing small about that. He felt he was missing a sense of purpose.

Ismail designed practical steps that would allow him to move toward his large goal over time. His first experiments were small and achievable. He introduced a new method that both his colleagues and his wife could use to communicate with him. He began to hold sacrosanct time for his family and his church. As he looked for ways to free up more time, he initiated delegation experiments that had the effect of flattening his organization’s structure. These small wins crossed over several domains, and eventually he did indeed transform his company and his own role in it. When I spoke with him 18 months after he’d started, he acknowledged that he’d had a hard time coping with the loss of control over tactical business matters, but he described his experiments as “a testament to the idea of winning the small battles and letting the war be won as a result.” He and his leadership team both felt more confident about the firm’s new organizational structure.

• • •

People try the Total Leadership program for a variety of reasons. Some feel unfulfilled be- cause they’re not doing what they love. Some don’t feel genuine because they’re not acting according to their values. Others feel discon- nected, isolated from people who matter to them. They crave stronger relationships, built on trust, and yearn for enriched social net- works. Still others are just in a rut. They want to tap into their creative energy but don’t know how (and sometimes lack the courage) to do so. They feel out of control and unable to fit in all that’s important to them.

My hunch is that there are more four-way wins available to you than you’d think. They are there for the taking. You have to know how to look for them and then find the sup- port and zeal to pursue them. By providing a blueprint for how you can be real, be whole, and be innovative as a leader in all parts of your life, this program helps you perform better according to the standards of the most important people in your life; feel better in all the domains of your life; and foster greater harmony among the domains by increasing the resources available to you to fit all the parts of your life together. No matter what your career stage or current position, you

You can say to people: “Let’s just try this. If it doesn’t work, we’ll go back to the old way or try something different.”

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can be a better leader and have a richer life— if you are ready and willing to rise to the challenge.

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Further Reading

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B O O K

Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life by Stewart D. Friedman Harvard Business Press June 2008 Product no. 3285

This book, on which the article is based, offers additional ideas on how to perform well as a leader, not by trading off one life domain for another, but by finding mutual value among all four—work, home, community, and self. The author shows you how to achieve these “four-way wins” as a leader who can: Be real—act with authenticity by clarifying what’s important; Be whole—act with integrity by respecting the whole person; and Be innovative—act with creativity by experimenting to find new solutions. The book includes more than 30 hands-on tools to help you produce stronger business re- sults, find clearer purpose in what you do, feel more connected to the people who matter most, and generate sustainable change.

A R T I C L E S Work and Life: The End of the Zero-Sum Game by Stewart D. Friedman, Perry Christensen, and Jessica DeGroot Harvard Business Review July 2000 Product no. 4452

Not only do successful leaders pay attention to all dimensions of their lives—they encour- age their employees to do the same. Leaders who treat employees’ work and personal lives as complementary, not competing, priorities discover that employees respond with greater effort and loyalty. To create a work environ- ment that supports all domains of employees’ lives: 1) Clarify what’s important. Be explicit about your unit’s priorities and your expecta- tions for employees’ performance, but give employees great autonomy over how to achieve the goals you’ve laid out. At the same

time, encourage employees to identify their concerns and goals outside the office. 2) Take time to learn about employees’ personal situations. Not only does this build trust, it also creates opportunities to learn about other talents that employees could bring to your business. 3) Continually experiment with how work gets done. Streamlining work processes can improve performance and give employees more time to pursue personal goals.

Success That Lasts by Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson Harvard Business Review April 2004 Product no. 659X

These authors provide another process for determining what matters most to you, a step you take before designing experiments for change. First, imagine life satisfaction as consisting of four categories: happiness, achievement, significance (positively affect- ing those you care about), and legacy (help- ing others find future success). Second, assess the various categories of satisfaction you’ve already experienced. Third, notice patterns: Are some categories meager? Others too full? Are the patterns in line with your goals? Fourth, identify which categories need attention and which show “just enough” success so that you can focus your efforts on a different category.

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by Peter F. Drucker

Included with this full-text

Harvard Business Review

article:

The Idea in Brief—the core idea The Idea in Practice—putting the idea to work

Article Summary

Managing Oneself

A list of related materials, with annotations to guide further exploration of the article’s ideas and applications

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Further Reading

Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves—their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.

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We live in an age of unprecedented oppor- tunity: If you’ve got ambition, drive, and smarts, you can rise to the top of your cho- sen profession—regardless of where you started out. But with opportunity comes re- sponsibility. Companies today aren’t man- aging their knowledge workers’ careers. Rather, we must each be our own chief ex- ecutive officer.

Simply put, it’s up to you to carve out your place in the work world and know when to change course. And it’s up to you to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years.

To do all of these things well, you’ll need to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself. What are your most valuable strengths and most dangerous weaknesses? Equally im- portant, how do you learn and work with others? What are your most deeply held val- ues? And in what type of work environment can you make the greatest contribution?

The implication is clear: Only when you op- erate from a combination of your strengths and self-knowledge can you achieve true— and lasting—excellence.

To build a life of excellence, begin by asking yourself these questions:

“What are my strengths?”

To accurately identify your strengths, use

feedback analysis

. Every time you make a key decision, write down the outcome you ex- pect. Several months later, compare the actual results with your expected results. Look for patterns in what you’re seeing: What results are you skilled at generating? What abilities do you need to enhance in order to get the re- sults you want? What unproductive habits are preventing you from creating the outcomes you desire? In identifying opportunities for im- provement, don’t waste time cultivating skill areas where you have little competence. In- stead, concentrate on—and build on—your strengths.

“How do I work?”

In what ways do you work best? Do you pro- cess information most effectively by reading it, or by hearing others discuss it? Do you accomplish the most by working with other people, or by working alone? Do you per- form best while making decisions, or while advising others on key matters? Are you in top form when things get stressful, or do you function optimally in a highly predict- able environment?

“What are my values?”

What are your ethics? What do you see as your most important responsibilities for living a worthy, ethical life? Do your organization’s ethics resonate with your own values? If not, your career will likely be marked by frustration and poor performance.

“Where do I belong?”

Consider your strengths, preferred work style, and values. Based on these qualities, in what kind of work environment would you fit in best? Find the perfect fit, and you’ll transform yourself from a merely acceptable employee into a star performer.

“What can I contribute?”

In earlier eras, companies told businesspeople what their contribution should be. Today, you have choices. To decide how you can best en- hance your organization’s performance, first ask what the situation requires. Based on your strengths, work style, and values, how might you make the greatest contribution to your organization’s efforts?

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Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves—their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.

We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: If you’ve got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out.

But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren’t managing their employ- ees’ careers; knowledge workers must, effec- tively, be their own chief executive officers. It’s up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years. To do those things well, you’ll need to cultivate a deep understanding of your- self—not only what your strengths and weak- nesses are but also how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest contribution. Because only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence.

History’s great achievers—a Napoléon, a da Vinci, a Mozart—have always managed them- selves. That, in large measure, is what makes them great achievers. But they are rare excep-

tions, so unusual both in their talents and their accomplishments as to be considered outside the boundaries of ordinary human ex- istence. Now, most of us, even those of us with modest endowments, will have to learn to manage ourselves. We will have to learn to de- velop ourselves. We will have to place our- selves where we can make the greatest contri- bution. And we will have to stay mentally alert and engaged during a 50-year working life, which means knowing how and when to change the work we do.

What Are My Strengths?

Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. More often, people know what they are not good at—and even then more people are wrong than right. And yet, a person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something one can- not do at all.

Throughout history, people had little need to know their strengths. A person was

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born into a position and a line of work: The peasant’s son would also be a peasant; the ar- tisan’s daughter, an artisan’s wife; and so on. But now people have choices. We need to know our strengths in order to know where we belong.

The only way to discover your strengths is through feedback analysis. Whenever you make a key decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results with your expectations. I have been practicing this method for 15 to 20 years now, and every time I do it, I am surprised. The feedback analysis showed me, for instance—and to my great sur- prise—that I have an intuitive understanding of technical people, whether they are engi- neers or accountants or market researchers. It also showed me that I don’t really resonate with generalists.

Feedback analysis is by no means new. It was invented sometime in the fourteenth cen- tury by an otherwise totally obscure German theologian and picked up quite independently, some 150 years later, by John Calvin and Igna- tius of Loyola, each of whom incorporated it into the practice of his followers. In fact, the steadfast focus on performance and results that this habit produces explains why the insti- tutions these two men founded, the Calvinist church and the Jesuit order, came to dominate Europe within 30 years.

Practiced consistently, this simple method will show you within a fairly short period of time, maybe two or three years, where your strengths lie—and this is the most important thing to know. The method will show you what you are doing or failing to do that de- prives you of the full benefits of your strengths. It will show you where you are not particularly competent. And finally, it will show you where you have no strengths and cannot perform.

Several implications for action follow from feedback analysis. First and foremost, concen- trate on your strengths. Put yourself where your strengths can produce results.

Second, work on improving your strengths. Analysis will rapidly show where you need to improve skills or acquire new ones. It will also show the gaps in your knowledge—and those can usually be filled. Mathematicians are born, but everyone can learn trigonometry.

Third, discover where your intellectual arro-

gance is causing disabling ignorance and over- come it. Far too many people—especially peo- ple with great expertise in one area—are contemptuous of knowledge in other areas or believe that being bright is a substitute for knowledge. First-rate engineers, for instance, tend to take pride in not knowing anything about people. Human beings, they believe, are much too disorderly for the good engineering mind. Human resources professionals, by con- trast, often pride themselves on their igno- rance of elementary accounting or of quantita- tive methods altogether. But taking pride in such ignorance is self-defeating. Go to work on acquiring the skills and knowledge you need to fully realize your strengths.

It is equally essential to remedy your bad habits—the things you do or fail to do that in- hibit your effectiveness and performance. Such habits will quickly show up in the feedback. For example, a planner may find that his beau- tiful plans fail because he does not follow through on them. Like so many brilliant peo- ple, he believes that ideas move mountains. But bulldozers move mountains; ideas show where the bulldozers should go to work. This planner will have to learn that the work does not stop when the plan is completed. He must find people to carry out the plan and explain it to them. He must adapt and change it as he puts it into action. And finally, he must decide when to stop pushing the plan.

At the same time, feedback will also reveal when the problem is a lack of manners. Man- ners are the lubricating oil of an organization. It is a law of nature that two moving bodies in contact with each other create friction. This is as true for human beings as it is for inanimate objects. Manners—simple things like saying “please” and “thank you” and knowing a per- son’s name or asking after her family—enable two people to work together whether they like each other or not. Bright people, espe- cially bright young people, often do not un- derstand this. If analysis shows that some- one’s brilliant work fails again and again as soon as cooperation from others is required, it probably indicates a lack of courtesy—that is, a lack of manners.

Comparing your expectations with your re- sults also indicates what not to do. We all have a vast number of areas in which we have no talent or skill and little chance of becom- ing even mediocre. In those areas a person—

Peter F. Drucker

is the Marie Rankin Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management (Emeritus) at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Cali- fornia. This article is an excerpt from his book

Management Challenges for the 21st Century

(HarperCollins, 1999).

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and especially a knowledge worker—should not take on work, jobs, and assignments. One should waste as little effort as possible on im- proving areas of low competence. It takes far more energy and work to improve from in- competence to mediocrity than it takes to im- prove from first-rate performance to excel- lence. And yet most people—especially most teachers and most organizations—concen- trate on making incompetent performers into mediocre ones. Energy, resources, and time should go instead to making a competent per- son into a star performer.

How Do I Perform?

Amazingly few people know how they get things done. Indeed, most of us do not even know that different people work and perform differently. Too many people work in ways that are not their ways, and that almost guarantees nonperformance. For knowledge workers, How do I perform? may be an even more important question than What are my strengths?

Like one’s strengths, how one performs is unique. It is a matter of personality. Whether personality be a matter of nature or nurture, it surely is formed long before a person goes to work. And

how

a person performs is a given, just as

what

a person is good at or not good at is a given. A person’s way of performing can be slightly modified, but it is unlikely to be com- pletely changed—and certainly not easily. Just as people achieve results by doing what they are good at, they also achieve results by work- ing in ways that they best perform. A few com- mon personality traits usually determine how a person performs.

Am I a reader or a listener?

The first thing to know is whether you are a reader or a lis- tener. Far too few people even know that there are readers and listeners and that peo- ple are rarely both. Even fewer know which of the two they themselves are. But some ex- amples will show how damaging such igno- rance can be.

When Dwight Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, he was the darling of the press. His press confer- ences were famous for their style—General Eisenhower showed total command of what- ever question he was asked, and he was able to describe a situation and explain a policy in two or three beautifully polished and elegant sen- tences. Ten years later, the same journalists

who had been his admirers held President Eisenhower in open contempt. He never ad- dressed the questions, they complained, but rambled on endlessly about something else. And they constantly ridiculed him for butcher- ing the King’s English in incoherent and un- grammatical answers.

Eisenhower apparently did not know that he was a reader, not a listener. When he was Supreme Commander in Europe, his aides made sure that every question from the press was presented in writing at least half an hour before a conference was to begin. And then Eisenhower was in total command. When he became president, he succeeded two listeners, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Both men knew themselves to be listeners and both enjoyed free-for-all press conferences. Eisen- hower may have felt that he had to do what his two predecessors had done. As a result, he never even heard the questions journalists asked. And Eisenhower is not even an extreme case of a nonlistener.

A few years later, Lyndon Johnson destroyed his presidency, in large measure, by not know- ing that he was a listener. His predecessor, John Kennedy, was a reader who had assem- bled a brilliant group of writers as his assis- tants, making sure that they wrote to him be- fore discussing their memos in person. Johnson kept these people on his staff—and they kept on writing. He never, apparently, understood one word of what they wrote. Yet as a senator, Johnson had been superb; for parliamentari- ans have to be, above all, listeners.

Few listeners can be made, or can make themselves, into competent readers—and vice versa. The listener who tries to be a reader will, therefore, suffer the fate of Lyndon Johnson, whereas the reader who tries to be a listener will suffer the fate of Dwight Eisenhower. They will not perform or achieve.

How do I learn?

The second thing to know about how one performs is to know how one learns. Many first-class writers—Winston Churchill is but one example—do poorly in school. They tend to remember their school- ing as pure torture. Yet few of their classmates remember it the same way. They may not have enjoyed the school very much, but the worst they suffered was boredom. The explanation is that writers do not, as a rule, learn by listening and reading. They learn by writing. Because schools do not allow them to learn this way,

It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.

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they get poor grades. Schools everywhere are organized on the as-

sumption that there is only one right way to learn and that it is the same way for everybody. But to be forced to learn the way a school teaches is sheer hell for students who learn dif- ferently. Indeed, there are probably half a dozen different ways to learn.

There are people, like Churchill, who learn by writing. Some people learn by taking copi- ous notes. Beethoven, for example, left behind an enormous number of sketchbooks, yet he said he never actually looked at them when he composed. Asked why he kept them, he is re- ported to have replied, “If I don’t write it down immediately, I forget it right away. If I put it into a sketchbook, I never forget it and I never have to look it up again.” Some people learn by doing. Others learn by hearing themselves talk.

A chief executive I know who converted a small and mediocre family business into the leading company in its industry was one of those people who learn by talking. He was in the habit of calling his entire senior staff into his office once a week and then talking at them for two or three hours. He would raise policy issues and argue three different positions on each one. He rarely asked his associates for comments or questions; he simply needed an audience to hear himself talk. That’s how he learned. And although he is a fairly extreme case, learning through talking is by no means an unusual method. Successful trial lawyers learn the same way, as do many medical diag- nosticians (and so do I).

Of all the important pieces of self-knowledge, understanding how you learn is the easiest to acquire. When I ask people, “How do you learn?” most of them know the answer. But when I ask, “Do you act on this knowledge?” few answer yes. And yet, acting on this knowl- edge is the key to performance; or rather,

not

acting on this knowledge condemns one to nonperformance.

Am I a reader or a listener? and How do I learn? are the first questions to ask. But they are by no means the only ones. To manage yourself effectively, you also have to ask, Do I work well with people, or am I a loner? And if you do work well with people, you then must ask, In what relationship?

Some people work best as subordinates. Gen- eral George Patton, the great American military hero of World War II, is a prime example. Patton

was America’s top troop commander. Yet when he was proposed for an independent command, General George Marshall, the U.S. chief of staff—and probably the most successful picker of men in U.S. history—said, “Patton is the best subordinate the American army has ever pro- duced, but he would be the worst commander.”

Some people work best as team members. Others work best alone. Some are exception- ally talented as coaches and mentors; others are simply incompetent as mentors.

Another crucial question is, Do I produce re- sults as a decision maker or as an adviser? A great many people perform best as advisers but cannot take the burden and pressure of making the decision. A good many other peo- ple, by contrast, need an adviser to force them- selves to think; then they can make decisions and act on them with speed, self-confidence, and courage.

This is a reason, by the way, that the num- ber two person in an organization often fails when promoted to the number one position. The top spot requires a decision maker. Strong decision makers often put somebody they trust into the number two spot as their adviser— and in that position the person is outstanding. But in the number one spot, the same person fails. He or she knows what the decision should be but cannot accept the responsibility of actu- ally making it.

Other important questions to ask include, Do I perform well under stress, or do I need a highly structured and predictable environ- ment? Do I work best in a big organization or a small one? Few people work well in all kinds of environments. Again and again, I have seen people who were very successful in large organizations flounder miserably when they moved into smaller ones. And the re- verse is equally true.

The conclusion bears repeating: Do not try to change yourself—you are unlikely to suc- ceed. But work hard to improve the way you perform. And try not to take on work you can- not perform or will only perform poorly.

What Are My Values?

To be able to manage yourself, you finally have to ask, What are my values? This is not a question of ethics. With respect to ethics, the rules are the same for everybody, and the test is a simple one. I call it the “mirror test.”

In the early years of this century, the most

Do not try to change yourself—you are unlikely to succeed. Work to improve the way you perform.

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highly respected diplomat of all the great pow- ers was the German ambassador in London. He was clearly destined for great things—to become his country’s foreign minister, at least, if not its federal chancellor. Yet in 1906 he abruptly resigned rather than preside over a dinner given by the diplomatic corps for Ed- ward VII. The king was a notorious womanizer and made it clear what kind of dinner he wanted. The ambassador is reported to have said, “I refuse to see a pimp in the mirror in the morning when I shave.”

That is the mirror test. Ethics requires that you ask yourself, What kind of person do I want to see in the mirror in the morning? What is ethical behavior in one kind of orga- nization or situation is ethical behavior in an- other. But ethics is only part of a value sys- tem—especially of an organization’s value system.

To work in an organization whose value sys- tem is unacceptable or incompatible with one’s own condemns a person both to frustration and to nonperformance.

Consider the experience of a highly success- ful human resources executive whose com- pany was acquired by a bigger organization. After the acquisition, she was promoted to do the kind of work she did best, which included selecting people for important positions. The executive deeply believed that a company should hire people for such positions from the outside only after exhausting all the inside pos- sibilities. But her new company believed in first looking outside “to bring in fresh blood.” There is something to be said for both ap- proaches—in my experience, the proper one is to do some of both. They are, however, funda- mentally incompatible—not as policies but as values. They bespeak different views of the re- lationship between organizations and people; different views of the responsibility of an orga- nization to its people and their development; and different views of a person’s most impor- tant contribution to an enterprise. After sev- eral years of frustration, the executive quit—at considerable financial loss. Her values and the values of the organization simply were not compatible.

Similarly, whether a pharmaceutical com- pany tries to obtain results by making constant, small improvements or by achieving occa- sional, highly expensive, and risky “break- throughs” is not primarily an economic ques-

tion. The results of either strategy may be pretty much the same. At bottom, there is a conflict between a value system that sees the company’s contribution in terms of helping physicians do better what they already do and a value system that is oriented toward making scientific discoveries.

Whether a business should be run for short- term results or with a focus on the long term is likewise a question of values. Financial ana- lysts believe that businesses can be run for both simultaneously. Successful businesspeo- ple know better. To be sure, every company has to produce short-term results. But in any conflict between short-term results and long- term growth, each company will determine its own priority. This is not primarily a disagree- ment about economics. It is fundamentally a value conflict regarding the function of a busi- ness and the responsibility of management.

Value conflicts are not limited to business organizations. One of the fastest-growing pas- toral churches in the United States measures success by the number of new parishioners. Its leadership believes that what matters is how many newcomers join the congregation. The Good Lord will then minister to their spiritual needs or at least to the needs of a sufficient percentage. Another pastoral, evan- gelical church believes that what matters is people’s spiritual growth. The church eases out newcomers who join but do not enter into its spiritual life.

Again, this is not a matter of numbers. At first glance, it appears that the second church grows more slowly. But it retains a far larger proportion of newcomers than the first one does. Its growth, in other words, is more solid. This is also not a theological problem, or only secondarily so. It is a problem about values. In a public debate, one pastor argued, “Unless you first come to church, you will never find the gate to the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“No,” answered the other. “Until you first look for the gate to the Kingdom of Heaven, you don’t belong in church.”

Organizations, like people, have values. To be effective in an organization, a person’s val- ues must be compatible with the organiza- tion’s values. They do not need to be the same, but they must be close enough to coexist. Oth- erwise, the person will not only be frustrated but also will not produce results.

A person’s strengths and the way that per-

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son performs rarely conflict; the two are com- plementary. But there is sometimes a conflict between a person’s values and his or her strengths. What one does well—even very well and successfully—may not fit with one’s value system. In that case, the work may not appear to be worth devoting one’s life to (or even a substantial portion thereof).

If I may, allow me to interject a personal note. Many years ago, I too had to decide be- tween my values and what I was doing success- fully. I was doing very well as a young invest- ment banker in London in the mid-1930s, and the work clearly fit my strengths. Yet I did not see myself making a contribution as an asset manager. People, I realized, were what I val- ued, and I saw no point in being the richest man in the cemetery. I had no money and no other job prospects. Despite the continuing Depression, I quit—and it was the right thing to do. Values, in other words, are and should be the ultimate test.

Where Do I Belong?

A small number of people know very early where they belong. Mathematicians, musi- cians, and cooks, for instance, are usually mathematicians, musicians, and cooks by the time they are four or five years old. Physi- cians usually decide on their careers in their teens, if not earlier. But most people, espe- cially highly gifted people, do not really know where they belong until they are well past their mid-twenties. By that time, how- ever, they should know the answers to the three questions: What are my strengths? How do I perform? and, What are my values? And then they can and should decide where they belong.

Or rather, they should be able to decide where they do

not

belong. The person who has learned that he or she does not perform well in a big organization should have learned to say no to a position in one. The person who has learned that he or she is not a decision maker should have learned to say no to a deci- sion-making assignment. A General Patton (who probably never learned this himself) should have learned to say no to an indepen- dent command.

Equally important, knowing the answer to these questions enables a person to say to an opportunity, an offer, or an assignment, “Yes, I will do that. But this is the way I should be

doing it. This is the way it should be struc- tured. This is the way the relationships should be. These are the kind of results you should ex- pect from me, and in this time frame, because this is who I am.”

Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for oppor- tunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person—hardworking and compe- tent but otherwise mediocre—into an out- standing performer.

What Should I Contribute?

Throughout history, the great majority of peo- ple never had to ask the question, What should I contribute? They were told what to contribute, and their tasks were dictated ei- ther by the work itself—as it was for the peas- ant or artisan—or by a master or a mistress— as it was for domestic servants. And until very recently, it was taken for granted that most people were subordinates who did as they were told. Even in the 1950s and 1960s, the new knowledge workers (the so-called organi- zation men) looked to their company’s person- nel department to plan their careers.

Then in the late 1960s, no one wanted to be told what to do any longer. Young men and women began to ask, What do

I

want to do? And what they heard was that the way to con- tribute was to “do your own thing.” But this so- lution was as wrong as the organization men’s had been. Very few of the people who believed that doing one’s own thing would lead to con- tribution, self-fulfillment, and success achieved any of the three.

But still, there is no return to the old an- swer of doing what you are told or assigned to do. Knowledge workers in particular have to learn to ask a question that has not been asked before: What

should

my contribution be? To answer it, they must address three dis- tinct elements: What does the situation re- quire? Given my strengths, my way of per- forming, and my values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done? And finally, What results have to be achieved to make a difference?

Consider the experience of a newly ap- pointed hospital administrator. The hospital was big and prestigious, but it had been coasting on its reputation for 30 years. The

What one does well— even very well and successfully—may not fit with one’s value system.

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new administrator decided that his contribu- tion should be to establish a standard of ex- cellence in one important area within two years. He chose to focus on the emergency room, which was big, visible, and sloppy. He decided that every patient who came into the ER had to be seen by a qualified nurse within 60 seconds. Within 12 months, the hospital’s emergency room had become a model for all hospitals in the United States, and within an- other two years, the whole hospital had been transformed.

As this example suggests, it is rarely possi- ble—or even particularly fruitful—to look too far ahead. A plan can usually cover no more than 18 months and still be reasonably clear and specific. So the question in most cases should be, Where and how can I achieve results that will make a difference within the next year and a half? The answer must bal- ance several things. First, the results should be hard to achieve—they should require “stretching,” to use the current buzzword. But also, they should be within reach. To aim at results that cannot be achieved—or that can be only under the most unlikely circum- stances—is not being ambitious; it is being foolish. Second, the results should be mean- ingful. They should make a difference. Fi- nally, results should be visible and, if at all possible, measurable. From this will come a course of action: what to do, where and how to start, and what goals and deadlines to set.

Responsibility for Relationships

Very few people work by themselves and achieve results by themselves—a few great art- ists, a few great scientists, a few great athletes. Most people work with others and are effec- tive with other people. That is true whether they are members of an organization or inde- pendently employed. Managing yourself re- quires taking responsibility for relationships. This has two parts.

The first is to accept the fact that other peo- ple are as much individuals as you yourself are. They perversely insist on behaving like human beings. This means that they too have their strengths; they too have their ways of getting things done; they too have their values. To be effective, therefore, you have to know the strengths, the performance modes, and the val- ues of your coworkers.

That sounds obvious, but few people pay at-

tention to it. Typical is the person who was trained to write reports in his or her first as- signment because that boss was a reader. Even if the next boss is a listener, the person goes on writing reports that, invariably, produce no re- sults. Invariably the boss will think the em- ployee is stupid, incompetent, and lazy, and he or she will fail. But that could have been avoided if the employee had only looked at the new boss and analyzed how

this

boss performs. Bosses are neither a title on the organiza-

tion chart nor a “function.” They are individu- als and are entitled to do their work in the way they do it best. It is incumbent on the people who work with them to observe them, to find out how they work, and to adapt themselves to what makes their bosses most effective. This, in fact, is the secret of “managing” the boss.

The same holds true for all your coworkers. Each works his or her way, not your way. And each is entitled to work in his or her way. What matters is whether they perform and what their values are. As for how they perform— each is likely to do it differently. The first secret of effectiveness is to understand the people you work with and depend on so that you can make use of their strengths, their ways of working, and their values. Working relation- ships are as much based on the people as they are on the work.

The second part of relationship responsibil- ity is taking responsibility for communication. Whenever I, or any other consultant, start to work with an organization, the first thing I hear about are all the personality conflicts. Most of these arise from the fact that people do not know what other people are doing and how they do their work, or what contribution the other people are concentrating on and what results they expect. And the reason they do not know is that they have not asked and therefore have not been told.

This failure to ask reflects human stupidity less than it reflects human history. Until re- cently, it was unnecessary to tell any of these things to anybody. In the medieval city, every- one in a district plied the same trade. In the countryside, everyone in a valley planted the same crop as soon as the frost was out of the ground. Even those few people who did things that were not “common” worked alone, so they did not have to tell anyone what they were doing.

Today the great majority of people work

The first secret of effectiveness is to understand the people you work with so that you can make use of their strengths.

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with others who have different tasks and re- sponsibilities. The marketing vice president may have come out of sales and know every- thing about sales, but she knows nothing about the things she has never done—pricing, advertising, packaging, and the like. So the people who do these things must make sure that the marketing vice president understands what they are trying to do, why they are trying to do it, how they are going to do it, and what results to expect.

If the marketing vice president does not un- derstand what these high-grade knowledge specialists are doing, it is primarily their fault, not hers. They have not educated her. Con- versely, it is the marketing vice president’s re- sponsibility to make sure that all of her co- workers understand how she looks at marketing: what her goals are, how she works, and what she expects of herself and of each one of them.

Even people who understand the impor- tance of taking responsibility for relationships often do not communicate sufficiently with their associates. They are afraid of being thought presumptuous or inquisitive or stu- pid. They are wrong. Whenever someone goes to his or her associates and says, “This is what I am good at. This is how I work. These are my values. This is the contribution I plan to concentrate on and the results I should be ex- pected to deliver,” the response is always, “This is most helpful. But why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

And one gets the same reaction—without exception, in my experience—if one continues by asking, “And what do I need to know about your strengths, how you perform, your values, and your proposed contribution?” In fact, knowledge workers should request this of ev- eryone with whom they work, whether as sub- ordinate, superior, colleague, or team member. And again, whenever this is done, the reaction is always, “Thanks for asking me. But why didn’t you ask me earlier?”

Organizations are no longer built on force but on trust. The existence of trust between people does not necessarily mean that they like one another. It means that they under- stand one another. Taking responsibility for re- lationships is therefore an absolute necessity. It is a duty. Whether one is a member of the orga- nization, a consultant to it, a supplier, or a dis- tributor, one owes that responsibility to all

one’s coworkers: those whose work one de- pends on as well as those who depend on one’s own work.

The Second Half of Your Life

When work for most people meant manual la- bor, there was no need to worry about the sec- ond half of your life. You simply kept on doing what you had always done. And if you were lucky enough to survive 40 years of hard work in the mill or on the railroad, you were quite happy to spend the rest of your life doing nothing. Today, however, most work is knowl- edge work, and knowledge workers are not “finished” after 40 years on the job, they are merely bored.

We hear a great deal of talk about the midlife crisis of the executive. It is mostly boredom. At 45, most executives have reached the peak of their business careers, and they know it. After 20 years of doing very much the same kind of work, they are very good at their jobs. But they are not learning or contributing or deriving challenge and satisfaction from the job. And yet they are still likely to face an- other 20 if not 25 years of work. That is why managing oneself increasingly leads one to begin a second career.

There are three ways to develop a second ca- reer. The first is actually to start one. Often this takes nothing more than moving from one kind of organization to another: the divisional controller in a large corporation, for instance, becomes the controller of a medium-sized hos- pital. But there are also growing numbers of people who move into different lines of work altogether: the business executive or govern- ment official who enters the ministry at 45, for instance; or the midlevel manager who leaves corporate life after 20 years to attend law school and become a small-town attorney.

We will see many more second careers un- dertaken by people who have achieved mod- est success in their first jobs. Such people have substantial skills, and they know how to work. They need a community—the house is empty with the children gone—and they need income as well. But above all, they need challenge.

The second way to prepare for the second half of your life is to develop a parallel career. Many people who are very successful in their first careers stay in the work they have been doing, either on a full-time or part-time or con-

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