Leaders to Leader

Lessons from the Great American Leaders & How They Apply Now

Posts Tagged ‘team building

If You Put Fences Around People, You Get Sheep

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Hewlett-Packard Company co-founders David Packard (seated) and William Hewlett run final production tests on a shipment of the 200A audio oscillator. The picture was taken in 1939 in the garage at 367 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto, California, where they began their business.

Hewlett-Packard Company co-founders David Packard and William Hewlett

Empowerment, delegation and team building need to have a proper environment where they can be nurtured, have the ability to grow and ultimately be ingrained into the corporate culture.

It is surprising how many companies launch training initiatives in these areas without obtaining management buy-in, and then wonder why they do not firmly take root.

The lessons from the practices the great leaders employed illustrates that if empowerment and team building strategies are ever going to work, they must be initiated, endorsed and fully supported by senior management. The great leaders clearly understood this and in many cases institutionalized these practices in their companies.

3M possesses a well-earned reputation for being a highly innovative company. During its early years, William McKnight focused on the development of unique and ingenious products and applications.

“After the development of masking tape, McKnight learned a crucial lesson about letting his engineers follow their instincts. He soon codified this lesson into a policy known as the 15% rule.

‘Encourage experimental doodling,’ he told his managers. ‘If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.’

Still in place today, the rule lets 3M engineers spend up to 15% of their work time pursuing whatever project they like. Subsequent policies and programs—like Genesis Grants (an internal venture capital fund available to engineers whose ideas have been turned down by management) and the 25% rule (requiring that each division generate a quarter of its sales from products introduced within the past five years), which in 1993 became the 30% rule—furthered 3M’s climate of innovation.” [1]

Under the tutelage of David Packard and William Hewlett, Hewlett-Packard saw a number of innovative empowerment practices incorporated into its corporate culture. “David Packard and Bill Hewlett’s approach to management bequeathed many gifts to today’s managers and their teams.

‘Management by Objective,’ for example, empowered individuals to be creative problem-solvers. Not only does the process create an organic and self-sustaining kind of teamwork, but it prevents ‘diworsification’ for companies, which can stay focused on what they do best and what fits their core competencies.” [2]

Donald Kendall (PepsiCo) fashioned an environment that was known for hiring only the best people and fully supporting their jobs. “PepsiCo deeply believes that managers who act like owners, run lean, and get big results should get big rewards.

PepsiCo treats its managers extremely well. Top middle managers earn between $96,000 and $144,000 (1989) annually, not counting bonuses, stock options, and other perks. How does it justify this largess?

Says Roger Enrico: ‘Treating the people well who produce is cheaper than having a big bureaucracy following them around trying to keep down costs.’” [3]

Timothy Koogle (Yahoo) noted the unique environment Yahoo created to facilitate empowerment and improve decision-making.

He explained, “We get real clear about what we’re going to do – not necessarily how – so we’ve got a focused strategy. But then we drive decisions out to the organization and that’s real different from kind of past generations of business if you will, that were very hierarchical where most of the decisions had to flow up through the chain and flow all the way back down the chain.

Here we actually do distribute the decisions out to everyone who’s got authority to build great product and great service. But what it means is you’re making a lot of decisions in parallel and what that means is you can execute faster and that’s a real key in our environment because it’s growing real fast, changing all the time, and there is a lot of competition.” [4]

The great leaders provided their employees with the necessary tools to effectively harness their power, but more importantly, they created healthy environments where they could flourish.

As General Robert Woods (Sears) articulated,

We put our faith in men, not systems. I like to let a man learn by making a few mistakes, as long as they don’t cost too much.” [5]

Related:

“Hire Character and Train Skills”

Attaining Organizational Results Requires Visionary Thinking and Planning on Multiple Levels

Leaders Succeed When Employees Are Successful

Focusing Employees on Common Goals

References:

  1. Lukas Paul, 3M a Mining Company Built on a Mistake Stuck It Out Until a Young Man Came Along with Ideas About How to Tape Those Blunders Together as Innovations – Leading to Decades of Growth (Fortune Magazine, April 1, 2003)
  2. Orfalea Paul, Helfert Lance, Lowe Atticus and Zatkowsky Dean, Inspirational Figures David Packard (West Coast Asset Management)
  3. Dumaine Brian, Those Highflying Pepsico Managers (Fortune Magazine, April 10, 1989)
  4. Gardner David and Gardner Tom, Fool Interview with Tim Koogle, Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! (Fool, April 18, 2000)
  5. Retail Trade: The General’s General Store (Time Magazine, February 25, 1952)

Excerpt: Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) Read a Free Chapter

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2012 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Seven Characteristics of Strong Teams

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The essence of leadership is found in team building and development where leaders apply specific skills to the task of bringing a diverse group of individuals together into an effective working team.

Leadership is ultimately an act of faith in other people. Adhering to their personal vision, leaders apply specific skills and abilities to energizing, motivating and guiding the action and direction of their teams. Additionally, leaders use their ability to delegate authority and empower their teams to implement and execute the specific strategies developed within the team environment. However, it is a mistake for leaders to assume that teams can totally operate on their own without guidance, direction and intervention from their leaders.

Within the team environment, leaders need to exert specific skills that allow them to share their vision and develop cooperation that ultimately creates a synergy that energizes the team and makes it thrive. Without active leadership, many working groups and teams will ultimately become lost and ineffective. It is important for leaders not only to cheer and motivate their teams, but also to guide and direct them.

Leaders must understand that they cannot simply label a group of individuals as a team or working group and then expect them to automatically blend themselves into an effective working unit. Rather, leaders must be actively involved and exert direct leadership upon their teams in order for them to develop and build the strength that energizes their actions and direction. The elements that build team strength and energy include:

Shared Vision

One of the hallmarks of effective leadership is a personal vision defining where it is leaders think the organization should be heading. One of the first tasks leaders should focus on when developing effective work teams is that of communicating their personal vision to their team. However, communication alone is not sufficient; leaders must also sell their teams on the vision so that it becomes a shared driving force for the entire team.

Mutual Goals

When teams and working groups are ultimately established, individual team members bring a diverse group of goals and objectives to the table. Leaders must blend those goals and objectives so that all team members share those that best fit the interests of the team. As this occurs, individual team members will set aside their personal goals and agendas for those of the team.

Shared Purpose

People are naturally driven to work toward something larger than themselves. As teams develop and blend, they create a shared purpose that motivates and energizes individual team members toward the accomplishment of collective goals and objectives. These individual members understand that accomplishment of a shared purpose is greater than what they can achieve on their own.

Mutual Respect

One of the hallmarks of effective teams is the mutual respect that individual team members have for one another regardless of their divergent viewpoints and perspectives. When destructive personal behaviors that sap team strength are eliminated and people understand the value of the feedback and contributions made by all team members, mutual respect is developed and cultivated. A critical aspect of the team culture, this respect is nurtured by team rules, roles and boundaries. Any undermining of mutual respect within the team is corrosive and destructive to the future actions of the team.

Embedded Best Practices

As organizations change and evolve and teams are developed and dismantled, specific best practices that have evolved and been proven over time should become crystallized and embedded within the organization. These best practices eliminate the need for each and every team to “reinvent the wheel” and allow them to get a jump start on their programs and projects. However, over time some “best practices” can become outmoded and outdated, used only because of their duration and implementation by other teams. Leaders should observe and review their best practices to assure that they are both effective and productive and do not hinder the performance of their teams.

Time to Develop and Grow

Team development must be fostered by allowing teams the time to go through various stages of development, and grow into effective working units. As each team is unique, development time will vary according to the experience and expertise of its members. Experienced and seasoned individuals who have worked together previously can appreciably shorten the time required to build team strength and develop into a working unit.

Setting Their Own Direction

Teams build strength, energize and motivate themselves when they are given the space to set their own direction. While leaders play an active role in guiding and directing their team, they should allow it the latitude to create its own rules, roles, boundaries, goals and ultimate direction.

Within some organizational settings, effective teams can become self-managing with minimal intervention by leaders; in other environments, active leadership intervention, direction and guidance is required. The degree of guidance and direction will depend on the maturity and responsibilities of individual team members. The overall goal of leaders should be to incrementally surrender more of their authority to their teams. As teams grow and demonstrate their effectiveness, leaders will develop increased confidence in their ability to assume specific roles, authority and responsibility.

Excerpt: Building Strong Teams: Pinpoint Leadership Skills Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, 2011)

If you would like to learn more about techniques to build strong teams, refer to Building Strong Teams: Pinpoint Leadership Skills Development Training Series. This training skill-pack features eight key interrelated concepts, each with their own discussion points and training activity. It is ideal as an informal training tool for coaching or personal development. It can also be used as a handbook and guide for group training discussions. Click here to learn more.

Copyright © 2011 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Written by Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D.

October 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

Do You Have Faith in Your People?

with 14 comments

Empowerment, delegation and team building need to have a proper environment where they can be nurtured, have the ability to grow and ultimately be ingrained into the corporate culture. It is surprising how many companies launch training initiatives in these areas without obtaining management buy-in, and then wonder why they do not firmly take root. The lessons from the practices the great leaders employed illustrates that if empowerment and team building strategies are ever going to work, they must be initiated, endorsed and fully supported by senior management. The great leaders clearly understood this and in many cases institutionalized these practices in their companies.

3M possesses a well-earned reputation for being a highly innovative company. During its early years, William McKnight focused on the development of unique and ingenious products and applications. “After the development of masking tape, McKnight learned a crucial lesson about letting his engineers follow their instincts. He soon codified this lesson into a policy known as the 15% rule. ‘Encourage experimental doodling,’ he told his managers. ‘If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.’ Still in place today, the rule lets 3M engineers spend up to 15% of their work time pursuing whatever project they like. Subsequent policies and programs—like Genesis Grants (an internal venture capital fund available to engineers whose ideas have been turned down by management) and the 25% rule (requiring that each division generate a quarter of its sales from products introduced within the past five years), which in 1993 became the 30% rule—furthered 3M’s climate of innovation.” [1]

Under the tutelage of David Packard and William Hewlett, Hewlett-Packard saw a number of innovative empowerment practices incorporated into its corporate culture. “David Packard and Bill Hewlett’s approach to management bequeathed many gifts to today’s managers and their teams. ‘Management by Objective,’ for example, empowered individuals to be creative problem-solvers. Not only does the process create an organic and self-sustaining kind of teamwork, but it prevents ‘diworsification’ for companies, which can stay focused on what they do best and what fits their core competencies.” [2]

Donald Kendall

Donald Kendall (PepsiCo) fashioned an environment that was known for hiring only the best people and fully supporting their jobs. “PepsiCo deeply believes that managers who act like owners, run lean, and get big results should get big rewards. PepsiCo treats its managers extremely well. Top middle managers earn between $96,000 and $144,000 (1989) annually, not counting bonuses, stock options, and other perks. How does it justify this largess? Says Roger Enrico: ‘Treating the people well who produce is cheaper than having a big bureaucracy following them around trying to keep down costs.’” [3]

Timothy Koogle (Yahoo) noted the unique environment Yahoo created to facilitate empowerment and improve decision-making. He explained, “We get real clear about what we’re going to do – not necessarily how – so we’ve got a focused strategy. But then we drive decisions out to the organization and that’s real different from kind of past generations of business if you will, that were very hierarchical where most of the decisions had to flow up through the chain and flow all the way back down the chain. Here we actually do distribute the decisions out to everyone who’s got authority to build great product and great service. But what it means is you’re making a lot of decisions in parallel and what that means is you can execute faster and that’s a real key in our environment because it’s growing real fast, changing all the time, and there is a lot of competition.” [4]

The great leaders provided their employees with the necessary tools to effectively harness their power, but more importantly, they created healthy environments where they could flourish. As General Robert Woods (Sears) articulated, “We put our faith in men, not systems. I like to let a man learn by making a few mistakes, as long as they don’t cost too much.” [5]

[1] Lukas Paul, 3M a Mining Company Built on a Mistake Stuck It Out Until a Young Man Came Along with Ideas About How to Tape Those Blunders Together as Innovations – Leading to Decades of Growth (Fortune Magazine, April 1, 2003)
[2] Orfalea Paul, Helfert Lance, Lowe Atticus and Zatkowsky Dean, Inspirational Figures David Packard (West Coast Asset Management)
[3] Dumaine Brian, Those Highflying Pepsico Managers (Fortune Magazine, April 10, 1989)
[4] Gardner David and Gardner Tom, Fool Interview with Tim Koogle, Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! (Fool, April 18, 2000)
[5] Retail Trade: The General’s General Store (Time Magazine, February 25, 1952)

Excerpt: Great! What Makes Leaders Great. What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It. (Majorium Business Press, 2011)

If you would like to learn more about the delegation, empowerment and team building practices of the great American leaders through their own inspiring words and stories, refer to Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It. It illustrates how great leaders built great companies, and how you can apply the strategies, concepts and techniques that they pioneered to improve your own leadership skills. Click here to learn more.

Copyright © 2011 Timothy F. Bednarz All Rights Reserved

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