For years, The Ken Blanchard Companies defined leadership as an influence process. We believed that anytime you tried to influence the thoughts and actions of others toward goal accomplishment in either your personal or your professional life, you were engaging in leadership.
In recent years, we have taken the emphasis away from a singular focus on goal accomplishment and have defined leadership as the capacity to influence others by unleashing their power and potential to impact the greater good. Why did we do that? Because when the definition of leadership focuses only on goal accomplishment, one can think that leadership is only about results.
Yet when we talk about leading at a higher level, just focusing on goal accomplishment is not enough. The key phrase in our new definition is “the greater good”—what is best for all involved.
Is Your Organization High Performing?
In high performing organizations, everyone’s energy is not focused on just one bottom line, but four bottom lines—being the provider of choice, the employer of choice, the investment of choice, and the corporate citizen of choice. The leaders in high performing organizations know that their bottom line depends on their people, their customers, their stakeholders, and the citizens and communities affected by their actions.
Leaders can be successful in the short run if they emphasize only goal accomplishment. What tends to fall by the wayside is the condition of the human organization. Leaders don’t always take morale and job satisfaction into consideration—only results count. They forget what the point is and don’t have a higher purpose. In business, with that kind of leadership, it is a short leap to thinking that the only reason to be in business is to make money.
Leading at a higher level, on the other hand, is a process. We define it as the process of achieving worthwhile results while acting with respect, care, and fairness for the well-being of all involved.
What’s the mindset in your organization? Results only? Fully committed to the bigger picture?
Here’s a quick quiz adapted from an extensive research project conducted by my long-time colleagues Don Carew, Fay Kandarian, Eunice Parisi-Carew, and Jesse Stoner to define and identify the characteristics of a high performing organization.* The more often you can answer yes, the better chance your organization has the multiple focus needed to succeed in today’s business environment.
How many of these questions can you answer “yes” for your organization?
Information and Open Communication
_____ People have easy access to the information they need to do their job effectively.
_____ Plans and decisions are communicated so that they are clearly understood.
Compelling Vision: Purpose and Values
_____ Leadership is aligned around a shared vision and values.
_____ People have passion around a shared purpose and values.
_____ People are actively supported in the development of new skills and competencies.
_____ Our organization continually incorporates new learning into standard ways of doing business.
Relentless Focus on Customer Results
_____ Everyone maintains the highest standards of quality and service.
_____ All work processes are designed to make it easier for our customers to do business with us.
Energizing Systems and Structures
_____ Systems, structures, and formal and informal practices are integrated and aligned.
_____ Systems, structures, and formal and informal practices make it easy for people to get their jobs done.
Shared Power and High Involvement
_____ People have an opportunity to influence decisions that affect them.
_____ Teams are used as a vehicle for accomplishing work and influencing decisions.
_____ Leaders think that leading is about serving, not being served.
_____ Leaders remove barriers to help people focus on their work and their customers.
Leadership is a high calling. It should not be done purely for goal accomplishment; it should have a much higher purpose than that.
When leaders understand the role of the quadruple bottom line as the right target—to be the employer of choice, provider of choice, investment of choice, and corporate citizen of choice—they are ready to focus everyone’s energy on something bigger that touches people’s hearts and spirits, and helps them see how they can contribute. It aims everyone in the right direction.
Download a Complimentary 60-page Leading at a Higher Level eBook
To learn more about creating an organization where people lead at a higher level, download our 60-page eBook: https://resources.kenblanchard.com/ebooks/leading-at-a-higher-level
It’s complimentary—courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies.
*For more information on the HPO SCORES® model and the research conducted, see “High Performing Organizations: SCORES®” by Don Carew, Fay Kandarian, Eunice Parisi-Carew, and Jesse Stoner, Ken Blanchard Companies, 2001.
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