I spent the last several weeks on the road with new technology clients learning more about big data and mobile technologies. No matter what the technology, I always spend my initial consultation looking at the leadership team to better understand how the organization works. I’m looking for clues to what makes the organization tick. Why will this organization succeed while other competitors go out of business in the first twelve months? With technology life cycles getting faster and faster you need an edge.
All great organizations I’ve worked with have a simple message that moves easily across the organization and out to stakeholders in the field. Every great organization’s leaders had a teachable point of view. These great organizations where led by great teachers. I thought it might be helpful to share how to develop a teachable point of view. Noel Tichy helped Jack Welch create the next generation of GE leaders around the world. Several of his programs’ students became CEOs of Fortune 100 companies and others have served in roles of CFO and COO in high tech high growth organizations. When you listen to Jack Welch talk you can see how powerful a teachable point of view is to an organization’s leaders. He still uses it today to share his thinking on key business issues with CEOs around the world. He’s a great teacher and he helps his executives breakthrough the all the noise. So, how do you create a teachable point of view? There are three key parts to teachable point of view.
The first part of the teachable point of view is the idea. Winning organizations are built on clear ideas. These ideas must be current and applicable to the situation they are being used in. The ideas are the framework for action at all levels of the organization. The ideas or concepts help define what the organization is or is not. It allows the leader to make much faster decisions on what to invest in, what businesses should they buy, and ultimately, where should they invest their resources for the most profitable growth.
The second part of a teachable point of view is values. For the last several weeks, we talked about your values. What you discover using a teachable point of view is that organizations have values, as well. The stronger the organization’s values the more successful the organization. These values can help you understand how the organization should do business. Many organizations, both profit and nonprofit, are unclear in their values and struggle to differentiate themselves from other organizations in their stakeholders’ minds. These values are not just talking points for the organization but are guidelines for how the operation operates and makes decisions. For great organizations hiring becomes much easier because they can share their values during the hiring process to insure they get the right people for their organization’s needs.
The final part of a teachable point of view is emotional energy. Emotional energy provides power behind your teachable point of view. Winning leaders must be high energy people. In many ways, if you’re not energetic about your point of view no one else will be. Winning leaders create energy among their team members. They understand that without motivation people fail. Emotional energy is a catalyst to keep people keeping on. If you’re the leader and you are not a high energy person, your leadership will fail. Now let me step back from that for a moment. Does this mean if I don’t have charisma I will fail as a leader? I believe there are many ways to provide energy. I’ve worked with introverted leaders and people who were afraid to get in front of a group but they were capable of creating a connection with their followers and able to provide support in many different ways. I actually find introverted people to be much more capable leaders because they remain focused on the stakeholders’ needs and provide the right systems and processes for individuals to excel in their cultures. This provides them an edge in area of executive development and succession planning.
We’ve talked about the three keys to a teachable point of view and how it impacts your organization’s effectiveness. Next week, I’ll share how becoming a better teacher can help you become a better leader. I will share several examples of teachable points of view and how you might apply it to your organization to take it to the next level.