Found at COMMIT Forum: Inspiration from 2 Business Leaders

October 4, 2012
Corporate Citizenship Center

Inspiration. For me, it usually comes at unexpected times. Some experiences, though, are set up to inspire, to drive us to think or behave in a way that unlocks a new chance to refine or grow – our organizations, our relationships, or maybe just ourselves. 

Two speakers at the COMMIT! Forum this week afforded that experience. Nestled into the event’s 12-hour agenda yesterday, keynote speakers Jim Quigley, CEO-Emeritus of Deloitte, and Dov Seidman, founder and CEO of LRN, inspired me to share with you a few takeaways from their talks about “collective leadership” and “the era of behavior.”

Mr. Quigley on: Leadership Language

Jim served as global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited from 2007-2011 and is tapped as an authority on global business trends and potential challenges. A few years ago he started to ask CEOs he met with, “what are you doing about leadership?” Ultimately the answers to this question led to a consulting framework and a book that Jim researched and co-authored with Merhdad Baghai, Managing Director of Alchemy Growth Partners.  

As Jim explained, As One: Individual Action, Collective Power emerged as the title of the book because it works so well with words that are often associated with leading a large group of people, for example: “working As One” or “As One team.”

Three dimensions comprise the analysis of individual action, collective power, and group cohesion. These three simple words make up the language of leadership, allowing leaders to identify weaknesses in their teams and work to strengthen them to reach goals.

Leadership Language:

1.      Who: Is there a shared identity? Do team members feel like they belong to a cohesive group?

2.      What: Where does the directional intensity point—does the group have a common purpose and are the individuals committed to doing their part to accomplish the collective goal?

3.      How: Does the group go beyond good intentions—do team members know how to work together productively to reach goals? Do they work together as one?

Clearly, this analysis can help organizational leaders uncover knowledge about their teams that help positively position the team in the marketplace and in stakeholders’ minds. This knowledge is more important than ever, as companies’ productivity and innovation are so often powered by smart, engaged employees.

More on this – watch the video of this “As One” presentation at Harvard Kennedy School of Business.

Mr. Seidman on: HOW We Do Things Means Everything

Dov started off his talk with a short story about Southwest Airlines: As he and others began deplaning one day, a flight attendant announced over the PA system that the company had done its research and it’s been proven that crossing your seatbelt on the seat before you leave is sure to bring you good luck. So people crossed their seatbelts.

Why was this simple, light-hearted announcement brilliant? Federal regulations mandate that seatbelts be crossed on seats before passengers on the next flight are allowed on the plane. The flight attendant got her job got done faster by engaging customers in a positive way. Southwest Airlines turns around its flights six minutes faster than other airlines, which combined with other factors has led to the company’s industry leadership . HOW this employee behaved with the customers helped her and the company, while also adding a touch of that quirky culture that Southwest has become so known for.

Dov’s point was that we all have the opportunity to “out-behave” others. He closed by saying this: What we do is about just staying in the game—but how we do it is about endurance.  It left me thinking, how can I engage people just a little differently to help create an experience where all of us – me, my organization, and my stakeholders – benefit? How can you?

More on this – read “Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything

Next week BCLC is hosting our annual global conference, where keynote speakers will bring their unique perspectives to the subject of CSR: Business Solutions for Emerging Markets. I invite you to join us there and take the chance to be inspired and inspire others. We’ll be tweeting about it (#BCLCglobal) and blogging about it, and would welcome your participation. Registration ends today (10/5).