Phase 1 of the Personal Leadership Philosophy Paper presented the opinion and supporting information establishing that; leaders are products of opportunity, birth and environment, but of these; opportunity influences great leadership the most. Furthermore, it was discussed that assigned leadership is a cancer to corporate America and this point is illustrated in the following example. While employed at Deloitte and Touché Consulting Group (DNT) we engaged ARCO, a major oil and gas company, to develop and implement an email migration strategy that consisted of 1200 Arco users at their subsidiary company, Vaster Resources Inc. In the initial meeting we were introduced to a gentleman, we will call John Smith for the purposes of this paper, and it was explained to us that as part of ARCO culture, leadership opportunities were provided in a formal manner to allow everyone to lead a project. In this case; it was John Smiths turn in the rotation. Within a short time period after starting the project it became very evident that John did not possess the natural leadership abilities needed to manage a group of highly educated and experienced individuals. The project suffered cost overruns, timelines were in disarray, and the project was in a position to fail. We were forced to go to ARCO upper management and explain the situation and proposed a change in leadership to one of the DNT consultants who did posses the leadership abilities needed to make the project a success; this DNT individual happened to be me. I quickly revised timelines, reassigned some team members to different roles and brought the project under control. The result was a major success for ARCO and Deloitte and Touché Consulting Group because the project was completed early and under budget because of a change from an assigned leader to a natural leader.
Leadership is based on results, which can be directly related and measured with the perception of the individuals who are directly and indirectly related to a project, company, etc.. with regard to each individual’s leadership abilities. The LPI survey (James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posne; 2003) was a perfect exercise to gage this perception of the individuals we are involved with from numerous points of view (e.g. co-workers, direct reports, clients, managers, etc..). Further review of the LPI data presents some great insights into the perceptions of those involved with my leadership results as compared to the perceptions of those who were directly affected by leadership actions. Several areas were considered in the exercise encompassing model the way, inspire a shard vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart. Each of these five main areas combined created data that will allow for a larger drill down into each section and the resulting picture will paint a portrait of the leader.
The LPI identified areas of strength and weakness. The areas identified as weaknesses will provide an opportunity to improve upon and assist in formulating a plan to go forward. The plan will provide the necessary road map to fill in the gaps needed to address the perceptions. The LPI data identified several areas of strength; model the way, and inspire a shared vision were the two practices that stood above the rest as indicated in figure 27.1. To inspire a shared vision implies the ability to “see vision in every opportunity” and this is important to a successful leader. By walking into a room and envisioning the end success even prior to any work being started is a talent that cannot be taught, but is a leadership trait acquired at birth. The ability to look into the forest and envision each
Figure 27.2 - inspire a shared vision
tree as an important part of the project as a whole and understanding which trees to water, fertilize, prune and/or remove without the benefit of a preordained plan. This trait provides the ability to expand that vision by articulating it to others so...
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