A friend in grief recently asked me to share my thoughts on the frailty of life. This issue is probably the most difficult of all life's questions to face. For most of us, it is wrought with confusion of purpose and definition in addition to a desire to indefinitely continue our physical life. We are, for the most part, limited to knowledge of physical definitions. We can define our bodies. We know that we are alive. We don't know what makes our minds work, why we feel. We can replace a heart or mend a limb, but, we are seldom able to fix a mind. Spirit is beyond comprehension. We don't know what death is or means.
As children, we tried to contemplate the end of space. It must end, but, it can't end. Could this dilemma be one of trying to limit spiritual concepts to physical concepts? Perhaps our attempt to limit God to what we now of him and life is the reason we struggle with understanding our purpose and the meaning of life and death as we know it. During my years as a church pastor, I often conducted funeral services and counseled grieving families. I also prayed with and held hands with some of my parishioners as they past on from this life. These painful experiences helped me gain some greater understanding of what life and death means. I once observed to a funeral director that the passing of the last parent of a family seems to be the most difficult for the progeny of the dead. He affirmed my observation. He continued with a more profound observation. He said, "The most difficult experiences are with nonbelievers. For them, there is nothing more. Their grief manifests in emotional despair and anguish."
Many years ago, the Archbishop of London was visiting a dying child. As he crossed the dimly lit room to the side of the little girl, he asked her if there was something he could do for her. She pleaded, "Please help me. I am afraid to die." He asked her if she would like for him to carry her into the sunlit living room where everything was bright and cheerful. She replied that she would enjoy that very much. He smiled and said," That is what God is about to do for you. He will soon be reaching down with his loving arms and lift you to a more beautiful place where you can be happy forever."
Our struggle with the frailty of life is not really necessary. We have spent our physical lives focused on providing for comfort in this life. We work, build houses, gain education, develop friendships, become popular, gain wealth, keep ahead of the Joneses and etc., all for this life. If we can focus on life in its entirety, not limit our beliefs and values to what we see, and stop trying to reduce the power of God to our limited knowledge, the frailty of life becomes almost irrelevant. There is nothing to fear. There is, after all, only one important thing to cling to. That is love.
Jesus said, "The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
Memories stir between senior moments for old retired guys like me. Occasionally I record them in an email. I would like to share today's flashback with my friends in Christ:
I was student pastor of a Presbyterian church in southern Illinois. Three days a week I traveled to a college sixty miles from our manse. One of my parishioners suffered the death of a brother. The brother had been living in the college town. Their mother, a member of another church, lived in the town of my church.
The man left three small children and a working wife. The mother of the deceased often asked to ride with me to the college town to visit and care for her grandchildren.
Our first trip included a very interesting conversation. Mrs. Jones inquired of this twenty-two year old pastor, "Reverend Robling what do you think of the World Council of Churches?" I viewed the question with the same caution as, "Yes or no, have you stopped beating your wife?" I was proud of myself for having the quickness of wit to answer her question with a question, "Mrs. Jones what do you think of the World Council of Churches?"
She quickly replied, "I think it is a communist organization." I responded that her revelation was interesting and inquired as to how she had reached that conclusion. She said, "It is run by the Jews and you know that all of them Jews is Catholic." Astounded by her confidence in the logic of her conclusions, I inquired as to the source of her information. She replied, "Brother Lester told us so at church Sunday." Mrs. Jones was offering her newly discovered knowledge in the name of our Lord.
Thirty-seven years have past and unfortunately we are still faced with an overwhelming abundance of the same ignorance and anger based information and attitudes as were manifested in Mrs. Jones' comments. My heart aches with concern that there are too many of them for us to reach. We must devise ways to reach larger numbers of them. If not us, who?
As long as we have breath, we will continue to bring the good news of Christ's love to as many as we can reach. But, our joy will always be tempered with sorrow for the ones we cannot reach. Our rest will not satisfy as long as passion burns within us for bringing the comfort of a saving knowledge of our Lord to angry hearts.
Thank you for making this world a better place.
Increasing industrialization of other nations along with technological improvements in communications and transportation has brought international competition to almost every American industry. Most industries have struggled with meeting the challenges and in some cases failure has occurred. With the industrial development of countries like China, the potential for large additional markets is promising. It has been said that the propensity for consumption of goods and services by China alone has the potential to exceed the entire world's supply of goods for fifty years. Several new trade agreements negotiated by the United States government have created a greater need for U. S. industries to understand the requirements of international competition to improve its competitive position. Process and product technologies are forever changing in current and new competitive markets. Availability of scarce resources is constantly increasing and decreasing. Frequent changes taking place in business requirements throughout the world are creating a need for finding new ways of conducting business. New results are required. Changing work and trade practices is often essential to become and remain competitive. Benchmarking and developing and implementing systems for change are tools for successfully changing work and trade practices.
There are several ways to become knowledgeable about successful foreign industrial practices. A company may purchase a foreign company known for achieving excellence through new paradigm approaches. Employ the practice of benchmarking, pursue available academic resources, or hire consultants who have knowledge of successful competitive practices.
There are limitations to these methods of becoming knowledgeable about foreign industrial practices. Acquisition of another company may be cost prohibitive for an average company. Knowledge gained from benchmarking is very desirable but the process is time consuming and expensive. Valuable leaders or workers may be attending to immediate needs and unavailable for travel. There is usually some time delay in the development of resources for teaching and learning to compete through academic methods.
Consultants who have first hand knowledge of an industry, extensive benchmarking experience, management experience, training experience, and education are often available. For a few hundred thousand dollars, or sometimes less, a company may take advantage of knowledge that cost millions of dollars to acquire initially.
American Business Consultants, Inc. is one of many companies that provide manufacturing companies with information and training for competing and achieving excellence in a changing market. It shares knowledge based on highly effective manufacturing leadership experiences, extensive worldwide benchmarking, academic knowledge, and as training providers. The company has developed and teaches a management system that is based on its knowledge of best competitive practices. The company provides information based on benchmarking research conducted in Europe, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
Benchmarking in industry is the practice of conducting technological and organizational practice exchange visits with other companies. It often occurs even between competitive companies. The purpose of benchmarking is to learn best practices. Each company expects to learn something from the experience that will enhance its opportunities for improvement.
Benchmarking has come prominently into vogue during the past decade. Prior to that time, it was very difficult, if not impossible, to arrange benchmarking visits. Most companies within the U. S. were reluctant to have open visitations and extensive information sharing with domestic competitors. Successes were usually protected from all competitors. Details of manufacturing processes, statistical information, and effective management practices were not available outside a company.
During the current decade, most company and union leaders in major companies have participated in benchmarking trips. It is frequently done internationally. It requires a lot of time and investment. The dividends can be as great as a participant's ability and willingness to listen, learn, and change. As world markets expand and demand grows for greater and more diverse supplies of goods and services, companies are eagerly reaching out to share and learn new technological and management behavioral information.
American Business Consultants, Inc. benchmarking has revealed that there is nothing particularly fancy about the organizations and processes in the world's greatest companies. They do share common threads. They all have similar senior management behaviors, are process focused, emphasize training, measurement, communications, and have effective human resource systems. Plants and processes are frequently kept simple and are less modern than many less successful competitors.
Research indicates that similarities in interests, concerns, technologies, and fears are basically the same throughout the world. Businesses are at various stages of transition, but they are virtually discovering and moving in the same directions.
First, businesses are discovering that their greatest assets are the minds and ideas of their people. Within every large business organization the knowledge is present for making the company great. The obstacle to realizing greatness is the failure to share knowledge and vision between the employees with the answers and the senior managers or other decision- making member of a company. The world's most successful companies share a common characteristic regarding communications. In those companies communication is two way. It includes listening by management and input from all quarters of the organization. Most traditional companies must greatly diminish the adversarial positions of management and labor for communications to flow in both directions.
Listening is the most critical management skill. It must include more than managers listening to other managers and engineers. Real listening includes an opportunity for everyone in an organization to be heard.
Many American companies have gone through catastrophic experiences and some have disappeared while trying to adjust to changing markets and competition. Most of their grief and tragedy could have been circumvented if those organizations had systems for listening and sharing visions and ideas.
Second, businesses are learning that allowing people performing work some control over how they function creates a feeling of ownership, results in increased dedication of energies, yields greater results, and provides more satisfaction.
Third, businesses are discovering that combined teams of management, production, maintenance, and engineering armed with database information, tracking and control while functioning in business units (profit centers) often brings phenomenal success.
Fourth, they are learning that using statistical approaches to controlling manufacturing processes is critical to maximizing quality. Guess work is removed, resulting in consistently manufactured products that function the same time after time. This enables better analysis of how well products are engineered and how best to improve them for enhanced function and reliability.
Fifth, they are discovering the need for lean management and lean administrative organizations. They are learning as they try new ways of operating, that too much management and administration creates non-value- added work and frequently causes misuse of scarce resources.
Sixth, they are learning that participation in developing and expanding international markets can create greater demand for goods and services. Companies can grow, markets can expand, and more jobs can be provided by expanding international trade.
Seventh, They are discovering that cooperation between management and labor must be developed and nurtured to achieve excellence in quality, efficiency, and profits.
Strong feelings about change are universal regardless of country, company, plant, leader or worker. And yet, The most significant pressures confronting companies and leaders today are for change as they strive to survive new market forces. The most difficult lesson for companies and leaders to embrace is the fact that everyone in their organization, each role, product, and process must change. Culture and personalities of those individuals involved influence the stage of development of change within organizations.
Change is usually painful, even when for better, and requires a great deal of planning and facilitation. Management and labor leaders must first cultivate a consensus regarding need and implementation. Leaders should be trained to become sensitive to what workers and supervisors are feeling as their work environment changes. Leaders should understand that ways of the past represent the ways people have survived and achieved perceived success in the workplace.
In The Fifth Discipline Peter M. Senge said, "Yesterday's successes may cause tomorrow's failures." Leaders who look backwards to lead into the future will walk into walls and bang their heads until they fail. Those who follow them will fail with them. "Getting back to basics" is a phrase frequently used in business when things are not going well. It means doing things the way they have been done in the past. This is often the pathway to continued failures in business.
The characteristics essential for competing as individuals and as companies must include versatility and a propensity for change wherever and whenever change is required. Leaders must look ahead and plan for change.
Resistance to change is usually the most detrimental characteristic a manager or company possesses. Facilitating overcoming resistance to change is probably the most difficult of all management skills to acquire. A company's personality and values will ultimately reflect the attitude of its leaders. It is, therefore, extremely important to provide essential training and facilitation for leaders to become new paradigm leaders (agents for change).
Learning organizations that systematically embrace change and encourage risk will not only own the future, they will design the future in which all organizations will have to compete. The basic building blocks for building an excellent organization must be systematically put in place. Every member of the organization must help create the system, build the system, understand the system, and help maintain the system. Peter Senge said in The Fifth Discipline, "There is something in all of us that loves to put together a puzzle, that loves to see the image of the whole emerge. The beauty of a person, or a flower, or a poem lies in seeing all of it. So it should come as no surprise that the unhealthiness of our world today is in direct proportion to our inability to see it as a whole." System thinking must look beyond personalities and events to the underlying structures that shape individual actions and create conditions where types of events become likely.
Our ultimate system for excellence must include each member of the organization participating in the development of and the ownership of an overall mission (understanding who we are), vision (who or what we want to become), a strategic business plan (how we are going to become who or what we want to become), meaningful goals (objectives to support our plan), measurements (for knowing how we are progressing towards our vision), access to all essential information (for developing plans to use scarce resources wisely), team identity (a sense of importance to the team), and pride in being a part of the whole.
Senge reminded us that, "When you ask people about what it is like being part of a great team, what is most striking is the meaningfulness of the experience. People talk about being part of something larger than themselves, of being connected or generative. It becomes quite clear that, for many, their experiences as part of the truly great teams stand out as singular periods of life lived to the fullest. Some spend the rest of their lives looking for ways to recapture that spirit." The feeling of being part of a great team is described by Senge as "metanoia", a shift in mind.
Implementing a system cannot be left to chance. Each feature of a system must have supporting subsystems (building blocks) that assist each member of the organization in contributing to the success of its team.
The first building block is establish trust. Stephen R. Covey made a very important point in his 7 Behaviors of Highly Effective People by saying that "Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people." Peter F. Drucker in his book Managing for the Future said, "The final requirement of effective leadership is to earn trust." He went on to say, "Trust is the conviction that the leader means what he says. It is a belief in something very old-fashioned called integrity." The key element to establishing trust is to be honest. Honesty is found in all truly successful people and processes.
The literature is clear, there is no shortcut to personal and organizational integrity. There is no permanent personal gratification and organizational success without it. Leaders must be able to trust subordinates, customers, peers and those to whom they report. All stakeholders must in turn be able to trust a company's leaders. Cheating to win actually results in losing.
Authors James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner point out, "honest people have credibility and that's what gives leaders the trust and confidence of their people." Fifteen thousand employees surveyed by the authors were asked to prioritize twenty characteristics of leadership. Eighty-seven percent rated honesty first.
In Understanding Organizational Integrity, Lynn Sharp Paine says, "Attention to ethics is increasingly seen as a fundamental aspect of organizational leadership." She goes on to say that the main explanation for increased attention to ethics is "that many have come to regard a value system based on sound ethical principles as a foundation of organizational excellence." To more fully understand the importance of a strong ethical framework for organizations, beyond the economic success of organizations, we must understand that the consequences of organizational decisions are frequently felt beyond the confines of the organization.
People tend to emulate others whom they perceive as being successful. That emulation goes beyond the workplace. Organizational leaders are usually found on the board of directors of organizations such as United Way hospitals, banks, Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts, schools, the arts, churches and most philanthropic organizations. Inconsistent displays of values by leaders between their business roles and their lives in their communities send mixed signals to those who are watching them, learning from them, and following them. Organizations, communities, and individuals that follow conflicted leaders are likely to enjoy less than optimal success.
The difference in growing beyond being a "good" company and becoming a "great" company depends on its collective will and abilities to continue to strengthen its ethical framework. Organizations that want to become great must first learn to develop, communicate, and implement strategies that balance the results of addressing ethical dilemmas. Leaders must be sincere, consistent, rid organizations of fear, and include everyone in the organization in establishing and nurturing trust.
The second building block is the development of shared mission and vision. An organization's statements about its mission and vision can be developed in workshops. These workshops are most effective when facilitated by the leaders of the organization, leading by example, and serving the members. Every member of the organization should be allowed to participate in the development of mission and vision.
First, it is necessary to provide all necessary information to promote understanding of what the company must achieve for survival. The information must fully explain the threats and opportunities, as they are known.
It is important to provide group dynamics training to every person. Each needs to understand the fundamentals of brainstorming, consensus decision making, importance of use of data, and group behaviors (functions and anti-functions). Depending on the size of the organization, a workshop or series of workshops may be set up that includes all members of the organization. They should be allowed to develop the mission and vision. Taking part in the workshops will promote understanding, ownership, and dedication to successfully achieving the mission and vision. Senge says, "Shared vision is a force in people's hearts, a force of impressive power." It makes people want to learn and change to achieve the organization's dreams. It sets the stage for metanoia.
Building shared vision goes beyond team building. It includes team learning. Team learning includes learning how to learn. It also requires self-knowledge, patience, and becoming exceptionally proficient. To truly share vision, an organization must recognize the uniqueness of each of its members. It must nurture that uniqueness and encourage the risks that prizing uniqueness entails. Shared vision creates the courage to step beyond the known to get to what might be.
The third building block is regular solicitation of ideas from every member of the organization. In The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, Senge said, "At the heart of building shared vision is the task of designing and evolving ongoing processes in which people at every level of the organization, in every role, can speak from the heart about what really matters to them and be heard by senior management and each other. The quality of this process, especially the amount of openness and genuine caring, determines the quality and power of the results."
Properly conducted skip-level meetings provide an opportunity for everyone in the organization to speak from the heart. Every leader/manager at every level should set aside blocks of time each day for meeting with individuals selected randomly from the organization. The selections should be made from every level within the scope of a leader's responsibility.
The meetings should be very informal, not conducted from behind a desk. Not using a formal agenda is best. It is preferable to be dressed in non- threatening attire (no tie, casual if possible). Introductions should be friendly and informal.
Starting the meeting by recognizing the employee's contributions and importance to the team usually reduces anxiety. Using the meeting to learn about the individual as a person as well as an associate shows personal interest in the employee. Finding out what the employee is interested in, what he/she likes and dislikes is a good approach. Asking about his/her life and work experiences will usually help the employee to begin to participate in the discussion. The leader should share information about his/her interests and experiences.
The leader should ask if there is anything that he/she, the leader, can do to help the employee accomplish tasks more safely, more enjoyably, with greater ease, with improved quality or efficiency. The leader should take extensive notes as the employee shares ideas.
In closing it is important to thank the employee for his/her help, assure him/her that his/her ideas will receive follow up, and set a time or establish a method for feedback to the employee. He/she should be told how to initiate future skip-level meetings. Follow up on implementation of ideas is crucial to this process.
It is best to give the employee opportunities for participating in the implementation of his ideas when possible. Providing feedback to the employee preferably at his/her workstation is important. He/she should be praised for his/her contributions. Explaining why some ideas could not be successfully accomplished will promote understanding. His/her leader should thank him/her again for his/her help and tell him/her that he/she is looking forward to their next meeting.
The fourth building block is development of a systematic approach to goal development and measurements relative to goal achievement for salaried and management employees. Having a goal system for salaried and management employees is critical to maximizing the achievements, productivity and satisfaction of employees.
Few companies or managers actually use goal systems. They often banter about buzzwords that indicate they are using systems, but even where a goal system exists, it is seldom employed effectively. The main reason for the lack of effective goal system implementation is it forces face to face communications regarding personal performance.
Most managers and employees are not comfortable with exchanging criticism or praise. The degree of comfort one feels in giving praise is usually equal to the comfort felt by that person when receiving praise. This same dynamic applies to giving criticism face to face except in the presence of anger. Hence, anger or threats in work environments most frequently accompany criticism. Unfortunately, criticism is seldom helpful in that context.
Peter F. Drucker in Managing In a Time of Great Change said, "The new organizations need to go beyond senior-junior polarities to a blend with sponsor and mentor relations. In the traditional organization (the organization of the last one hundred years) the skeleton, or internal structure, was a combination of rank and power. In the emerging organization, it has to be mutual understanding and responsibility." Developing a goal system should be accomplished in a series of friendly and non-threatening meetings wherein the leader assumes the role of sponsor and mentor allowing free and open discussion to take place. The meetings should include only the manager and subordinate for whom the goals are to be developed.
The first meeting should be one of recognizing some of the contributions the employee is making and the need for some measure of formal recognition for his or her accomplishments. The person should be informed that his/her goals would always contain three elements. The goals will be achievable, agreed upon, and dynamic. Goals that do not possess these three qualities are useless except as tools for disciplinary action.
The person should be asked to prepare a list of each of his/her duties for the second meeting. He/she should also be requested to provide a check mark or other designation beside each measurable item. Initially, meetings should be held weekly at a mutually agreed upon day and time. A time that will be most convenient and least likely to be interrupted by other meeting requirements should be established. This will provide an opportunity to give the employee regular personal attention and allow the employee time to give feedback, contribute ideas, and express concerns.
During the second meeting when the employee presents his/her list of duties, the parties should mutually agree upon a ranking for each of his/her measurable duties. It is important to take plenty of time to discuss the relative importance of each item until a consensus is reached.
The leader must not dictate. Coaching is appropriate, however, in the absence of consensus, using the employee's opinion of the ranking of an individual item is acceptable. An assignment for the employee's third meeting is to determine which duties he/she believes should be included in his/her goals. The employee should be given latitude to determine whether the top five will be used as goals or if a sixth or seventh will also be included. Open discussion is essential to the process but the employee should make the decision to include a goal item.
During the third meeting, there should be a discussion of the relative importance of each of the decided upon goals. Agreement and application of some percentage value to each of the goals should be achieved. For example, the number one ranked item may be deemed to be forty percent of the total importance of the selected items. The second item may be given a value of twenty percent. The third item may be given ten percent and so forth. Consensus is to be reached on the percentage value of each goal and a decision is to be reached regarding the maximum number of points that may be earned each week. At least one hundred points is desirable. The manager should have decided what the annual appraisal ranking descriptions would be before the meeting.
Most large companies have formal appraisal rating forms that include numerical or descriptive categories. In the absence of rating categories, establishing them and making them the same for every evaluated employee is critical. For example, a high rating might be "ten" or "outstanding". A low appraisal rating may be "zero" or "unsatisfactory". The designations are important only as they provide consistency to the process throughout the organization. The manager or company also prescribes the number of points required for earning each designated appraisal rating. The employee should next be requested to prepare performance charts for the fourth meeting that reflect current performance for each of his/her chosen goals.
The fourth meeting should begin with discussing the fact that current performance is obviously attainable. Seeking agreement that the current performance will fall within the satisfactory or median range is necessary. Discussing and reaching consensus on the number of earned points that would be required for future performance attainment to fall within higher and lower appraisal ranges should be accomplished. It is important to consider that the goals must be dynamic so it is all right to try a few weeks at almost any point range. A formal record system for keeping track of the employee's goal performance is essential. The average weekly score for the appraisal year will be the employee's appraisal rating for that year. In all future weekly meetings reviewing the validity of the requirements for scores and reaching consensus on any changes that are to be made must occur. Goals may be adjusted up or down by consensus. It is important to remind the person being appraised that continuous improvement is essential for the organization to achieve and maintain excellence.
The weekly meetings should be used to recognize accomplishments. It is not wise to look for miracles. Small improvements over time add up to significant improvements. These meetings should also be used to encourage improvement in specific areas where improvement is not occurring and to ask how the leader can help the person to become more successful in that particular goal area. The leader should take notes as ideas are discussed that require his/her help. High priority should be given to doing what is needed to do to help and give feedback on those issues in the next meeting. Improvements should always be recognized and rewarded.
The purpose of a goal system is to make sure each employee has the opportunity and support to excel. This system removes subjectivity from the appraisal process. The employee has chosen and defined his/her goals. He/she has determined the value of each of his/her goals, defined how to measure his/her goal progress, and tracks his/her own performance to his/her goals. He/she is free to develop supporting plans to achieve an excellent rating. The system assures regular upper management recognition and support for him/her. The employee always knows where he/she stands and why. The annual rating is no surprise and the person being rated has full ownership and buys into the rating.
The employee must be encouraged to develop a business plan that shows how continuous improvement will be achieved. Well-conducted goal meetings will provide important opportunities for the employee and will actually become viewed as welcomed experiences.
The fifth building block is development of specific plans to support individual and team needs. After the goals of a staff member have been established, Specific plans must be developed for achieving an outstanding or excellent rating. Plan items should include a description of the action to be taken, who will take the action, when the action will be completed, expected results, and the expected value of successful implementation of the plan item.
It is essential to encourage the employee to be ambitious with plans, take risks, and expect a failure rate of approximately fifty-percent. If the failure rate is low, the plan will probably not facilitate the achievement of maximum improvements. The employee should be guided to look to every possible source for plan ideas. Plans may come from, skip-level meeting notes, suggestion plans, his/her own ideas, ideas provided by his/her supervisor, suppliers, customers, union officials, or any other source.
Plans should be recorded on a standard organization plan form. As plans begin to develop, personal goal and plan review meetings should be held on alternating weeks. Using the personal plan reviews to encourage, recognize, praise, and coach the planner will become an important function of leadership. The meetings should be supportive and positive. The leader should use the meetings as opportunities to determine what he/she needs to do to help the employee achieve excellence.
The sixth building block is to provide support, resources, recognition, and rewards for the efforts of individuals and teams through mini- operations reviews. A leader should have his/her individual staff members along with their staff members present their entire team's plans in an operations review format every four to six weeks. They should show actual performance to goals in every category where they have established performance goals. They should show their plans for achieving goals.
The purpose of the review is to provide opportunities for praise, recognition, encouragement, coaching, and for the team to appeal to higher management for resources. All of the teams within an organization should meet in an operations review forum at least quarterly. In addition to providing previously mentioned benefits, this exercise should provide information sharing regarding successes and failures.
It is important for leaders not to cancel goal meetings, business plan reviews, skip level meetings, or mini operation reviews. Canceling makes a negative statement about the importance of people, their goals, plans, and ideas. The success of the organization as it employs the system depends on the leader's responses.
Leaders should never criticize during skip level meetings, goal meetings, business plan reviews, or mini operation reviews. If criticism is necessary, separate meetings should be scheduled for focusing on problems rather than individuals. Even if an employee is the problem, it is important to ask the employee for ideas regarding identifying and solving the problem. Asking the employee for help in solving the problem will usually lead to ownership and resolution.
Companies do not fail because of poor followership; they fail because of poor leadership. It has been said that the difference in leaders and managers is that managers do things right and leaders do the right things. As customer requirements, technologies, workforce sophistication and emerging competition changes and evolves, leadership styles of the past are less effective for business survival. The essence of great leadership for the long term begins with dedication to servicing the led. Robert Greenleaf, said in his essay The Servant Leader, "A new moral principle is emerging which holds that the only authority deserving one's allegiance is that which is freely and knowingly granted by the led to the leader in response to, and in proportion to, the clearly evident servant stature of the leader."
At some point in the future, every organization that does not provide systems for its people to develop and own its mission (who it is), vision (where it wants to go), and a plan to get there (strategic business plan) will likely fail to achieve excellence. Just as doing things the same old way and expecting different results is insanity. Expecting an organization to prosper and maintain its prosperity with management thinking alone is absurd. Every organization should decide how it will gain understanding of the underlying reasons for the successes of its most excellent competitors successes. Each company has a responsibility to all of its stakeholders to understand its competition and to develop systems for achieving excellence. Many companies will purchase the service of a business management consulting company as a quick, inexpensive way to gain insight into the required changes. Intelligent change has to be an orchestrated operation.