I haven’t read the book, but it is an excellent question!
Why would anyone want to be led by you? Hmmm….
I have seen tons of “lists” of characteristics of “great” leadership in my career. You have too… Heck, I’ve made a bunch myself… But as one evolves, things should be getting simpler as our businesses become simpler (“Wait a minute Andrew….Do you live in the same world as me with this “simpler” idea?”). I am a person that streamlines all the time. I don’t spend my time chasing distracting opportunities. The best organizations with the highest quality and profits do this. You know you are heading in the right direction when the number of Standards at your organization decreases over time as less and less is needed because things aren’t breaking. The ease with which work is done, should become easier as processes are improved to “near” perfection. The reason is simple….Simple works and complicated breaks… Fewer products, more focus, extraordinary service…that is what simplification will do for you. Look at Steve Jobs (one of my heroes). He only built the most valuable company in the world via laser beam focus, ultra-high accountability, refusing to work with the non-talented and attracting the Talented! Look at how he did the Apple turnaround. It works in Hospiceland just as well as it does for Multi-View or any company that values quality!
OK, here’s the list…just 3 words…
Integrity (What a beautiful word…)
I think these three words summarize pretty much what most people want to see in the person or persons that are leading them. A Leader is a “walking billboard” and the people they are leading are saying to themselves either “We are going to Win!” or “We’re screwed!” OR something in between these extremes. Oh yes, your people judge you every day and assess your abilities…because abilities change over time. They decrease or increase. They don’t stay the same. It might be a good idea for a Leader to keep these 3 words in mind whenever they assess themselves, as well as when selecting Talent and directing that Talent.
Intelligence – The leader needs to have the ability to see what needs to be done. Without this vision, everyone is essentially screwed. Intelligence is not a set thing. It is not fixed. It changes. In fact, it is self-determined to a great extent, meaning that an individual can increase their intelligence IF they want to. Topics like organizational skills, perceptive qualities, recall, the ability to understand cause/effect relationships, communicative power/agility and other such ideas come under this category. The people you lead need to respect our intelligence. Do you and your Leaders have the Intelligence to create a world-class organization?
Energy – A person can have the intelligence to know what needs to be done and in what sequence, but unless a person has the “juice” to get it done, nothing will happen. Knowledge is NOT enough. I don’t think knowledge is power. Knowledge is knowledge. The know-how needs to be applied! This takes energy! All living things are protoplasm as far as we know. Protoplasm wears out. It needs regular inputs of energy. It needs rest. Energy ebbs and flows. It is not constant for any extended period of time. This is why you sleep and eat every day. The body system’s energy is depleted through simply being alive as well as from activity. Some people are born with more energy than others. Some have less. If you want a BIG job done, it takes BIG energy! This MUST be recognized by a leader when selecting people, assigning tasks and giving direction. Do you and your Leaders have the Energy to create a world-class organization?
Integrity – This is the most complex of the concepts. Under it, one will find linkages to other ideas such as Courage, Motives and Spirituality. Strap your rubber underwear on for this one! The reason so many Hospice Leaders can’t attract and retain Talented People is due to Integrity…and I’m not talking about lying or deceiving or stealing here… I’m talking about a quality of being…powerful enough to intrigue and hold people’s attention. Integrity is inspirational! It is attractive! Integrous people want to associate with integrity. People that are attracted to Hospice want meaning and purpose. They favor Spiritual values. This is a central demographic of Hospice people. This meaning and purpose comes from standing for something that is integrous. At the heart of Spirituality is Integrity. Integrity is Spiritual. Spirituality is always moving towards unconditional Love and Truth. This negates Pride and cultivates Humility. Humility is essential to leave ego-based positions for the best ideas from wherever and whomever they come. Ego, though essential for the survival of humankind (therefore not to be demonized), becomes increasingly dissolved in the Integrous Leader as the pursuit of Truth or a Near-er Truth is more important than themselves and their own ideas.
When most Leaders self-assess, most would rank themselves high in the Integrity department. However, a truly contemplative person will see things that can be improved… It is in the Integrity department where you find STRONG Accountability, HIGH Responsibility, NON-Wastefulness, HIGH Standards, HIGH productivity and JAW-DROPPING Mission Fulfillment. Integrity is courageous. Integrity will address those that are unproductive and waste resources. Integrity will drive out people that are poison or that suck energy and vitality from a Hospice. Integrity is not a weenie. Here are some probing questions around the Integrity issue:
- Do you tolerate sub performers?
- Do you allow unproductive people to live in your culture?
- Does your Hospice receive “regular” complaints?
- Is your profit level where it should be for long-term mission sustainability?
- Is turnover low, less than 5%?
- Do you have a waiting list of people that want to work “with” you and your organization?
Integrity has to do with judgment. Since most of our Hospice work is done autonomously, we must employ people that have great personal judgment. A Leader must have even better personal judgment! This judgment is interwoven with Intelligence and Integrity. Do you and your Leaders have the Integrity to create a world-class organization?
Self-Control – Where Intelligence, Energy & Integrity Come Together
Self-Control is a huge idea, a characteristic of the most successful people in the world. Self-Control (or Self-Regulation or the Delay of Gratification) is related to all three of these characteristics. It takes Intelligence to delay gratification (not to eat all your nuts as you might need them in the future). It takes Energy to exercise Self-Control. The “enemy of self-control” is the loss of energy. Science shows (Duke/U. of Kentucky) us that each of us has a LIMITED amount of Self-Control and as it is expended to resist one want or desire, the next want or desire becomes more difficult…and this continues until Self-Control fails. When you go on a diet, what happens to your Self-Control when you are wiped out and are tired? The diet goes out the window for most people. So Energy levels are important to this important topic of Self-Control. But what is the relationship of Integrity and Self-Control? An integrous Leader will exercise Self-Control out of love and genuine concern for the welfare of all expressions of life, or at least those under his or her stewardship. The Leader will LIMIT the number of new initiatives. This takes Self-Control. The Leader will LIMIT the number of products or service lines. This is Self-Control. The Leader will LIMIT the time and money he or she allows for the performance of a function or task. This is Self-Control! And all of these take Courage! Guts! The fact is that MOST Leaders know to some degree what needs to be done (Intelligence). They may have the juice to do it (Energy). But they most often lack the Guts (Integrity) to pull the trigger…
A Leader must be surrounded by Talent, and the Talented of this world WILL NOT work for a Leader they do not respect or are not inspired by for long. That’s a fact Jack! Most leaders consider from time to time the qualities and characteristics of leaders. This evaluation and contemplation is necessary and natural as one grows as a Leader as well as when assessing others for Leadership positions. There are a lot of opinions on this…libraries are full of shelves on it. I have compiled lists from time to time…and they have changed over the years. However, a principle of the Model is that we continually strive to make our businesses simpler and that we make work easier while still being productive with profits at the 14% of NPR level or the 90th percentile if you want.
Serving from a place of Love for all ~ Andrew Reed