The power and impact of “organizational energy”
As I began to read this brilliant book, I was reminded of how much of value that Tony Schwartz has to say (in The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working) about the importance of establishing and then nourishing an environment within which people can renew their energy. Achieving that worthy objective requires precisely the same leadership that Heike Bruch and Bern Vogel describe, those who can “boost their organization’s energy and ignite high performance.” In fact, my own opinion is that such leaders are themselves the single most important source of that energy.
Throughout their lively and eloquent narrative, Bruch and Vogel respond to questions such as these:
• What are the components of organizational energy (OE)?
• How to measure – accurately and consistently level of OE in one’s organization?
Note: Bruch and Vogel recommend a seven-step process on Page 59.
• How to increase positive OE with energy-efficiency?
• How to eliminate or at least reduce negative OE?
• What are the key leadership tasks?
• How best to prepare people to complete those tasks?
• What is the “acceleration trap” and how best to prevent or escape it?
Note: Check out the summary of steps to prevent a Culture of Acceleration on Page 157.
• How to craft and then execute a strategy to instill a proactive sense of urgency re OE?
These are among the questions to which Bruch and Vogel. As these questions correctly suggest, they are convinced (and I wholly agree with them) that one of a leader’s most important responsibilities is to generate, nourish, and then “orchestrate” OE. The nature and extent of effective leadership in any organization (whatever its size and nature may be) will be determined almost entirely by the nature and extent of its emotional, cognitive, and behavioral energy.
Readers will appreciate the provision of Organizational Energy Questionnaire 12 (OEQ 12), a self-assessment of an organization’s energy (or a division’s, unit’s, or team’s energy) in the Appendix. The “OEQ 12” resembles the Gallup Organization’s “Q12®” (to help measure employee engagement) at least to the extent that (a) both are based on an abundance of research data and (b) both help suggest areas of organizational strength or weakness on which leaders should focus.
If your organization needs to become more energy-efficient, this is a “must read.” If you think your organization has no such need, I suggest that you become a much more energetic observer of what’s really happening…and not happening.
I have read and reviewed, and now continue to recommend Verne Harnish’s latest book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase their Value of Your Growing Firm.
Actually, with all due respect to the meaning and significance of the book’s subtitle, I think what Harnish shares will be of even greater value to those who lead organizations that are now struggling to survive. The challenges they face are literally a matter of organizational life or death.
For those who have not as yet read Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Harnish explains how to make the right decisions about People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash.
Here is an excerpt from his comments about that process:
Decisions Equal Success
“Decisions equal success – and there are four decisions, in growing your business, that you must get right or risk leaving significant revenues, profits, and time on the table. These four decisions are in the areas of People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. Even though most growth firms face continual challenges in all four areas, at any one time the challenges in one of these areas overshadows the rest. Therefore, your first decision to start [the process] is to choose which one of the four to focus on next.
“Over the last half of 2008, we surveyed 1300 executives of growth firms across five major regions of the world to see which one of the four decisions they most needed to focus on next. What we found were some patterns aligned with the opportunities and challenges of the region which I’ll share towards the end of this column. But first, let me provide some guidance on the four decisions.”
To read the complete explanation, please click here:
To check out an abundance of other resources, please click here.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Dave Logan for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.
* * *
At least once a week, someone contacts me about a great new method of finding star performers. Most turn out to be rehashed old news that is both boring and ineffective. But [after being encouraged to] learn about TopGrading, I took notice. Brad Smart is onto something.
I’ll say from the start I have no business interest in Brad or his company, and my only motivation in writing about it here is to share something truly effective with the BNET community.
Brad’s system has a lot of working parts, but here’s the gold I took from it:
1. Identify the areas in which you need the candidate to be a star.
2. Identify candidates through your networks of people.
3. Ask each one to say how his/her past supervisors would rate his/her effectiveness in each of those areas you identified.
4. Ask the candidate to arrange for those past supervisors to call you, and in those chats, ask about the candidate’s abilities in each of the areas.
Although I’m a leadership guy and not an HR specialist, I’ve been to my share of training on how big companies stay out of court. One of the best ways to avoid getting sued is to never give any feedback about past employees. I pointed out the objection to Brad. “Why would any past employers ever agree to that,” I asked him.
In response, he asked me a question: “What if someone who used to work for you–an absolute star–asked you to do them a favor and call a potential employer. Would you do it?” The answer for every star I had worked with: “absolutely.”
He wasn’t done. “But what if a B or C player asked you do it. Would you?” I’d been snared by his logic. “Probably not.”
“And what would you say to the past employee,” Brad asked. “I’d say it was against policy.”
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To read the complete article, please click here.
To read my interview of Brad Smart, please click here.
To read my review of Topgrading, please click here:
Dave Logan is a USC faculty member, management consultant, and the best-selling author of four books including Tribal Leadership and The Three Laws of Performance. He has served on the USC faculty since 1996, and teaches leadership and management at the Marshall School of Business. From 2001-2004, he was Associate Dean of Executive Education. He is also Senior Partner of CultureSync, a management consulting firm, which he co-founded in 1997. The firm consults with dozens of Fortune 500 companies, major nonprofits, and governments worldwide. He has a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School at USC.
Learn more about Tribal Leadership by clicking here.
Follow Dave on Twitter @davelogan1.