How Leaders Create Value

I attended a breakfast briefing yesterday morning, featuring author and consultant Rick Lepsinger. His topic was how leaders create value by balancing multiple challenges and choices. (He was also promoting his new book, The Flexible Leader, co-authored by Gary Yukl, published by Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.)

The briefing was co-sponsored by the NJ Human Resources Planning Group and Right Management Consultants.

Sometimes these sorts of briefings are just marketing events for consultants and you walk away feeling empty. While Lepsinger is indeed a consultant, his presentation was like a compelling mini-seminar.

In a nutshell, his research suggests that to develop effective leaders, one must move beyond old theories of leadership traits. Instead, organizations must build leadership models in the context of organizational performance. An organization's performance is the result of the interplay among the following three integrated factors:

1. Efficiency - The process reliability, quality, and cost reduction essential to the organization

2. Adaptation - The adaptation (i.e., continuous growth and change) to forces in the external environment impacting the organization

3. Human Resources - Having people with the skills and motivation to carry out the mission of the organization

These are the three challenges of leadership. In context, effective leaders make strategic choices while striving for the right balance of these three factors to achieve organizational goals. These factors, Lepsinger points out, are often in conflict.

So, in my company, for example, a senior level leader is concerned with:

1.) reducing cost while delivering high quality yet efficient service;
2.) adapting to regulatory currents, as well as to best-in-class models; and
3.) having people in place with the right skills and attitudes to get us where we need to be.

Essentially, Lepsinger is offering a unified theory of leadership, saying that leaders need to be flexible. Leadership development needs to be grounded in the context of the three imperatives that drive organizational performance.

Comments

Love2E-Learn said…
Terrence,
I appreciate the insight you shared from the Lepsinger briefing. Thinking about the challenges of moving into company structure (at least thinking of mine here), I know that the issue of adaptation is a big one. Specific methods for getting senior leadership to recognize the value and move toward more rapid deployment learning systems like e-learning is a challenge at best. I'm at a crossroads now with budget time looming and integrating more of the e-learning style into our culture is my current goal. I'll have to explore more of Lepsinger's theory. Thanks for sharing this!

L2E
www.love2e-learn.com

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