The Way for Leaders

My OD colleague Roland Sullivan asked what wisdom I would share with CEOs in Asia about learning, development, and change. In my career, I have had the opportunity of observing "up-close and personal" several CEOs lead their organization in both learning and change. Here's some wisdom based on one of these people.

One was the CEO of a rapidly growing telecom company in the 1980's and 90's. He authored and fostered the action-oriented, fast-paced, customer-focused organizational culture that promoted teamwork, initiative, and continuous improvement. He recognized (and often said) that the company's competitive edge came from its "secret weapon" which we knew was the ACTION Culture, embodied in the highly engaged and committed People.

The ACTION phrase stood for the following ingredients:

A = Attitude
C = Close to your customer
T = Teamwork
I = Initiative
O = Open communication
N = Never ending improvement

As you can see, for this CEO, success was all about the people in your organization.

As one who came "up the ladder" through Sales and Operations, he recognized the importance of training and development. He even taught classes to his up-and-coming leaders.

When it came to change, which was constant white-water at this company, he involved everyone. Change was a team sport for him, and he counted on everyone to fully participate, hands, heads and hearts.

As a CEO, he knew that "You are only as good as your people" (quote from Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's) and that in order to grow your business, you must grow your people.

I'd recommend the acronym GROW to all CEOs. It's from the book The Inner Game of Tennis, and it stands for:

G = Goals you wish to attain

R = Reality you are starting from

O = Obstacles you will encounter and Opportunities you must seize

W = Way forward

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Monday April 23, 2012

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