Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, Strategy II: Meaning Through Communication (continued)


Authors quotes:

“Lets stay with this for a while longer, since the distinction we’re attempting to draw has implications that go well beyond leadership and into other even more abstruse matters, such as creativity and aesthetics.  Managers, for the most part, deal with a mental process known as problem solving.  Problem involves a problem, a method, and a solution that follows from the problem and method.  A creative mental process occurs when neither the problem nor the method, let alone the solution, exists as a known entity.  Creativity involves a ‘discovered problem,’ one that needs to be worked out from beginning to end.  The highest form of discovery always requires problem finding.  This is very like the identification of a new direction or vision for an organization.  This is the difference we noted earlier between leader and managers; it is the difference between routine problem solvers and problem finders. Continue reading “Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, Strategy II: Meaning Through Communication (continued)”

Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, Strategy II:, Meaning Through Communication


“If you can dream it, you can do it” Walt Disney

Authors quotes:

“This quote from Disney figures high on a sign at Epcot in Orlando, Florida.  While it does beckon the Don Quixote in us all, the idea is incomplete.  Believing in one’s dreams is not enough.  There are a lot of intoxicating visions and a lot of noble intentions.  Many people have rich and deeply textured agendas, but without communication nothing will be realized.  Success requires the capacity to relate a compelling image of a desired state of affairs—-the kind of image that induces enthusiasm and commitment in others.

How do you capture imaginations?  How do you communicate visions?  How do you get people aligned behind the organization’s overarching goals?  How do you get an audience to recognize and accept an idea?  Workers have to recognize and get behind something of established identity.  The management of meaning, mastery of communication, is inseparable from effective leadership.

Finally, what we mean  by ‘meaning’ goes far beyond what is usually meant by ‘communication.’  For one thing, it has very little to do with ‘facts’ or even ‘knowing.’  Facts and knowing have to do with technique, with methodology, with knowing how to do things.  But thinking is emphatically closer to what we mean by ‘meaning’ than knowing is.  Thinking prepares one for what is to redone, what ought to be done.  Thinking, though it may be unsettling and dangerous to the established order, is constructive: in challenges old conventions by suggesting new directions, new visions.  To depend on facts, without thinking may seen safe and secure, but in the long run it is dangerously unconstructive because it has nothing to say about directions.  The distinctive role of leadership (in a volatile environment especially) is the quest for ‘know-why’ ahead of ‘know-how.’  And this distinction illustrates, once again, one of the key differences between leaders and managers.

Personal comments:

Lets stop here because this section of the book deals with a significant issue; communication.  There will be two more posts related to this topic

Communication is second only to trust in importance for leaders.  Why? Communication increases knowledge, builds confidence, trust, commitment, and increases productivity.  It creates meaning.  It’s the only way groups can become aligned behind vision, mission and goals.  Yet it typically shows up on surveys as “Needs Improvement.”

We don’t communicate well with each other (which is no surprise), and there are many reasons why.  Our ability to communicate is affected by our styles, tone, body language, filters, barriers, and our inability to listen.  Filters and barriers include ego, perceptions, assumptions, language, status, education, history, stereotypes, and jargon.  The result is that communication can stop, or be severely limited.

Next: Leaders

The Strategies For Taking Charge

Strategy II:

Meaning Through Communication (continued)

Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, Strategy I: Attention Through Vision


Authors quotes:

“ ‘All men dream; but not equally.

Those who dream by night in the dusty

recesses of their minds

Awake to find that it was vanity:

But the dreamers of day are dangerous men,

That they may act their dreams with open

eyes to make it possible.’

T.E. Lawrence

Management of attention through vision is the creating of focus.  Leaders are the most results-oriented individuals in the world, and results get attention.  Their vision or intentions are compelling and pull people toward them.  Intensity coupled with commitment is magnetic.  And these intense personalities do not have to coerce people to pay attention; they are so intent on what they are doing that, like a child completely absorbed with creating a sand castle in a sandbox, they draw others in.

Vision grabs.  Initially it grabs the leader, and management of attention enables others also to get on the bandwagon.

But leadership is also a transaction, a transaction between leaders and followers.  Neither could exist without the other. So what we discovered is that leaders also pay attention as well as catch it.”

Personal quotes:

Vision with action does grab, and compel and pull, but vision without action is an exercise in futility as well as derision.  Evident by the put-downs in break rooms, shop floors and at meeting breaks.

If you remember Covey’s discussion on time management (November, 2104 post) what did happen was the discussion on vision and discussion most often was discarded to work on Quadrants III and IV:

*Quadrant III

Urgent and Not Important 

*Quadrant IV

Not Urgent and Not Important

The time wasters were in abundance, as I recall the CEO who sat by his phone waiting for a board member to call.

More on the vision discussion during the next post on Meaning Through Communication.

Next: Leaders

The Strategies For Taking Charge

Strategy II:

Meaning Through Communication

Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, THE FOUR STRATEGIES


Authors quotes:

We looked to see if there were any kernels of truth about leadership—-the marrow, if you will, of leadership behavior.  Perhaps others would look elsewhere; for us, four major themes slowly developed, four areas of competency, four types of human handling skills.

-Strategy I: attention through vision

-Strategy II: meaning through communication

-Strategy III: trust through positioning

-Strategy IV: the deployment of self through (1) positive self-regard and (2) the Wallenda factor

Leadership seems to be the marshaling of skills possessed by a majority but used by a minority.  But it’s something that can be learned by anyone, taught to everyone, denied to no one.

Only a few will lead nations, but more will lead companies.  Many more will lead departments or small groups.  Those who aren’t department heads will be supervisors.  Those who follow on the assembly sine may lead at the union hall.  Like other complex skills, some people start out with more fully formed abilities than others.  But what we determined is that the four ‘managements’ can be learned, developed, and improved upon.  And like fine wine, these competencies are the distilled essence of something much larger—-peace, productivity, and perhaps freedom itself.

Personal comments:

The authors comment, “leadership seems to be the marshaling of skills possessed by a majority but used by the minority”,  may be true, but it is hard to identify that is the case.  The reason, as I wrote about some time ago, the term “monkey see, monkey do” applies more often than not.  One example, of many, is the employee who complained about their boss’s behavior, and repeated that behavior when they became a supervisor.

Yes, it’s not “rocket science” but for some reasons, not always identifiable, leadership skills are not easily taught, even to those who know how they would like to be treated.   Once they are “knighted” with the title, they quickly forget and revert back to the behavior they previously would have been unhappy with.  The “human condition” is affected by so many life situations that predicting leadership ability is difficult.  Mine, for example, was the Army.

Next: Leaders

The Strategies For Taking Charge

Strategy I:

Attention Through Vision