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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    perspective

    Developing Leadership Perspective: Fact vs. Reality

    Business People Analyzing Statistics Financial ConceptThere’s an old fable about three blind men who touched an elephant to find out what it was like. One man touched the leg and declared that the elephant was like a tree trunk. Another touched the elephant’s tail and declared that it was like a snake. The third man touched its side and declared that it was like a wall. A disagreement ensued as they each defended their perspective on the animal. After all, they knew what they felt.

    Were each of them right? Yes, and no. They each experienced a part of the elephant, but none experienced the whole. They each described the elephant from their perspective, but due to limitations in their vision and space, none of them could see it in its entirety. Only when they began to compare notes, and to walk around the elephant feeling different parts of it, could they begin to piece together a view of the entire animal. They had to experience it from different angles. Later, a sighted man came along and immediately saw the entire elephant. He quickly walked around the animal, sized it up and fully described it to the men. Their facts were not the same as reality.

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    The Power of “Co”

     

     

    Almost all organizations operate with a singular leader at the top, whether the Chairman, CEO or President.  A few have two individuals functioning as “co-leaders”.  But how many organizations are run by a troika?  Three people working equally together to lead the team. Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm with over 3,500 professionals working at 44 locations in 15 countries on 6,700 projects is led by the threesome of David Gensler, Diane Hoskins, and Andy Cohen. With diverse backgrounds, they’ve worked together for 20 years, and now share the leadership role of the firm that David’s father founded in 1965. Their most notable current project is the 2,073 foot tall Shanghai Tower that was topped off in August. It is now China’s tallest building, and second in the world to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

    What makes their working relationship even more unusual is that every two years they shift responsibilities for different aspects of the firm. Rather than align responsibilities solely around their areas of strength or interest, each of them continues to grow through taking on roles that are not in their normThree Hands Linkedal suite of skillsets. Their success is evident by their list of projects and clients, about half of which are Fortune 100 companies, and is profiled in the September 2, 2012 issue of Fortune.

    What is “Co”?

    Gensler’s leadership team has harnessed the power of “co”; sharing joint or mutual responsibility among two or more people. At the risk of riling dictionary enthusiasts, the opposite of “co” is “solo”, or one who leads or functions alone.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with operating solo, or as the singular lead on a project or initiative. The decision to do so is a result of individual style, skillset, convenience, or appointment.  But let’s take a minute to explore the power of “co”; sharing accountability and authority with two or more people to lead a team or accomplish a goal.


    Here are ten principles to help leaders to successfully leverage the power of “co”.

    1.      Collaboration – A form of co-laboring or working together collectively to lead the firm.  This is their key word and they model its effectiveness by integrating each other’s strengths, ideas and knowledge for the good of the team.

    2.      Mutual Respect – This involves recognizing each other’s value, esteeming and acknowledging one another.  In many cases, having mutual respect is the key to resolving disagreements, because it provides a basis for working toward positive relationships.

    3.      Communication – Sharing information, seeking input, and ensuring clarity and alignment of purpose and direction. Cohen says they can almost complete each other’s sentences.  They also have a video meeting every Friday that is “sacred”.

    4.      Likability – Shared values and interests form the basis for liking someone. It’s an intangible factor in building effective relationships. Gensler says that they’ve worked together for so long that they’ve even built a level of affection for one another.

    5.      Low Ego – Some corporate leadership styles are domineering and authoritarian, based on the premise that only one person can run the organization.  Operating as a “co-leader” requires valuing colleagues as much as, or more than oneself. Since David Gensler’s father founded the firm, one might expect that he’d have the lead role, but that’s not the case.

    6.      Cross-Pollination – Recognition that great ideas may come from a variety of people, and ensuring openness to receive, debate, evaluate and integrate those ideas.

    7.      Perspective – Leaders who have diverse points of view on situations, events and causation can create a rich environment of discussion and debate, but too much diversity can lead to divisiveness. An underlying shared perspective is important for cohesiveness and alignment.

    8.      Self-Confidence – When leaders are comfortable with who they are, their skills, abilities and particularly their limitations, they will be more open to others’ ideas and input. Insecure leaders are cancerous to the organization.

    9.      Trust – This is like the oil that makes the engine run.  Without trust the organization will quickly seize up and cease to function.

    10.   Cooperation – The team must work together towards a common purpose or benefit. Their actions must complement one another and be aligned toward a singular goal that is clearly understood by all.

    Leverage Your “Co”

    Leaders that model the power of “co” at the top, derive benefits from it at all levels of the organization. The effectiveness of their working relationship defines the culture for current and prospective employees to share information, ideas and intellectual capability, and models the behavior for others.

    Of course, all organizations aren’t conducive to a leadership troika, three people working equally together to lead the team. But all organizations do need the leadership team to operate with the power of “co”, using the principles outlined above to be more effective in reaching their goals. Even the singular Chairman or CEO needs a team supporting him or her that demonstrates these traits.

    So whatever your role or the size organization or team you may lead, think about how you can leverage the power of “co”.

    Read the Fortune Article here.

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