Blog post January 2017
Ross Perot is an American businessman best known for being an independent presidential candidate in 1992 and the Reform Party presidential candidate in 1996. His wife, Margot, taught school during the early years of their marriage. In 1962, she loaned Perot $1,000 from her savings account to start EDS, a one-man data processing company. The company ultimately became a multi-billion dollar corporation employing more than 70,000 people. Perot sold EDS in 1984 to General Motors for $2.5 billion.Two years later, he started a new computer service company, Perot Systems, which operates in the United States and Europe. Perot captures what we believe is the secret to success:
Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead. —Ross Perot
J. “Tom” Peters is an American writer on business management practices, best known for In Search of Excellence also said it this way, “Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.”
The challenge is to balance both management and leadership. Sounds easy, however, most of us tend to lean one way or the other. We lean toward management, or tasks, sometimes at the expense of people, or we lean toward leadership, and people, sometimes to the detriment of completing tasks in a timely manner. Too much of a management focus can lead to a high need for power and control, being dismissive or intimidating, a bottom-line at all costs mentality, being a solo player, and reactive versus proactive. The opposite of a pure manager is a pure leader, putting people over tasks and facilitating versus leading. In other words, wanting consensus decisions, leading to a lack of decisiveness and going along to get along to avoid conflict. These individuals can be generous to a fault. We naturally lean toward one or the other. So therefore, the goal for 2017 is find the appropriate balance, knowing when to utilize management strength and when to appropriately apply the influence of leadership. A balance of the traits include individuals who are active team builders, will achieve goals but not at the expense of compromising their values, maintain composure under pressure, and will appropriately turn up the heat on decisiveness, responsibility and accountability, but celebrate success with the team too. At LeadAdvantage we use feedback tools that can identify which dynamic is most natural to your employees and management teams, management (tasks) or leadership (people), and how to begin to find a healthy balance that will provide our teams the opportunity for greater success. The information allows individuals to set targets to enhance behaviors that contribute to success or compensate and develop the behaviors that can hinder, or get in the way, of success.
Lou Gerstner said in his book, “When I came to IBM I was a guy who believed in strategy and analysis. What I learned was that corporate culture is not part of the game: It is the game.” In other words, we can’t simply focus on management qualities, we have to focus on leadership as well, because that is what determines a team or company culture and ultimately the level of success of that team or company.