behavior

The Advantage

A few years ago, I read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and it remains to be, for me, one of the most practical and applicable management books. Patrick Lencioni, the author of that book, has published a number of other books which have received high reviews as well, and I decided to read one of his more recent ones The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business.

The main premise of this book is that:

The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simply free, and available to anyone who wants it.

Sounds simple, so why is it that difficult?

But before leaders can tap into the power of organizational health, they must humble themselves enough to overcome the three biases that prevent them from embracing it. The Sophistication Bias: Organizational health is so simple and accessible that many leaders have a hard time seeing it as a real opportunity for meaningful advantage…The Adrenaline Bias: Becoming a healthy organization takes a little time. Unfortunately, many of the leaders I’ve worked with suffer from a chronic case of adrenaline addiction, seemingly hooked on the daily rush of activity and firefighting within their organizations…The Quantification Bias: The benefits of becoming a healthy organization, as powerful as they are, are difficult to accurately quantify.

What exactly is organizational health and how do I recognize it?

A good way to recognize health is to look for the signs that indicate an organization has it. These include minimal politics and confusion, high degrees of morale and productivity, and very low turnover among good employees…And so a good way to look at organizational health -and one that executives seem to respond to readily— is to see it as the multiplier of intelligence. The healthier an organization is, the more of its intelligence it is able to tap into and use. Most organizations exploit only a fraction of the knowledge. experience, and intellectual capital that is available to them. But the healthy ones tap into almost all of it. That, as much as anything else, is why they have such an advantage over their unhealthy competitors.

How do we create it, or get there?

An organization doesn’t become healthy in a linear, tidy fashion. Like building a strong marriage or family, it’s a messy process that involves doing a few things at once, and it must be maintained on an ongoing basis in order to be preserved. Still, that messy process can be broken down into four simple disciplines: Discipline 1: Build a cohesive leadership team…Discipline 2: Create Clarity…Discipline 3…Overcommunicate Clarity…Discipline 4: Reinforce Clarity.

On the first discipline – building a leadership team, let us start with the fundamentals, with the definition:

A leadership team is a small group of people who are collectively responsible for achieving a common objective for their organization…This is perhaps the most important distinction between a working group and a real leadership team. Collective responsibility implies, more than anything else, selflessness and shared sacrifices from team members.

What are the key behaviors of a leadership team:

On building trust:

Members of a truly cohesive team must trust one another. I realize that sounds like the most patently obvious statement ever made, something that every organization understands and values. As a result, you’d think that most leadership teams would be pretty good at building trust. As it turns out, they aren’t, and I think a big part of it is that they have the wrong idea about what trust is…The kind of trust that is necessary to build a great team is what I call vulnerability-based trust. This is what happens when members get to a point where they are completely comfortable being transparent. honest, and naked with one another, where they say and genuinely mean things like “I screwed up,” “I need help,” “Your idea is better than mine,” ‘T wish I could learn to do that as well as you do,” and even, “I’m sorry”…Trust is just one of five behaviors that cohesive teams must establish to build a healthy organization. However, it is by far the most important of the five because it is the foundation for the others. Simply stated, it makes teamwork possible. Only when teams build vulnerability-based trust do they put themselves in a position to embrace the other four behaviors, the next of which is the mastery of conflict.

On mastering conflict:

Contrary to popular wisdom and behavior, conflict is not a bad thing for a team. In fact, the fear of conflict is almost always a sign of problems. Of course, the kind of conflict I’m referring to here is not the nasty kind that centers around people or personalities. Rather, it is what I call productive ideological conflict, the willingness to disagree, even passionately when necessary, around important issues and decisions that must be made. But this can only happen when there is trust…When leadership team members fail to disagree around issues, not only are they increasing the likelihood of losing respect for one another and encountering destructive conflict later when people start griping in the hallways, they’re also making bad decisions and letting down the people they’re supposed to be serving. And they do this all in the name of being “nice.”

On achieving commitment:

The reason that conflict is so important is that a team cannot achieve commitment without it. People will not actively commit to a decision if they have not had the opportunity to provide input, ask questions, and understand the rationale behind it. Another way to say this is, “If people don’t weigh in, they can’t buy in.”

On embracing accountability:

Even well-intentioned members of a team need to be held accountable if a team is going to stick to its decisions and accomplish its goals. In some cases, people will deviate from a plan or a decision knowingly, tempted to do something that is in their individual best interest but not that of the team. In other cases, people will stray without realizing it, getting distracted or caught up in the pushes and pulls of daily work. In either case, it’s the job of the team to call those people out and keep them in line…At its core, accountability is about having the courage to confront someone about their deficiencies and then to stand in the moment and deal with their reaction, which may not be pleasant. It is a selfless act, one rooted in a word that I don’t use lightly in a business book: love. To hold someone accountable is to care about them enough to risk having them blame you for pointing out their deficiencies.

On focusing on results:

The ultimate point of building greater trust, conflict, commitment, and accountability is one thing: the achievement of results. That certainly seems obvious, but as it turns out, one of the greatest challenges to team success is the inattention to results. What would members of an executive team be focused on if not the results of their organization? Well, for one, the results of their department. Too many leaders seem to have a greater affinity for and loyalty to the department they lead rather than the team they’re a member of and the organization they are supposed to be collectively serving. Other distractions include a concern for individual career development, budget allocations, status, and ego, all of them common distractions that prevent teams from being obsessed with achieving results…The only way for a team to really be a team and to maximize its output is to ensure that everyone is focused on the same priorities— rowing in the same direction, if you will.

The second discipline is about Creating Clarity:

The second requirement for building a healthy organization—creating clarity—is all about achieving alignment. This is a word that is used incessantly by leaders, consultants, and organizational theorists, and yet for all the attention it gets, real alignment remains frustratingly rare. Most executives who run organizations—and certainly the employees who work for them—will readily this.

This is done by answering six fundamental questions:

1. Why do we exist? 2. How do we behave? 3. What do we do? 4. How will we succeed? 5. What is most important, right now? 6. Who must do what?

On what do we do:

If an organization’s reason for existence answers the Question, Why?, then its business definition answers the question. What? It’s critical that it be clear and straightforward. It should not be crafted so that it also be used in marketing material. The point is just to make sure that the leadership team is crystal clear about, and can accurately describe, the nature of the organization’s business so that they don’t create confusion within the rest of the company or, for that matter, in the market. It’s as simple as that.

On how we will succeed:

We came to realize that the best way for an organization to make strategy practical is to boil it down to three strategic anchors that will be used to inform every decision the organization makes and provide the filter or lens through which decisions must be evaluated to ensure consistency. Strategic anchors provide the context for all decision making and help companies avoid the temptation to make purely pragmatic and opportunistic decisions that so often end up diminishing a company’s plan for success.

On who must do that:

There is not a great deal to be said about this particular question, aside from warning leadership teams not to take it for granted. Although there is often clarity among executives in most organizations about who does what on the team, making assumptions about that clarity can lead to surprising and unnecessary problems.

The third discipline is Overcommunicating Clarity:

What those leaders fail to realize is that employees understand the need for repetition. They know that messaging is not so much an Intellectual process as an emotional one. Employees are not analyzing what leaders are saying based solely on whether it is intellectually novel or compelling, but more than anything else on whether they believe the leaders are serious, authentic, and committed to what they are saying. Again, that means repetition is a must.

The fourth and last discipline is Reinforcing Clarity:

As important as overcommunication is, leaders of a healthy organization cannot always be around to remind employees about the company’s reason for existing, its values, and so on. In order to ensure that the answers to the six critical questions become embedded in the fabric of the organization, leaders must do everything they can to reinforce them structurally as well. The way to do that is to make sure that every human system every process that involves people—from hiring and people management to training and compensation, is designed to reinforce the answers to those questions. The challenge is to do this without adding too much structure.

A concluding reminder that success in creating healthy organization rests on the leaders of the organization:

There is just no escaping the fact that the single biggest factor determining whether an organization is going to get healthier—or not—is the genuine commitment and active involvement of the person in charge. For a company, that’s the CEO. For a small business, it’s the owner. For a school, it’s the principal. For a church, it’s the pastor. For a department within a company, it’s the department head. At every step in the process, the leader must be out front, not as a cheerleader or a figurehead, but as an active, tenacious driver.

While there is a considerable effort involved, there is also a substantial reward:

At the end of the day, at the end of our careers, when we look back at the many initiatives that we poured ourselves into, few other activities will seem more worthy of our effort and more impactful on the lives of others, than making our organizations healthy.

A recommended read in the area of organizational leadership and management. If you have not read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, I highly recommend you read that one first.

 

On The Slight Edge

I recently finished reading The Slight Edge – Secret to a Successful Life by Jeff Olson.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “The Slight Edge is not just more good information. It’s not another self-help success book packed with some revolutionary “new best way” of doing things. You don’t need that. Nobody needs that. All the “new and better” information is already available and has been for years. This book is designed to help you use that information. This book is what I wish will help you take whatever information you want, whatever how-to’s or strategies or goals or aspiration you want.”

2- “A positive philosophy turns into a positive attitude, which turns into positive actions, which turns into positive results, which turns into a positive lifestyle. A negative philosophy turns into a negative attitude, which turns into negative actions, which turns into negative results, which turns into a negative lifestyle.”

3- “By and large, people are looking in the wrong places. They are looking for a breakthrough, looking for that amazing “quantum leap”—the philosophy of the craps table and roulette wheel. I don’t believe they’ll ever find it. I’ve had colossal failures, and I’ve had remarkable successes, and my experience is, neither one happens in quantum leaps. They happen through the Slight Edge…That the things you do every single day,  the things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter, do matter. That they not only make a difference—they make all the difference.”

4- “It’s easy to have everything you ever wanted in your life. Every action you need to take to make any and all of your dreams come true is easy. So why is it, then, that the masses are unhappy, unhealthy and financially bound? Every action that any of these goals requires is easy to do. Here’s the problem: every action that is easy to do, is also easy not to do. Why are these simple yet crucial things easy not to do? Because if you don’t do them, they won’t kill you … at least, not today. You won’t suffer, or fail or blow it—today. Something is easy not to do when it won’t bankrupt you, destroy your career. ruin your relationships or wreck your health—today. What’s more, not doing it is usually more comfortable than doing it would be. But that simple, seemingly insignificant error in judgment, compounded over time, will kill you. It will destroy you and ruin your chances for success. You can count on it. It’s the Slight Edge. That’s the choice you face every day, every hour: A simple, positive action, repeated over time. A simple error in judgment, repeated over time. You can always count on the Slight Edge. And unless you make it work for you, the Slight Edge will work against you.”

5- “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. “Progressive” means success is a process, not a destination. It’s something you experience gradually, over time. And here’s how real success is built: by the time you get the feedback, the real work’s already done. When you get to the point where everyone else can see your results, tell you what good choices you’ve made, notice your good fortune, slap you on the back and tell you how lucky you are, the critical Slight Edge you actually made those choices, nobody noticed but you. And even you wouldn’t have noticed—unless you understood the Slight Edge. Invisible results.”

6- “The right choices and wrong choices you make at the moment will have little or no noticeable impact on how your day goes for you. Nor tomorrow, nor the next day. No applause, no cheers, no screams, no life-or-death results played out in Technicolor. But it is precisely those very same, undramatic. seemingly insignificant actions that, when compounded over time. will dramatically affect how your life turns out. So, where’s the drama? It comes at the end of the story, when the credits start to roll—which comes not in two hours but in two years. Or, depending on what Slight Edge and what particular story we’re talking about, perhaps twelve years, or twenty-two.”

7- “No success is immediate. Nor is any failure instantaneous. They are both products of the Slight Edge. The truth of quantum leaps is that they are not larger than life: they’re submicroscopic. The actual term “quantum leap” comes from particle physics, where it does not refer to a huge, epic jump. It refers to the fact that energy, after a period of time. epic jump. It refers to the fact that energy, after a period off time. will suddenly appear at another level, without our having been able to observe how it got there. It is an exact description of how the water hyacinth moves from day twenty-nine to day thirty. An exact description of how the frog’s certain death by drowning was suddenly transformed into salvation by butter.”

8- “No matter in what arena in life or work or play—the difference between winning and losing, the gap that separates success and failure, is so slight, so subtle, most never see it. Superman may leap tall buildings at a single bound. Here on earth, we win through the Slight Edge.”

9- “One of the quickest and most direct routes to getting yourself up and onto the success curve is to get out of the past. Review the past, but only for the purpose of making a better plan. Review it. understand and take responsibility for the errors you’ve made, and use it as a tool to do differently in the future. And don’t spend a great deal time doing even that!—the future is a far better tool than the past. m the past. Devote some serious, focused time and effort into designing a crystal-clear picture of where you’re going. In the second part of this book, we’ll take a look at specific ways to help you do exactly that. For now, I’ll just say this: when you do have a clear picture of the future and consciously put time every day into letting yourself be drawn forward by that future, it will pull you through whatever friction and static you encounter in the present—and whatever tugging and clutching you may feel from the past…You can’t change the past. You can change the future. Would you rather be influenced by something you can’t change, or something you can?”

10- “In my line of work, I talk a lot about success in financial terms. But genuine success is a far greater issue than purely financial health. A genuinely successful life means your health, your family relationships, your career, your spirituality, your sense of fulfillment, your legacy and the impact you have on the world. It’s all these things and more. And the best thing about genuine success is that it spreads! Success in any one of these areas begins to affect all the others, too. Improve your health and you improve your all the others, too. Improve your health and you improve your relationships; work on your personal development and you have an impact on your career. Everything affects everything.”

11- “Book smarts, street smarts. Learning by study, learning by doing. Read about it, apply it, see it in action, take that practical doing. Read about it, apply it, see it in action, take that practical experience back to my reading, deepen my understanding, take that deeper understanding back to my activity … it’s a never-ending cycle, each aspect of learning feeding the other. Like climbing a ladder: right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Can you imagine trying to climb a ladder with only your right foot? The two work together. What’s more they not only work better together, each amplifying the other, but the truth is, they really cannot work separately. At least not for long. You can’t go to the top based purely on knowledge learned in study; you can’t go to the top purely through knowledge gleaned through action. The two have to work together. You study, and then you do activity. The activity changes your frame of reference. and now you are in a place where you can learn more. Then you learn more, and it gives you more insight into what you experienced in your activity, so now you re-approach activity with more insight. And back and forth, it goes. This back-and-forth rhythm is worth noting. It is the rhythm of success.”

12- “Having compassion and having direction are not mutually exclusive: they just take careful thought and discernment. You’re not judging those people; you’re simply asking yourself to be honest about whether or not those relationships are empowering you and helping to support your purpose and realize your dreams.”

13- “For a goal to come true: You must write it down, make it specific and give it a deadline; You must look at it every day; You must understand and pay the price; You must have a plan to start with.”

14- “You Start with a plan, then go through the process of continuous learning through both study and doing, adjusting all the time through the kaizen of plan, do, review and then adjust—like a rocket to the moon, off track ninety-seven percent of the time. your gyroscope feeding information to your dream computer to bring you back on track … You need a first plan so you can get to our second plan, so you can get to your third plan, so you can get to your fourth plan…Your starting plan is not the plan that will ultimately get you there … but you need it so you have a place to start.”   

15- “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do; they put the Slight Edge to work for them, rather than against hem, every day. They refuse to let themselves be swayed by their feelings, moods or attitudes; they rule their lives by their philosophies, and do what it takes to get the job done, whether they feel like it or not.”

16- “Successful people never blame circumstances or other people; instead, they take full responsibility for their lives. They use the past as a lesson but do not dwell in it, and instead, let themselves be pulled up and forward by the compelling force of the future. They know that the path that leads to the success curve and the one that leads to the failure curve are only a hair’s breadth apart. separated only by the distinction of simple, “insignificant” actions that are just as easy not to do as they are to do—and that this difference will ultimately make all the difference.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

The Slight Edge

On SPIN Selling

I have recently read SPIN Selling, The Best-Validated Sales Method Available Today. Developed From Research Studies of 35,000 Sales Calls. Used by the Top Sales Forces Across The World. by Neil Rackham.

The main premise of this book is best summarized by the author in the first chapter of the book: “The traditional selling models, methods, and techniques that most of us have been trained to use work best in small sales. In this book I’ll be showing you that what works in small sales can hurt your success as the sales grow larger—and I’ll be sharing with you our research findings that have uncovered new and better models for success in large sales…One of the simplest models of a sales call does seem to be applicable to any size of sale; almost every sales call you can think of, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, goes through four distinct stages 1. Preliminaries: These are the warming-up events that occur before the serious selling begins…2. Investigating: Almost every sale involves finding something out by asking questions…3. Demonstrating Capability: In most calls you will need to demonstrate to customers that you’ve something worthwhile to offer…4. Obtaining Commitment: Finally, a successful sales call will end with some sort of commitment from the customer…We decided that the focus of our research would be to develop new and positive questioning models that could replace the old ones, which were proving so unsatisfactory…We found that questions in the successful call tend to fall into a sequence we call SPIN. In summary the SPIN sequence of questions is: 1) Situation Questions: At the start of the call, successful people tend to ask data-gathering questions about facts and background…. 2) Problem Questions: Once sufficient information has been established about the buyer’s situation, successful people tend to move to a second type of question… 3) Implication Questions: In smaller sales, sellers can be very successful if they just know how to ask good Situation and Problem Question…4) Need-payoff Questions:Finally, we found that very successful salespeople ask a fourth type of question during the Investigating stage… is that they get the customer to tell you the benefits that your solution could offer.”

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “The psychological effect of pressure seems to be this. If I’m asking you to make a very small decision, then—if I pressure you—it’s easier for you to say yes than to have an argument. Consequently, with a small decision, the effect of pressure is positive. But this isn’t so with large decisions. The bigger the decision, the more negatively people generally react to pressure.”

2- “By forcing the customer into a decision, closing techniques speed the sales transaction…Closing techniques may increase the chances of making a sale with low-priced products. With expensive products or services, they reduce the chances of making a sale.”

3- “The first step in successful closing is to set the right objectives. The starting point for obtaining a commitment is to know what level of commitment from the customer will be needed to make the call a success.”

4- “So what’s the test of closing success? What’s the result, or outcome, that allows us to say that one call has been successful while another has failed? The method we finally chose involved dividing the possible outcomes of the call into four areas: 1)Orders: Where the customer makes a firm commitment to buy… 2)Advances: Where an event takes place, either in the call or after it, that moves the sale forward toward a decision… 3)Continuations: Where the sale will continue but where no specific action has been agreed upon by the customer to move it forward…4)No-sales: Our final category is where the customer actively refuses a commitment.”

5- “Obtaining Commitment: Four Successful Actions 1. Giving attention to Investigating and Demonstrating Capability…2. Checking that key concerns are covered..3. Summarizing the Benefits… 4.Proposing a commitment”

6- “The purpose of  questions in the larger sale is to uncover Implied Needs and to develop them into Explicit Needs.”

7- “Demonstrating Capability Effectively: 1.Don’t demonstrate capabilities too early in the call…2. Beware Advantages…3. Be careful with new products.”

8- “Making Your Preliminaries Effective: 1. Get down to business quickly…2. Don’t talk about solutions too soon…3. Concentrate on questions.”

9- “The Four Golden Rules for Learning Skills Rule 1: Practice Only One Behavior at a Time Start by picking just one behavior to practice…Don’t move on to the next until you’re confident you’ve got the first behavior right…. Rule 2: Try the New Behavior at Least Three Times…Never judge whether a new behavior is effective until you’ve tried it at least three times…Rule 3: Quantity Before Quality…When you’re practicing, concentrate on quantity: use a lot of the new behavior. Don’t worry about quality issues, such as whether you’re using it smoothly or whether there might be a better way to phrase it. Those things get in the way of effective skills learning. Use the new behavior often enough and the quality will look after itself…Rule 4: Practice in Safe Situations…Always try out new behaviors in safe situations until they feel comfortable. Don’t use important sales to practice new skills.”

10- “The most important lessons come from the way you review the calls you make. After each call, ask yourself such questions as these: Did I achieve my objectives? If I were making the call again, what would I do differently? What have I learned that will influence future calls on this account? What have I learned that I can use elsewhere?”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

SPIN Selling

On Leading Change

I recently finished reading Leading Change – Overcoming the Ideology of Comfort and the Tyranny of Custom by James O”Toole.

The aim of this book, as summarized best by the author, is to address three related questions: “1) What are the causes of resistance to change? 2) How can leaders effectively and morally overcome that resistance? 3) Why is the dominant philosophy of leadership, based on contingency theory neither an effective nor a moral guide for people who wish to lead change?”. The book addresses these questions through two parts. The first one focuses on the leaders, particularly on values-based leadership (so-called Rushmorean leadership). The second, on the followers with a focus on why people tend to resist change, and strategies to overcome that resistance.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book are the numerous reviews of other classics within these subject areas, which helps the reader further anchor the thoughts being introduced and how they are supported and/or are different from those introduced by the author. A recommended read in the areas of leadership and change!

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “In complex, democratic settings, effective leadership will entail the factors and dimensions of vision, trust, listening, authenticity, integrity, hope, and, especially, addressing the true needs of followers.”

2- “As Nelson Mandela understood, people will follow only leaders who take them where they want to go. Leaders thus beget followers, and they do so by allowing the followers to take the leader’s dream as their own. This can occur only when leaders acknowledge the legitimacy of followers’ competing beliefs and diverse values. Hence the overall conclusion from our inquiry: for leadership to be effective, it must be moral, and the sine qua non of morality is respect for people. (This is the concept of leadership we are calling Rushmorean).”

3- “In sum, Rushmorean leadership is not about voting; it is about the democratic value of inclusion. There is nothing oxymoronic, chaotic, or ineffective about leadership based on that moral principle.”

4- “What we will find is that people in organizations resist change advocated by their leaders for exactly the same reasons that the leaders of organizations resist change advocated by outsiders.”

5- “In general, the successful processes of change initiated…had the following things in common: 1) Change had top-management support. 2) Change built on the unique strengths and values of the corporation. 3) The specifics of change were not imposed from the top. 4) Change was holistic. 5) Change was planned. 6) Changes were made in the guts of the organization. 7) Change was approached from a stakeholder viewpoint. 8) Change became ongoing.”

6- “Here’s a sample of some of the most popular hypotheses: 1) Homeostasis, 2) Stare decisis. 3) Inertia. 4) Satisfaction. 5) Lack of ripeness. 6) Fear. 7) Self-interest. 8) Lack of self-confidence. 9) Future shock. 10) Futility. 11) Lack of knowledge. 12) Human nature. 13) Cynicism. 14) Perversity. 15) Individual genius versus group mediocrity. 16) Ego. 17) Short-term thinking. 18) Myopia. 19) Sleepwalking. 20) Snow blindness. 21) Collective fantasy. 22) Chauvnistic conditioning. 23) Fallacy of exception. 24) Ideology. 25) Institutionalism. 26) Natura non facit saltum. 27) The rectitude of the powerful. 28) “Change has no constituency.”. 29) Determinism. 30) Scientism. 31) Habit. 32) The despotism of custom. 33) Human mindlessness.”

7- “…The possession of the skill of overcoming resistance to change is what separates the mass of individuals with good ideas from the few leaders who are able to implement them.”

8- “Thus even though progressives may argue that change will not affect the power, prestige, and positions of the haves, the haves understand intuitively that in fact change must undermine their ideology, upset their belief system, and discomfit them greatly.”

9- “The current focus of leadership studies in business has a misplaced emphasis on helping haves (corporate leaders) overcome resistance among the have-lesses and have-nots in their organizations. As we see from the foregoing analysis…the far greater problem in overcoming resistance among the haves. In fact, it is progressives inside and outside corporations who face resistance from the people who have the most power to resist: the established leaders.”

10- “Conflict, tension, and turmoil are the order of the day – today and tomorrow. Thus, great leaders recognize that there is a never-ending struggle to balance the constant and never-abating demands of those with different objectives…Because it is not possible to ignore, nor to completely satisfy, the conflicting demands of all constituencies, leaders live in a state of perpetual tension. Poor leaders cannot tolerate this discomfiting posture, and they attempt to resolve the tension by either giving in to the demands of those who are most powerful, or by issuing a command that represents their own will. There is another way: the values-based leadership described in this book. At its core, the process of values-based leadership is the creation of moral symmetry among those competing values…Hence, the task is to lead through the process of design, composition, tension, balance, and harmony.”

11- “If one wishes to learn this particular art, the first piece that must be put into place is personal acknowledgment that no other form of leadership can be both moral and effective. Once a leader makes that difficult commitment, all the other pieces will eventually fall into place, bit by bit.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

On Leading Change

On Drive

I recently finished the book Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – by Daniel H. Pink. As the title indicates, this book is about what motivates us to perform and the evolution of the underlying motivations as time progressed. The main concept introduced by Daniel is what he calls “the Motivational Operating Systems”. In his own words these are “the sets of assumptions and protocols about how the world works and how humans behave, that run beneath our laws, economic arrangements, and business practices.” The author then goes on to explain the progression of this operating system: “Motivation 1.0 presumed that humans were biological creatures, struggling for survival. Motivation 2.0 presumed that humans also responded to rewards and punishments in their environment. Motivation 3.0, the upgrade we now need, presumes that humans also have a third drive – to learn, to create, and to better the world.”

Despite the upgrade in the underlying motivational operating systems, Daniel argues that “most business haven’t caught up to this new understanding of what motivates us. Too many organizations…still operate from assumptions about human potential and individual performance that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science. They continue to pursue practices such as short-term incentive plans and pay-for-performance schemes in the face of mounting evidence that such measures usually don’t work and often do harm”

A very insightful read on human behavior/motivation backed by years of scientific research. The book not only presents the concepts but also presents to us what its implications are from a management and leadership standpoint. Another great feature of the book is the summary and glossary of terms at the end. They serve as a great reference/refresher. A recommended read!

Below are some excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “Carrots and Sticks: The Seven Deadly Flaws – 1) They can extinguish intrinsic motivation. 2) They can diminish performance. 3) They can crush creativity. 4) They can crowd out good behavior. 5) They can encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior. 6) They can become addictive. 7) They can foster short-term thinking.”

2- “…For creative, right-brain, heuristic tasks, you’re on shaky ground offering “if-then” rewards. You’re better off using “now that” rewards. And you’re best off if your “now that” rewards provide praise, feedback, and useful information.”

3- “…Type I behavior emerges when people have autonomy over the four T’s: their task, their time, their technique, and their team.”

4- “The first two legs of the Type I tripod, autonomy and mastery, are essential. But for proper balance we need a third leg – purpose, which provides a context for its two mates. Autonomous people working toward mastery perform at very high levels. But those who do so in the service of some greater objective can achieve even more. The most deeply motivated people – not to mention those are most productive and satisfied – hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves.”

5- “Motivation 2.0 centered on profit maximization. Motivation 3.0 doesn’t reject profits, but it places equal emphasis on purpose maximization.”

6- “So, in the end, repairing the mismatch and bringing our understanding of motivation into the twenty-first century is more than an essential move for business. It’s an affirmation of our humanity.”

7- “When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system – which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators – doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements: (1) Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives; (2) Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and (3) Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.”

8- “Type I behavior: A way of thinking and an approach to life built around intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivators. IT is powered by our innate need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. Type X behavior: Behavior that is fueled more by extrinsic  desires than intrinsic ones that concerns itself less with the inherent satisfaction of an activity and more with the external rewards to which that activity leads.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Drive

Drive