“The team with the best players wins” ~ Jack Welch…
Early in my career I interviewed with the President of a $750 million company who wanted me to help him turn things around. He began the interview by asking me, “So what’s your IQ Murray?” After telling him I didn’t know but thought it was adequate based on my academic performance, he responded, “Well mine’s 171.” This brilliant exec hired me and asked me to do an assessment of what it would take to help the company stop losing $25 million per month. To my horror, the overriding issue I uncovered was every person telling me that the President was trying to do each of the 2,800 employees’ job better than they could. His tireless work ethic and brilliance equipped him to “micromanage the business into the ground,” as told by employees.
When asked to report back my findings, I recommended that we work on clarifying our strategy and focus on empowering people better to do their jobs. When he asked for clarification on what empowerment meant, I suggested that we improve engagement by working on leadership. The President’s response cut my legs right out from under me: “I tried that leadership crap a couple of years ago and it didn’t work.”
This executive’s reaction typifies the sentiments of many in the C-suite: Why should investments in leadership be made when it doesn’t work, it’s unclear what is supposed to be done and when it cannot be connected to business results?
My partner Brian and I have always been passionate about great leadership and the difference it creates. We studied leadership in university and have consulted, coached, trained and implemented countless initiatives to improve leadership. But in all the work we’ve done, we’ve never been able to clearly show how development impacted leadership effectiveness, business outcomes or shareholder value. Executives worked on developing leadership because it was the right thing to do, assuming it would make a difference to results.
We’ve launched a new company called ExecutiveScience that approaches executive development from the opposite end of the spectrum – as a science as opposed to an art. Both research and quantitative analysis have evolved and come together to open new frontiers. We can now measure leadership development and its impact on the business. Rather than just believing that this is a good thing to do, we can actually verify how it makes the business more successful.
Research clearly shows that great leadership impacts results.A Deloitte study, The Leadership Premium, ranked “Senior Leadership Team Effectiveness” second (behind financial results) as the most important of nine criteria that analysts used to judge a company’s success. Effective leadership had a 16% premium on share price while ineffective leadership had a 20% discount. Zenger Folkman’s empirical research found that the above-mentioned financial results can likewise be attributed to leadership – “poorleaders lose money; good leaders make profit; extraordinary leaders more than double profits in comparison to the other 90%!”
Great leadership can now be developed through a robust, systematic process. We leverage and extend leadership platforms to executives globally with the intent to simplify, quantify and integrate leadership capacity and capability by:
- Clearly articulating the leadership framework and the measurable differences between good and great leaders,
- Establishing a dynamic scorecard for executive leadership that measures team performance before, during and after the engagement, and
- Providing both individual and team coaching that integrates the measurable leadership framework with real-time business challenges.
We invite you to work on executive development as a science, create the team with the best players and see your results improve dramatically!
Murray R. Low, Brian A. Storey, September 2016