К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №1 - 2006
Автор: Фергюсон Ч.
Where, oh where,
are the leaders?
got a million of them. Baseball managers. Floor managers. Crisis managers. Business
and management classes. Ask Warren Bennis, who once taught at the University of Southern
California: “America and its business community,” Bennis said, “have been
managed to the point of ruin.”
Managers we’ve got. We’re surrounded. But leaders? “We’re in desperate need of
leaders,” Bennis said. “Unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to find men
and women of vision who are willing to stand on principle and make their voices
“One has to
wonder, where have all the leaders gone?” Where are the leaders? No one seems
to know. Read the headlines. Listen to the news. While running for president in
2000, George W. Bush campaigned on the theme, “It is a time for new beginnings
and new leadership.”
have recognized the value of leadership. Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the Times,
argues that the Palestinians need their own state “and a new leadership.” An
editorial board insists that only “new leadership” will succeed in getting a Patients’
Bill of Rights through Congress. And as I write this, lawmakers in Washington are thrilled about new leadership at the SEC.
Have you ever
heard a politician say, “We need a new kind of management in Washington, D.C.”? Not even Ross Perot tried to run on that
platform. No, leaders and leadership are what’s missing in your local school
district. In the circles of local government. In the church and synagogue. In
the business community. In the world of the nonprofits.
the business community. It’s difficult to exaggerate the devastating impact –
not only on Wall Street, but on the street where you live – of the collapse of
such companies as Enron, Arthur Andersen, Global Crossing, and MCI-WorldCom.
The courts are
still trying to calculate the depth and breadth of the fraud these companies
perpetuated on the financial markets. In June 2002, officials at MCI-WorldCom
admitted the company had hidden almost $4 billion in costs, which prompted the
largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. In a civil lawsuit, the
Securities and Exchange Commission said that an accounting scheme “directed and
approved by WorldCom’s senior management” allowed MCI-WorldCom to fraudulently
report 2001 cash flow of $2.4 billion, rather than its actual loss of $662
accounting firm was Arthur Andersen. That firm also did the math for Enron,
collecting $25 million in auditing fees and $27 million in consulting fees in
2001. That was enough, apparently, to look the other way while Enron phoned up
its balance sheets.
Global Crossing. The telecommunications giant made Garry Winnick, the man who
launched the firm, a $6 billion man. While the boom was on, the company grew
from five employees to a telecom giant of ten thousand…but when the bubble
burst, many of those employees were given three days’ notice that their health
benefits were being cut off. They were denied severance play. Many had to sell
their homes. Their pension funds, a product of their faith and trust in the
company for which they worked, were ruined.
Gary Winnick was
not similarly distressed. Even as Global Crossing rolled towards bankruptcy
court, Winnick was making plans to construct his personal dream house costing
Where are the
leaders? Do you think they are ensconced in $94 million mansions? Are they
driven by the “values of leadership?” In the debate over leadership, people
like Garry Winnick are part of the problem. If you’ll read on, we can start
moving toward the solution.
General H. Normal
Schwarzkopf said, “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and
character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.” Agreed. But let's talk a little strategy. I can't sum up leadership
in five words or less. Leadership is about a lot of things. But when we survey
the arrogant wreckage of these corporate
giants, I hope we can agree on this: In its
simplest and most powerful form, leadership is about people and the intimate,
intricate relationships between them. It's about core values. And it's about
being connected, for the benefit of all, in a community.
too many of us have grown up thinking leadership involves a position. It's not
about position. A title doesn't make you a leader. I know you've heard people
say, "I love my job, but I can't stand the person I work for." Why? Because
position or titles do not automatically inspire leadership. Position is vague
and external. And leadership, I've come to believe, is personal and internal.
It has its roots deep inside each one of us.
come quite a ways, I might add. For me, leadership has been a journey. I haven't
reached this point armed with— or guided by—clichés and anecdotes. Yes,
there are people, wonderful books, and experiences that have shaped my life.
I'm still benefiting from the counsel and the experience of friends. But there
is no simple answer to our questions about the nature of leadership. I don't
have a toolbox or a quick ten-step seminar. I'm not a quote machine. And I'm still learning,
each and every day, from my mistakes and from the wonderful people that cross
the first thirty years, I toiled in the business and nonprofit world. I was
heavy handed. Very top down. I drove to the top because I believed leadership
resided at the top. I flat walked over people. A good friend of mine named Jim Lussier
once told me, "When I was a little kid, I hated bullies. Then I became
one. That's how I ran the hospital. I pushed and pushed." Let me tell you:
I recognized my reflection in the mirror he held up.
is a time in each of our lives when we have to make a decision about
leadership. For many of us, it's a conversion experience. We were something...
and then we learned that leadership is something quite different than what we
had imagined or experienced. The quest to understand just how different is an
inside-out journey. And at a crucial juncture in that journey we discover that
leadership is not so much about what we do.
about who we are. That can be a painful revelation. Few of us like to inquire
within. We're a little edgy about probing deep inside. We're a tad nervous
about confronting the character we bring to moments of great crisis and utter
loneliness. But that's what we need to do if we want to tap our capacity for
where greatness resides. That's where leadership begins. On the inside. That's
where the passion is. That's what you uncover when you're finally ready to dig
friend of mine was relaxing on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey, several years ago during his lunch hour,
enjoying the fresh air. That's when he noticed a little girl walking toward
him, trailing her mother. She had both hands wrapped around a paper cone capped
by a great pink stack of cotton candy. She couldn't have been much more than eight
or nine years old. As she passed by, my friend leaned down and said to her,
"Little girl, how can someone as tiny as you eat all that cotton
missing a step, the little girl looked up at him and said, "Mister, I'm a
whole lot bigger on the inside than I am on the outside." You want a
definition for leadership? Well, let's start right there: Leadership is about being a whole lot bigger on the inside
than we are on the outside.
Inside, after all, is
where we store our core values. Inside is where we maintain our dignity,
where we harbor our capacity for compassion. Inside is the good earth in
which everything we show to the outside world has taken root.
what's inside drives my behavior. Crafts my thought life. Shapes my
words. Defines my relationships. Determines how I value myself and others. And
influences my decisions.
assume that what's inside is transparent and accessible to those on the
outside. Michelangelo once said that the perfect form lies concealed in the
block of stone; all that is necessary is to chip away until it's revealed.
That's a great insight. Get those rock hammers ready.
don't forget that the delicate fabric between what exists on the inside and
what we confront on the outside can be very thin. I don't think you can work
for a company if its core values don't line up with your core values. You can't
lead a company—or be led by one—that doesn't believe the same things you do.
all likelihood, you spend more time at work than you do with your family or
curled up in bed. I don't want to suggest that your job is where the best and
worst parts of you are on display. But given the time you invest in work,
shouldn't your job be the place where you’re entire personality—and every part
of you—is welcome?
after Henry Ford created the first assembly line for Ford Motor Company, I
understand he looked out over the shop floor and said, "Why do I get the
whole person when all I want to hire is a pair of hands?" Maybe because
they're attached, Henry! In the twenty-first century, you can't hire a simple
pair of hands. You hire "whole" people, and they bring it all to
I turned sixteen, I got my first job. I was hired at a place called Yaw's Top
Notch on the east side of Portland. We used to hang out at the drive-in after school, and I got to
know the manager. On my first day of work, an afternoon shift, the manager
said, "Chuck, two things to get you started. First, we're thrilled you're
here. Second, leave your private life out in the parking lot. When you come to
work, you're on our time, not your time."
cannot say that to people today. "Leave your private life in the parking lot."
That's not possible.
long ago, I was called into a doctor's office after a routine colonoscopy. This
tough and exceedingly kind man said to me, "Chuck, your colonoscopy is
showing a tumor that is full of cancer."
you've ever heard that kind of diagnosis, I'm sure you know how hard that hit
me. I was staggered. Almost everything in my life changed. Drastically. Immediately.
Without wasting any time, I had to go in for cancer surgery on my colon. I
don't think I need to tell you that tumor was on my mind in the weeks leading
up to the surgery. No one could ask me to leave that cancer in the parking lot.
one out of every two marriages ends in divorce, when both parents are working
and leaving the latchkey out for the kids coming home from school, when the
economy is down and drug use is up, you can't ask your employees to check their
private life at the door.
leader has no choice but to see the whole person. "All politics,"
U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon once said to me," are relational. And that is also the heart
of leadership." Deep, vital relationships aren't possible unless you're
willing to deal with the whole person, in the context of the core values that
you share. Those core values create the culture of your business, and that culture
is what people remember.
wish our average board of directors took more seriously the responsibility to
defend those values and that culture. Down at the corner grocery store or the
local dry cleaner, business is utterly dependent on the connection you make
with the customer across the counter. But in large, complex organizations—companies
that show a hundred different faces to the public—the directors are the face of
an organization and its conscience. They are the gatekeepers of a company's mission
and its vision.
as leaders need to grapple with the whole person, boards are responsible for
maintaining healthy relationships inside the entire organization... and responsible
for the core values that connect a company to the world outside its walls. They
have the standing, if I may borrow that legal term, to both challenge and
encourage the salesmen and the CEOs. And you better believe that the fate of
the companies I talked about in the opening chapter would have been markedly
different if a few more directors had stood tall instead of ducking out of the
are shielded by what we show on the outside and motivated by who we are on the
inside. I encourage you to commit yourself to making your hidden beliefs
obvious. You must first become the leader that you yearn to see in the people
favorite quote about leadership comes courtesy of a gentleman—an absolute
gentleman—named Max DePree. Max is the former CEO and chairman of the Herman
Miller Company, a second- or third-generation Fortune 100 company that builds
some of the finest office furniture in the world. This is what Max had to say
about leadership in a book entitled Leadership Is an Art: The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.
The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a
are three parts to Max's quote: defining reality, saying thank you, becoming a
servant. I'd describe each of them, one at a time, if all three weren't
embodied in the story of a man named Jim Lussier.
first met Jim on the cover of Oregon Business magazine. In the summer of
1998, this fifty-something guy in a blue blazer with curly salt-and-pepper hair
popped up on the magazine cover beside the words "Say Goodbye to the
S.O.B." Below that banner was a small explanatory deck: "When
old-style management doesn't work."
was the CEO of St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. I was so impressed with his story that I
wrote him a note. Within a week, I was driving over to Central Oregon to see him and to speak with him about
his leadership journey. Lussier was ex-military with an MBA. For twenty-two years,
he ran his hospital like he once ran his unit: command and control. When Jim
said "Jump," his fifty-two managers jumped higher than he asked them
to because that's how you got promoted at St. Charles. That's how you got more money. You
jumped. You lunged at the carrot.
organizational charters at St. Charles were pretty clear: Jim was the commander in chief. He was
comfortable with the bureaucracy he had inherited. It was reasonably
successful. It was traditional, always focused on the bottom line. It was
authoritarian, and he was the authority.
in 1992, Jim picked up several books on leadership. Now, that started a transformation
in his thinking that could have been trouble. Jim Lussier, in other words,
could have easily picked up a book that celebrated his macho, authoritarian,
I-am-the-biggest-SOB-in-the-valley instincts. Fortunately, he didn't. Instead,
he started attending conferences on leadership, and he heard people like me
suggest that leadership, might have a lot less to do with telling people to
jump and a lot more to do with lifting them up.
came to pass that Jim walked into St. Charles one morning and took a long look at the 1,100 people who, by and
large, had worked for him for the last twenty-two years. Standing there at the
front doors of the hospital, Jim decided that he worked for 1,100 people. They
didn't work for him. They didn't have one pain-in-the-neck boss. He had
first definition of a leader is to define reality. If you're a manager, you're under the
impression that people work for you. If you're a leader, you work for them...
because you're there to help make them successful.
gathered his team around him. He tried to explain the transformation in his
thinking. He probably told his management team what he told the writer for Oregon
Business, that the hospital needed to focus on the patient as a customer.
As he said in the
magazine, "Would you go into Nordstrom if the first thing they did was
stick you in a waiting room and say, Til be back in an hour'?" His
managers thought he was going through a midlife crisis. They thought he'd gone
wacko. Do you know what he wanted to do? He wanted to collect the 1,100 name
tags people in the hospital wore and remove the titles. No more
"CEO." No more "Head Surgeon, Neurology." No more
"Lead RN, Pediatrics."
their names. What description was supposed to go under the name? Well, Jim
asked, what business are we in? Are we in the business of being "head
surgeons"? Are we in the business of being the CEO? No? Well, what is our
business? Caregiving. That's what they finally figured out. And that's why if
you show up at St.
Charles tomorrow, you'll meet Jim Lussier or Suzie Smith or Jim Johnson, and their name
tags all announce the same thing: "Caregiver." The folks who sweep
the floors and mop up ER? Caregiver. The people answering 911? Caregiver.
janitors? You know, there's a wonderful quote from Royal Alcott:
"Leadership," he insists, "is the initiation and direction of
endeavor in the pursuit of consequence. Anything else is criticism from
janitors." But at St. Charles, janitors—critical and otherwise—have a part to play in the
hospital's mission. They may be behind the curtains rather than at the front of
the stage, but the title on their name tag is just the same as the pediatric cardiologists:
Because the reality of St. Charles, Jim Lussier decided, is that those name tags shouldn't assert
your status but define your service.
next decision was that the hospital staff needed to begin listening to patients
and their families. This is, generally, anathema to the medical community.
Doctors don't make a habit of listening to patients. They are used to dictating
to patients and—let's be honest— ordering them around. When a doctor asks how
you're feeling, look out: He's warming up to tell you just how wrong you are.
had a better idea. You know what the staff at St. Charles found out when they began listening to
their patients? First off, they discovered that the patients hated those
nightgowns you have to wear. That's why they're no longer the standard uniform at the St. Charles. Since Jim Lussier decided to
shake up the place, St.
allowed patients to wear whatever they want. Nighties, pajamas, a running suit:
If you bring it, you can wear it.
it's about the patient at St. Charles, not about some tired, irrelevant habits. Leadership demands that
you listen to the people who drive your business. You don't tell your customers
what to wear when they're facing a traumatic, unpredictable experience in your
hospital. You listen carefully as your customers tell you what makes them
comfortable. You remain still while they explain their needs.
also listen to what they have to tell you about the food. When I saw the dining
room at St.
Charles, it had
plush carpet, fresh flowers on the tables, and beautiful music on the sound
system. I also noticed a box of Kleenex on every table.
I’ve been in quite a few hospital dining rooms. I think this is the first one
that didn’t smother my appetite the second I walked through the door. There
wasn’t a linoleum floor, nor a small armada of those gagging Styrofoam cups. When
I went looking for a cup, all I could find was a china mug and a giant pot of
Starbucks. And, when I put my $1.50 on the counter, the lady behind the register
said, “Sir, while you’re in our hospital, you are our guest. Coffee, tea, and
iced tea are all a gift from us to you.”
first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank
you. Do I need to explain the Kleenex box on every table? Do you know how the
hospital figured that out? They listened to their customers, their patients,
and the families of their patients.
rarely does that. Managers are convinced they have all the answers. Leaders, on
the other hand, have the right amount of humility. Leaders have a proper sense
of empathy. Leaders have figured out that between defining reality and saying
thank you, their job is to be servants to the people who come to them and help
them design their business.
you looking for guidelines on being a servant first? I think Robert Greenleaf
got us started when he said the following: The servant-leader is servant
first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then
conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: do those who I
serve grow as persons; do they while being served become healthier, wiser,
freer, and more autonomous, more likely themselves become servants?
Put yourself to
the test. Do those I serve grow as people? Do they become healthier, wiser,
freer…and more empowered?
Do I create a
safe place for those who work with me?
Do I understand
what makes people who they are and how they think and react in different
situations? Knowing a soft answer turns away wrath, do I take the time to
Do I throw light
or cast a shadow?
Do my words match
up with my touch? Do the people I serve trust that I believe in them… and
believe that I trust them?
Do I let other
people take the credit and receive the prize?
Do I keep
And do I offer
forgiveness when mistakes are made, or do I hold people hostage?
I have a
wonderful friend named Bob Farrell, who started Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlours. I
once asked Bob to define leadership for me. His comeback was stark and unforgettable:
“Take care of your people,” he said. “Take care of your customers.”
commissioned a customer service survey in which he discovered that 68 percent
of the customers who decide not to frequent a business don’t return because
they dislike the attitude of indifference in the staff.
relate to, and respond to the values of a company. They are attracted by them
or repelled by them. And that’s where leadership comes in. Management focuses
on accomplishing a task. Leadership is about building the human side of
You want a
definition for leadership? We might as well end there. Sister Catherine, the
last surviving nun from the group that founded St. Charles Medical center, said
this to me about Jim Lussier: “He is a leader who is not concerned about how
many followers he has. He is a leader who creates leaders.”
If you truly want
to lead – you are in the business of lifting spirits and touching lives.
Each time you put
your hands to the good work, you redefine reality. You say thank you. You
become a servant. And one thing more: You put your vision for leadership into
the hands of someone else and send them off to serve in the worlds beyond your
1. Bennis, Warren. Managing
People Is Like Herding Cats (Executive Excellence, 1997).
2. DePree, Max. Leadership
is an Art (Currency, 1989.)
3. Greenleaf, Robert. Servant
Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness (Paulist
К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №1 - 2006