Leading Blog






08.12.09

Newswire: Leaders as Learners and Teachers

NewsWire
    Steven Spear, author of The High-Velocity Edge writes, "In a commoditized world, the essence has to be developmental, not transactional. Develop and discover great opportunities and learn to exploit them."

For me the key word there is "learn." As leaders, we have to enable others to learn while being eager to learn ourselves. It is an adaptive mentality as opposed to a fixed mentality. It means improving our perception as we tend to see and therefore learn things that fit our view of the world and the future.
  • Leadership and Innovation in a Commoditized World
    by Steven Spear, HBR: Now, New Next Blog

    When interviewees at Toyota were asked to describe the best leader they had ever encountered, no one mentioned the leader who was a visionary, the one who made a tough call, the one who out thought everyone else. Instead, there was always a story about some leader who took the time to teach someone else how to learn faster, better, and with more certainty, and to teach others to do the same. One friend described an interaction with Fujio Cho, former head of Toyota, visiting a plant and gently chiding people for too much attention to accomplishments and too little on struggle points. If he didn't know what was difficult for them, he was reported to ask, how would he know where he could be of help?

    Then there was Norm Bafunno, who as part of his daily work running Toyota's Indiana plant, visited the many projects being conducted continuously. For all the discussion about what was tried and what was accomplished, he concludes with the quintessential Toyota leader question. Not, "what did you accomplish?'" but "what did you learn?"

    And that is the essence of what a leader has to do in any innovation-driven organization. Not tell people what to do but constantly challenge them to identify challenges and obstacles, investigate their source, develop and test solutions, all the time asking: "So, what did you learn from the experience and how can we put that learning to good use?"
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:01 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Creativity & Innovation , NewsWire



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