Saturday, October 15, 2005

In "The Window and the Mirror"; In Humility and Will: Teams and Level 5 Leadership

OK ... back to work. I've started receiving emails inquiring what happened to my blog that had not been updated for 6 weeks. I really appreciated them, actually ... at least somebody is missing my postings, but dude! Bloggers need vacation too!

Six weeks ago I discussed how "teams and good performances are inseparable: You cannot have one without the other ..." But actually there's also something more to it. "We were lucky, to live in such a community where the concern for the environment is quite high..." I've heard them saying. "It forces us to be aware of what we use and what we discharge, and this puts us in an advantage in today's environment where energy prices is constantly climbing."

Harvard Business Review, September 2005 / Best of HBR 2001
Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve

"... Compare Bethlehem Steel and Nucor, for example. Both steel companies operated with products that are hard to differentiate, and both faced a competitive challenge from cheap imported steel ... (Yet) Bethlehem Steel's CEO summed up the company's problem in 1983 by blaming the imports: 'Our first, second, and third problems are imports.' Meanwhile, Ken Iverson and his crew at Nucor saw the imports as a blessing: 'Aren't we lucky; steel is heavy, and they have to ship it all the way across the ocean, giving us a huge advantage.' Indeed ... Iverson went so far as to speak out publicly against government protection against imports, telling a gathering of stunned steel executives in 1997 that the real problems facing the industry lay in the fact that management had failed to keep pace with technology.

... The emphasis on luck turns out to be part of a broader pattern that we have come to call 'the window and the mirror'. Level 5 leaders, inherently humble, look out the window to apportion credit--even undue credit--to factors outside themselves. If they can't find a specific person or event to give credit to, they credit good luck. At the same time, they look in the mirror to assign responsibility, never citing bad luck or external factors when things go poorly. Conversely, the comparison executives frequently looked out the window for factors to blame but preened in the mirror to credit themselves when things went well.": Jim Collins, coauthor "Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies"

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