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6. A competent scholar with a working knowledge of:
(c) Theories of leadership and management

6c2 Reflections on a leadership seminar

Development Plan Portfolio Documentation
Attend a seminar by one of the acknowledged authorities on leadership. Write a reflective journal on the experience.

  1. Tom Peters: The Work Matters! presentation and his book, "The Circle of Innovation"
  2. Robert Cooper, August 25, 1999: Emotional Intelligence
  3. Lessons In Leadership, November 17, 1999:
    1. Tom Peters
    2. Margaret Wheatley
    3. Robert Cooper
    4. Stephen Covey
    5. Ken Blanchard
  4. Lessons in Leadership, 2000: Tom Peters, Grand Rapids, February 23, 2000
  5. Stephen Covey, 2000: The 4 Roles of a Leader

1. Tom Peters: The Work Matters!

In his presentation on "Reinventing Work: The Work Matters!", Tom Peters makes such passionate and hard hitting statements as:















Peters makes a strong case for white collar productivity and a new work model, the PSF (Professional Service Firm), Brand You, and WOW! Projects. "Talent" is the new word for employees, or associates.

Tom Peters' Work Model

Tom Peters' Work Model [1]

In his book, "The Circle of Innovation", Peters presents his ideas in much the same way as in the slides he uses in his presentations -- bold, graphic statements, with some explanatory text. In Chapter 5, "Welcome to the White Collar Revolution", he refers to Michael Hammer in connection with the role being played and to be played by new technologies.

   "Reeingineering pioneer Michael Hammer got it right a few years ago when he said the first several decades of the computer revolution amounted to 'paving the cow paths', using new technologies to automate yesterday's outdated methods ('allowing us to make yesterday's mistakes faster than ever', according to one information systems/information technology manager). Now, we are beginning to completely reconceive organizations. A Wal-Mart, a Microsoft, a VeriFone simply isn't shaped like its organizational predecessors. Entirely new ways of 'doing things' are beginning to emerge. And the white-collar job -- that is, 90+ percent of all jobs -- are squarely in the cross hairs of the emerging economy's sites.

   "Viva revolution! (Hint I: You have no choice.) (Hint II: The inevitable white-collar revolution is going to make yesterday's blue-collar revolution look like v-e-r-y small change.)" [2]

Then he gives his answers to the question, "Why a white-collar revolution?"

  "If you can't say why you make your company a better place, you're out". -- Cynthia Kellams
Think Time! "If you're not working on your ideal day, you're working on someone else's" -- Marjorie Blanchard
Think Choice! "We must spread the gospel that there is no gospel to spare us the pain of choosing at every step." -- Benjamin Cardozo
"The word upon which all adventure, all exhilaration, all meaning, all honor depends. In the beginning was the word and the word was CHOICE."
Think Power! Powerlessness is a state of mind. If you think you are powerless, you are.
"The thing women have got to learn is that nobody gives you power. You just take it." -- Roseanne Barr
Think Authority! Authority is a state of mind.
How much formal authority did Mohandas Gandhi have?
Think Responsibility! Down with Dilbert!
"If I don't do something, nothing is going to get better." -- Nathaniel Branden
"If we embrace self-responsibility not merely as a personal preference but as a philosophical principle, logically we commit ourselves to a profoundly important moral idea." -- Nathaniel Branden
Think Self-Motivation! Driver: "So why are you doing this, anyway?"
Me: "Because I said I would."
Driver: "Who did you say it to?"
Me: "Myself." -- Ffyona Campbell
Think New American Professional! Distinctive (towering) competence
Client-service obsessed (measurable)
Networker extraordinaire!
Think Résumé! can points to two or three completed projects
can enumerate, qualitatively and possibly quantitatively, the benefits delivered to clients in those projects
can provide references
can explain what you have learned, and how it makes you more valuable
can point to fatter list of external contacts
will have a résumé that is noticeably/discernibly/distinctly different from a year ago
Think Braggables! "I drag my myth around with me." -- Orson Welles
Think Brand! Brand You
Think Y-O-U! "Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." -- Helen Keller
"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any medium and be lost. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly." -- Martha Graham

2. Robert Cooper, August 25, 1999: Emotional Intelligence

I have written up my notes on this seminar under Competency 6(d). Here are some of my favorite ideas from his presentation.

He also had some very interesting things to say about the “second brain” (gut or enteric system) and the “brain in the heart”.

3. The Fourth Annual Worldwide Lessons In Leadership, November 17, 1999

This was an all-day satellite downlink program in which the five acknowledged leaders in business thinking made presentations. I took my six ITS managers with me to hear these leaders speak.
    1. Tom Peters
    2. Margaret Wheatley
    3. Robert Cooper
    4. Stephen Covey
    5. Ken Blanchard

There was also a panel featuring "business superstars" Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Steve Case (AOL), and Ted Turner (CNN, Time Warner).

3.1 Tom Peters

I have two variations of this PowerPoint presentation: HRMAC11-10.ppt and T-con_slides.ppt.

This was a satellite downlink event held by Lessons In Leadership, and included a number of world renowned writers and speakers on business leadership - Tom Peters, Margaret Wheatley, Robert Cooper and Stephen Covey. Some of Peters' slides, which are available for free from his web site, are quite cryptic, so my notes include points that stuck in my mind as well as explanations of some of his slides.

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.” — Dee Hock

“Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy.” — Nicholas Negroponte

“I don’t intend to be known as the ‘King of the Tinkerers.’ ” — CEO, F500 financial services company (5-99)


“support function” / “cost center” or … “Rock Stars of the ‘Age of Talent’ ”

CIO to CEFRNS -- Chief Evangelist For Really Neat Stuff

“Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.” — Phil Daniels, exec, Sydney

"So many of our information technology projects take on a life of their own, and I know they’ll never end up as more than ‘mediocre successes.’ ” — CEO, F100 financial services company (10-98)" Peters calls ‘mediocre success’ an obscene phrase.

"1) Turn ignition key. 2) Shift into drive. 3) Press foot firmly on the throat of mediocrity." Source: Mercedes ad

"DISTINCT … OR EXTINCT!" Do something noticeable. Be a player in the reinvention.

“The leaders of Great Groups love talent and know where to find it. They revel in the talent of others.” — Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman

“Our business needs a massive transfusion of talent. And talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among non-conformists, dissenters and rebels.” — David Ogilvy

Attributes of Those Who “Made” the 10th Grade History Book

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – J.F.K.

DON’T CALL ME “COMPETENT”! Axiom: Never hire anyone without an aberration in their background. (Find the One Ton Cookie Man! - Peters told a story of a recent college graduate who had gotten into the Guinness Book of Records by organizing and successfully making a one ton cookie!)

HR! Director of Bringing in the Really Cool People

3.2 Margaret Wheatley

Wheatley spoke much more about the human side of life in the age of technology. She said she is not anti-technology, but pro-human. Humanity is stressed with too hectic a pace.
  1. People want to do work that matters, has meaning, makes a contribution
  2. Relationships with those whom we work with is important
  3. People have a desire to serve others, and to participate

3.3 Robert Cooper

  1. Don't compete - excel.
    Mistrust and competition waste up to 50% of effort.
  2. Work smarter.
    Use the brain in your heart.
    Be real. Others sense what you feel, regardless of what you say.
  3. Stop pushing so hard. Know when to back off.
    Take a break - 20 to 30 minutes.
    Sit up straight - improves breathing and oxygen to the brain, improves creative intelligence.
  4. Recognize uniqueness in yourself and others.
    Develop strengths.
    Identify and work around weaknesses.

3.4 Stephen Covey

The trim tab is a change catalyst. It is the small rudder that moves the big rudder on a ship, that causes it to change direction.

95% believe that people have more creativity or ingenuity than their position allows.

The first part of empowerment is to be willing to allow ourselves to try an idea, to take initiative.

See the Circle of Influence inside the Circle of Concern.

3.5 Ken Blanchard

Ken Blanchard said that the 3 most important goals of any operation should be customers, employees, profit, in that order. Taking care of the first two is a prequisite for doing well in the third. Blanchard came across as a person who genuinely cares about the well-being of other people.

4. Lessons in Leadership, 2000: Tom Peters, Grand Rapids, February 23, 2000

I attended this 1-day seminar with four of my staff on the campus of Western Michigan University. The theme of this presentation was change. (See PowerPoint slides). Peters was his usually hard-hitting self. I am sure that part of his approach is to shake his audience out of being passively accepting of the way things are now, and to help them to see the magnitude of the changes that are coming, and to be prepared for them. The idea of being prepared is also urged in Spencer Johnson's "Who Moved My Cheese?" [3] (the writing on the wall, etc). It is clear that Peters is an advocate of radical change, as he has quoted Nicholas Negroponte on more than one occasion as making the statement, “Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy.”

Peters makes strong arguments for recruiting talent, where talent is defined in very non-traditional terms. He also speaks a lot about the Personal Service Firm approach to work, contrasting it with standard expectations of being an employee. Here are his "7Ps” of PSF 1.0


5. Stephen Covey, 2000: The 4 Roles of a Leader

This seminar was downlinked live to the campus of Andrews University, using the technical resources of ITS (Information Technology Services), the unit I administer at Andrews.

Covey made numerous references to the different roles of incremental changes and paradigm shifts. I discussed these two kinds of change in my Reflective Summary for Competency 2(a) on Planning and Implementing Change. He mentioned five breakthroughs that would never have been achieved through incremental changes.

Before After
1. The earth is flat. 1. The earth is round.
2. The earth is the center of the universe. 2. The earth revolves around the sun.
3. Time and space are separate. 3. They are linked in a continuum.
4. Divine right of kings. 4. US Constitution.
5. Bloodletting. 5. Germ theory.

In connection with the third one, he quoted Albert Einstein as saying, "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were when we created them." [4]

Changes in behavior and attitude may be achieved incrementally, but the only way to achieve breakthrough changes is by paradigm shifts.

Covey depicts the four roles of a leader with a central role surrounded by the other three roles. The central role is modeling and it is placed in the center because of its importance in generating trust. I found it very interesting to see how the four roles of a leader have parallels in the whole person.

Leader Role
Whole Person

On the Covey website (http://www.franklincovey.com/), the 4 Roles of a Leader seminar is described this way:

Participants will become more effective leaders by focusing their energies on the following four roles:

  1. Pathfinding: Creating the Blueprint
    Great leadership begins with clarity of thought and purpose. Stephen R. Covey says that all things are created twice-that the "mental creation precedes the physical creation." You wouldnít build a home without a blueprint. Similarly, itís folly to rush into action without understanding your purpose. The Pathfinding role helps you create a blueprint of action and ensure that your plans have integrity-before you act.
  2. Aligning: Creating a Technically Elegant System of Work
    If pathfinding identifies a path, aligning paves it. Organizations are aligned to get the results they get. Think about that. If you are not getting the results you want, it is due to a misalignment somewhere, and no pushing, pulling, demanding, or insisting will change a misalignment. Therefore, as a leader, you must work to change your systems, processes, and structure to align them with the desired results you identified through pathfinding.

  3. Empowering: Releasing the Talent, Energy, and Contribution of People
    "Empowerment"-itís an overused term but under-utilized in practice. Empowering isnít abandoning people, letting them "figure it out" on their own. Nor is it allowing individuals minute freedoms while controlling other aspects. True empowerment yields high trust, productive communication between individuals and teams, and innovative results where each member of the team feels welcome to bring his or her genius to the table.

  4. Modeling: Building Trust with Others-the Heart of Effective Leadership
    The 4 Roles of Leadership does not just teach you what a leader does, but who a leader is. You learn the essential balance between character and competence-an individual of high abilities will never be a true leader if his or her character is questionable. The processes and tools in The 4 Roles of Leadership enables you to get the results your organization needs while you model principles of effectiveness.


[1] theworkmatters.pdf, a Tom Peters document

[2] Peters, Tom. The Circle of Innovation. page 159
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1998. ISBN: 0-375-40157-1.

[3] Johnson, Spencer. Who Moved My Cheese?
New York. G. P. Putnam & Sons. 1998. ISBN 0-399-14446-3

[4] Einstein, Albert. Quoted in The 4 Roles of a Leader Participant Workbook
Stephen Covey, page 35.

[5] Covey, Stephen. The FranklinCovey website

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Created: Tuesday, January 18, 2000 07:30 PM 
Last Modified: Saturday, June 12, 2004 6:33 PM