G. J. Hart is the CEO of California Pizza Kitchen. In an interview reported in New York Times he discusses each of his steps – fabulous steps that we can all use to lead with courage and effectiveness.
- He starts by saying we should all be the best we can be. But what does that really mean? “You have to be honest with yourself.” This I definitely believe. We have to start personal assessment which means seeking feedback from others. My mother-in-law has a great expression. “I talked it over with myself and decided I was right.” If we only listen to ourselves, we’ll miss a lot. Take a management and leadership assessment. Email Karen@theosbornegroup.com and I’ll send you one. Then ask trusted others to fill it out for you as well. Find a way to get a 360 degree review from above, peers, and those who report to you. Then choose those areas you want to improve and set achievable timed goals.
- Dream big. Love this one. As leaders, we need big ideas. We need to be ambitious for our missions, for our departments, for our teams. Our job is to inspire action, loyalty, and advocacy.
- Lead with your heart. Don Gray, major gift guru, identifies courage and consideration as top qualities for major gift officers. In a study reported in The Harvard Business Review, empathy and professional will were cited as the top two competencies of outstanding salespeople. Jim Collins in “Good to Great” found humility and professional will as the top qualities needed in leaders. Empathy, humility, and consideration. Heart.
- Trust the people you lead. Stephen M. R. Covey in “The Speed of Trust” points out how important it is to extend trust to others if you want to be trusted. Leading by allowing others to try their own ideas, let them “fail forward,” as David Bornstein describes it. This all sounds right to me.
- Do the right thing. Sure. We all think we do, but how do we know what is right? Hart’s example is about giving people a second chance. Yes. But I also think, in our business, it’s about the grey areas we find ourselves in, or members of our team stumble into. Conflicts connected to good donors, or powerful trustees, or presidents who make missteps. One of the smartest things I did as a new VP was to form a small group of trusted other VPs. We used each other as a sounding board, sought advice, shared. Doing the right thing was a lot easier when I had smart people to weigh the issues with.
- Serve the people you lead. This one is really important for us. We are donor-focused, outward looking. But as leaders, must also serve our teams. They need us to fight for them, secure the resources needed to be successful, invest and believe in them. As Mr. Hart says, “Create an environment where people can grow and prosper.”
by Karen Osborne