Thursday, May 19, 2011

More thoughts from the Interim CAO

It is hard to believe another month has come and gone so quickly since my last update. I have now been here for 13 weeks and I committed to at least a monthly update so here goes.

I am not even sure where to start as it seems there is so many places I could go with comments or thoughts.

Let’s start with Federal politics. Personally speaking, let me simply say I am very pleased our country does not have to endure yet another election at the Federal level for at least the next 4-5 years. It is time we gave our elected officials a chance to run the country and be judged, one way or the other, by their record.

How about Provincial politics? This should be an interesting one from what I have been reading and hearing of late. One set of signs comes down and another new set will soon be evident on our landscape. The signs will no doubt come with promises of reform and better days ahead.

I think it is our human nature and of course our right to have an opinion or, at times, not agree with of those in political positions who lead our country. On a personal note, I have had the opportunity to travel in my career to many countries and many places over the years. I often was given assignments that took me to countries that are considered to be 3rd world. I consider myself very fortunate to have completed work assignments in place like Malaysia, Venezuela, Peru, Columbia, Mexico and Brazil to name just a few. Frankly, after seeing and experiencing life in these places I find it quite difficult to be sympathetic when I hear people complain about life in this country.

Let’s talk about change, again. As you know I have on occasion mentioned my support and encouragement of change. Let me be very clear on this point…I do encourage change and support the concept of change in all areas of both our work life and our personal life. I believe change is critical to our growth and development as individuals and as organizations. We need to be challenged to get out of our comfort zone from time to time. It has been said if you keep doing the same thing you will keep getting the same results. No kidding! I believe we owe it to ourselves, our organization and those who pay our salaries to embrace change and to look at doing things differently when there is a need or an opportunity.

Recently, a number of our employees, including many union leaders as well as Ric McGee and myself attended a leadership session designed to help each of us be better informed and inspired on how to better articulate and demonstrate the power of change through positive leadership. This was a great day and we have received many very positive comments from those who made the effort to attend this program.

The opening speaker was John C. Maxwell. He is an internationally respected leadership expert. He alone was worth the price of admission. John’s message was very straightforward. He believes leadership and the ability to influence others is a must for the person who wants to succeed in life. Your ability to have successful relationships or a successful job and your overall satisfaction with life will have something to do with your ability to influence others and yourself.

To my mind, every one of us is a leader regardless of position, marital status, age, sex, etc. John believes there are five levels of leadership. These are defined as follows:

Level 1. Position - This is the most basic level of leadership. You have a title and that's it. You will only be able to lead based on what that title enables you to lead with. Your authority only goes as far as the title and people will only follow you as far as your title allows. An example of this would be a first level manager in an organization. People that you are managing will do just enough to please you. You are only leading them in name and your leverage is only what authority has been given to you from above.

Level 2. Permission - This is when people begin to follow you because they want to. This is the true beginning of influence. You can begin to really grow as a person and organization when people follow you voluntarily.

Level 3. Production - People begin to produce and follow you because of what they see you doing for the organization. People like what you do and also contribute themselves.

Level 4. People Development - At this point in leadership, you have others follow you because of what you've done for them personally. You've poured into other people and they are growing in leadership themselves.

Level 5. Personhood - This is the pinnacle of leadership and occurs when people follow you based on who you are and what you represent or stand for. John Maxwell says that this level is reserved for people who have spent years growing others and their organization. Very few people make it to this level.

The reality is we are all most likely at different levels of leadership with different people. The challenge for each of us is to work to move up the step grid in these relationships understanding this takes time, effort and commitment.

So, my question to you is……What level would others put you at in terms of your leadership role with them?