The Leadership Engine

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Why do some companies consistently win in the marketplace while others struggle from crisis to crisis? The answer, says Noel Tichy, is that winning companies possess a "Leadership Engine" - a proven system for creating dynamic leaders at every level. Technologies, products and economies constantly change. To get ahead and stay ahead, companies need agile, flexible, innovative leaders who can anticipate change and turn on a dime to respond to new realities. Fortunately, says Tichy, just as everyone has untapped ...
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Why do some companies consistently win in the marketplace while others struggle from crisis to crisis? The answer, says Noel Tichy, is that winning companies possess a "Leadership Engine" - a proven system for creating dynamic leaders at every level. Technologies, products and economies constantly change. To get ahead and stay ahead, companies need agile, flexible, innovative leaders who can anticipate change and turn on a dime to respond to new realities. Fortunately, says Tichy, just as everyone has untapped athletic potential, everyone has untapped leadership potential that can be developed. Winning leaders and winning organizations have figured out how to do it. Winning companies are successful because they can adapt and capitalize on their unique circumstances - so no two are alike. Yet, their Leadership Engines make them champions by developing - at all levels - leaders who have clear, teachable points of view that they use to foster the abilities of others in four critical areas: developing good business ideas, instilling values that support the successful implementation of those ideas, generating positive energy in themselves and others, and making tough decisions. In this single volume, Noel Tichy not only offers a major contribution to the understanding of how successful leadership works, but provides concrete, proven methods for leaders developing leaders in any company or organization. As an added bonus the "Handbook for Leaders Developing Leaders," located at the end of the book, provides hands-on development activities that you can use to improve your own leadership abilities and develop other leaders in your organization.
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Editorial Reviews

coach of the Chicago Bulls) Phil Jackson
Noel Tichy has been a point guard on the management of organizations. ... The Leadership Engine focuses on how leaders of organizations use their whole being in creative managing. The book is an inspiration to teachers, business leaders, and coaches. This is Noel Tichy's summa. His text models the leaders he profiles: brilliant, clear on values, and gutsy as hell. The research base is awesome. The stories are great. The message is spot-on. The path to action is clear.
Publishers Weekly
"There is a multibillion-dollar consulting industry in the world today," Tichy notes (in this reprint of his 1997 BusinessWeek Book of the Year, written with freelancer Cohen) "that thrives largely on the fact that most managers don't want to lead." It's an insight Tichy (Control Your Destiny Or Someone Else Will), a professor at the Univ. of Michigan School of Business, has observed firsthand when trying to determine why some companies succeed and others fail or just limp along. His conclusion: the winners have "good leaders who nurture the development of other leaders at all levels of the organization." These leaders urge their workers to see reality and mobilize the appropriate responses. Repeatedly, the authors single out the heads of successful companies such as General Electric and Allied Signal to discuss how much time their chief executives spend "formally and informally" on teaching. They conclude that those firms' success is a direct result of everyone's pulling in the same direction. The book's argument ignores small entrepreneurial companies where a product innovation, speed to market or customer service can make all the difference. But in discussing large companies, the book is on the money. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Shows how to access untapped leadership potential to create dynamic leaders at every level of an organization, offering concrete methods for developing good business idea, instilling values that support success, generating positive energy, and making tough decisions. A handbook section provides hands-on development activities for improving leadership abilities. Includes real-life examples of successful leaders. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887307935
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Noel M. Tichy is a professor at the University of Michigan Business School, where he specializes in leadership and organizational transformation. As a senior partner in Action Learning Associates, Professor Tichy has consulted with clients around the world. Among his previous books is Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will (coauthored with Stratford Sherman).
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Read an Excerpt

The Leader-Driven Organization

Winning Is About Leadership
  • Winning organizations have leaders at all levels
  • Producing those leaders is what separates the winners from the losers
Leaders Have Ideas, Values, Energy and Edge
  • Ideas and values guide their decisions
  • Energy and edge get them implemented
Without Leaders, Organizations Stagnate
  • They can't keep pace with changing markets
  • They don't add shareholder value
In August 1991, Bill Weiss, the CEO of Ameritech, walked into my office with a problem. The company he headed was an old-style Baby Bell telephone company that suddenly found itself having to compete in a new, fast-moving telecommunications industry. In order to survive, it needed to expand its product mix, change its bureaucratic operating style and establish a new working culture based on intense competition rather than stifling regulation. After listening to Weiss describe the situation at Ameritech, my colleague Patricia Stacey and I came to a clear conclusion. "Bill," I told him, "you are 62 years old and retiring at 65. I don't think we should be talking about your leading any kind of transformation. Your agenda is to find a successor, make sure he or she is in place and get out of the way. You'll have to turn it over to that person to do the transformation."

Weiss was polite but firm. "I can't do that," he replied. "We'll lose two or three more years while that person is getting his or her act together. That would be catastrophic, because within five years, we've got to either transform this company or find our markets rapidly shrinking. Until now, our leaders have been unwilling tocontemplate anything but gradual change. We've got to find a way to radically reform and reorient our company. We'll have to deal with succession in that context."

Within six months of this meeting, two of the key potential CEO successors had left Ameritech, and four new potential successors from within the organization were leading a massive cultural change effort called Breakthrough Leadership. The company had also created a temporary organization to run parallel with the operating company. This temporary organization was designed to simultaneously screen and develop leaders for Ameritech's future, as well as to develop the vision, values and strategy for the new Ameritech. It involved hundreds of leaders and task forces, and intensive development activities throughout 1992. In 1993, this was expanded to thousands of Ameritech managers.

By May 1994, when Weiss retired, the company had been totally reorganized into new business units, and a new CEO was in place: 47-year-old Dick Notebaert. It had thousands of reenergized and motivated employees. And it was primed to take off in the new telecommunications world. From 1993 through 1996, Ameritech outperformed its peers, providing a 19.0% annual return to investors versus 13.9% for the Standard & Poor's Telephone Index. For 1996, Ameritech posted net income of $2.13 billion, on revenue of $14.9 billion.

Bill Weiss is gone from Ameritech now. When he retired, he even left the board so that Notebaert would have the freedom to run the business on his own. But Weiss gave Ameritech a lasting legacy: In a very short time, he had positioned the company to be a winner by developing a team of leaders who would continue to invest in developing other leaders. In his last three years, he gave a bravura performance of leadership, and he left the company not only in the hands of a strong successor, but also with a keen appreciation for and a culture of leadership.

Weiss himself readily acknowledges that he wasn't always a great leader. He became chairman in 1984, but for the first seven years of his tenure, he just tinkered, "because our performance was solid and life was comfortable." But finally he saw that big things had to change if Ameritech was going to survive, and someone had to make those changes happen. "I have to admit my first efforts were at gradual change, incremental change," he says. "I had to start thinking in terms of radical change; revolution, if you will. I should have done it sooner."

Bill Weiss may have been a slow starter, but Ameritech is on a winning trajectory today because he came to understand a secret about winning organizations and winning people: Winning is about leadership. Winning individuals are leaders, people with ideas and values, and the energy and guts to do what needs to be done. And organizations are winners because they have good leaders, not just at the top, but at all levels. Winning companies value leaders, they have cultures that expect and reward leadership, and they actively put time and resources into developing them. Winning companies win because they have lots of leaders, and they have lots of leaders because they deliberately and systematically produce them. This is what separates the winners from the losers.

Most people in business will tell you that developing leaders is an important activity, and that organizations must carry it out in a thoughtful and systematic manner. The reality, however, is that while there is much talk and much surface activity, very few organizations do a good job of it. They talk a good game, but when the chips are down, they don't follow through very well.

Some companies don't do a good job developing leaders because they don't try very hard. Some have good intentions, but they just don't commit the time and resources necessary to do it. Others, such as General Motors, Digital Equipment and Westinghouse, like to talk about leadership but actively discourage it by punishing people who dare to think independently. And still others, such as AT&T, have committed huge amounts of time and resources to elaborate well-enforced human resources development processes, but they have been largely taught by consultants and academicians who aren't leaders themselves. So what they have tended to produce are very articulate managers who are masters of the latest "business-speak" and the fads and fashions of management gurus. But they end up acting like civil servants and bureaucrats, not leaders....

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ..... ix
Preface ..... xi
Introduction ..... 1
1: The Leader-Driven Organization ..... 9
2: Why Are Leaders Important? ..... 23
3: Leadership and the Teachable Point of View ..... 41
4: Past as Prologue--Learning from Experience ..... 58
5: The Heart of Leadership--It Starts with Ideas ..... 79
6: Values--Speaking with Words and Action ..... 104
7: Making It Happen--Getting Energy Out of Everyone ..... 128
8: Edge--The Courage to See Reality and Act on It ..... 151
9: Tying It All Together--Writing Your Leadership Story ..... 172
10: Conclusion--Leading into the Future ..... 189
Handbook for Leaders Developing Leaders--The Leadership ..... 197
Engine: A Teachable Point of View Notes ..... 301
Sources ..... 340
Index ..... 361
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Reading Group Guide

"Too few managers and executives understand the importance of mentoring. In elevating this role to the top of a leader's priorities, the authors offer managers a way of becoming even more influential." --John A. Byrne, BusinessWeek
Why do some companies consistently win in the marketplace while others struggle from crisis to crisis? Drawing on decades of research, practical experience, and colorful examples from leading CEOs, Noel Tichy shows that the answer to this question is the "Leadership Engine" -- a proven system for creating dynamic leaders at every level and an integral factor in a company's sustained success.

Questions for Discussion

  • From the real-life examples of the CEOs profiled in the book, did you find one person's leadership style to be more effective than the others? Which of the examples or stories made the greatest impression on you?
  • Throughout the book, Tichy uses Jack Welch of General Electric as an example of successful leadership and mentoring. What is it about Welch that made him such a successful CEO? Do you believe that Welch's integration of a "Leadership Engine" contributed to GE's success? What is your assessment of GE's future now that Welch has retired as CEO?
  • In one instance Tichy states, "Some companies don't do a good job developing leaders because they don't try very hard." What differences does Tichy cite between companies that display effective leadership and those that do not? Is leadership really more important than other factors, even those that would seem to have a more immediate impact on a company's bottom line?
  • Tichy maintains that in order togenerate sustainable organizational performance, one must have winning leaders to successfully teach others in the organization to be leaders as well. How does he support this theory? Do you agree or disagree with his assessment of what constitutes an effective leader? What did you learn from this book?
  • As Tichy has participants do in his leadership training workshops, share a story of leadership success you have enjoyed. Reflect on what made the leadership successful, and then generate a list of characteristics of effective leadership built on this "personal benchmarking trip." About the Authors: Noel M. Tichy is a professor at the University of Michigan Business School where he directs the Global Leadership Program. He is the coauthor (with Stratford Sherman) of Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will. A Consultant to General Electric since 1982, he ran GE's renowned Crotonville executive development center for two years. As a senior partner in Action Learning Associates, Tichy has consulted with clients around the world, including Accenture, HP, Intel, Royal Dutch/Shell, and Trilogy. Eli Cohen is an Investor with Ziff Brothers Investments.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2002

    They Can, They Do, They Teach

    Noel Tichy¿s ¿The Leadership Engine¿ is a practical and easy to read book on leadership. His research is exhaustive and well documented; there are sixty pages of notes and bibliographic citations. Tichy¿s central theme is that winning companies possess a ¿Leadership Engine¿ that produces dynamic leaders at every level within the organization. He argues forcefully that winning is about leadership and that leadership is the key trait that distinguishes winners from losers. He defines winning as success in adding value, coupled with sustained excellence. For a company or organization to be successful it must have outstanding leaders at every level. In order to have those dynamic leaders at every level, the organization itself must systematically produce them. Tichy insists that learning, teaching, and leading are intertwined and admits he is a proponent of transformational leadership theory. Elements of this theory are clearly evident throughout his book. Tichy is also resolute in his belief that leading IS teaching¿¿they can, they do, they teach¿¿this point is driven home numerous times throughout his book(1). Winning organizations are teaching organizations. Successful organizations have proven leaders who are both teachers and avid learners themselves. The author emphasizes on numerous occasions that leaders must have a teachable point of view and must create teachable moments for the right kind of learning to occur¿the kind that transforms an organization. A leader¿s ¿teachable point of view¿ is a trinitarian view composed of: a) ideas, b) values, and c) emotional energy and edge(2). Ideas are the substance of learning and good ideas are teachable. Tichy uses numerous real life examples from the business world and even the military to highlight his points throughout the book. His liberal use of relevant and true stories to emphasize the point he is making, is in itself, a subtle illustration of a key leadership trait¿being a good story teller. Tichy insists that successful leaders are successful teachers because they use stories and share examples from their own personal life. The author¿s frequent use of stories makes the book interesting, even captivating at times and minimizes the possibility of the reader getting bored. The Leadership Engine is an outstanding, well organized, and very readable book; and not just a book, but a useful handbook as well. Tichy includes a 99-page workbook with practical exercises designed to both help the reader assess his or her own leadership and to help the reader develop a ¿Leadership Engine¿ in his or her own organization. The workbook is what sets this leadership book apart from the thousands of others in this crowded category. Noel Tichy has accomplished what he set out to do¿convince us that winning organizations are teaching organizations. However, for the student of leadership, there is no new ground or profound insights in this book and consequently, I am not convinced that it deserved its Business Week ¿Book of the Year¿ honor. NOTES (1)Taken from the oft repeated jest by George Bernard Shaw that, ¿Those who can, do¿those who can¿t, teach.¿ This quote does not appear in Tichy¿s book. (2)Tichy defines ¿edge¿ as the courage to see reality and act on it.

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