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by Judith E. Glaser
Platinum Press © 2006, 312 pages, $24.95 (ISBN 1-59337-518-2).
Leveraging Your Instincts To Communicate, Differentiate and Innovate
Every top-level executive must work hard every day to create growth, value and profitability in the face of change. To help these leaders capitalize on change by creating organizations where employees and managers can strive for greatness and thrive, executive coach and consultant Judith E. Glaser presents seven leadership practices for building a company culture where people work together more effectively. Using the DNA metaphor to describe a process that guides and determines a company’s destiny, Glaser profiles seven major firms to demonstrate the importance of the seven practices and show how they can improve results by spreading power horizontally.
Creating environments that enable the individuals in an organization to tap into their greatness begins with having vital conversations rather than fearful conversations, Glaser explains. She writes that “when we communicate with a powerful awareness of how our conversations trigger instincts, we collectively harness the power of our organizational DNA.” By helping leaders understand what kinds of psychological environments — such as conversations and relationships — can trigger instincts, she shows them how to tap into the leadership DNA that can overcome daunting organizational challenges.
The key to empowering each person’s leadership DNA, Glaser writes, is found in conversations. She explains that The DNA of Leadership is about “discovering how to create conversational environments that enable the growth and expression of each person’s unique DNA.”
Extending the DNA metaphor to describe organizational communication methods, Glaser writes that organizational DNA is built on two strands that form a double helix: One strand contains seven leadership conversational practices, and the other strand represents seven corresponding organizational practices that are part of the corporate culture. Glaser shows leaders how they can create a better corporate culture through higher-quality leadership conversations and organizational practices. These foundational roots are reflected in the ways leaders treat individuals, how they foster teamwork, how they inspire others, how they communicate, how they bring out creativity and how they maintain morale.
The DNA of Leadership offers detailed descriptions of the seven dimensions of 21st-century leadership that comprise the first strand of leadership DNA. These “genes” are built around the acronym “CHANGES,” and each one has a corresponding culture that reflects the power of the gene. These are:
• Community. Foster open communication where people feel included, involved in the strategy, engaged in the business and accountable for results.
• Humanizing. Create an atmosphere that values uniqueness and diversity, and respects the talents of each individual.
• Aspiring. Marshal the wonder of individual imagination.
• Navigating. Ask others within teams for guidance in making headway toward common goals.
• Generating. Nurture innovation that leads to inspired breakthroughs.
• Expressing. Encourage all to speak up, take risks and develop themselves to develop the organization.
• Spirit. Create an atmosphere of ongoing homage, accomplishment and evolution so that everyone pulls together to move toward the future.
Glaser writes that spreading greatness throughout an organization is a necessary ingredient for organizational success in the new millennium. She explains that although we each listen from an “I-centric” point of view, we must learn to communicate from a “WE-centric” perspective that includes the impact on all of us.
An I-centric, protective culture is based on judging, limiting, withholding, persuading, controlling and compliance. Glaser writes that by creating a WE-centric, partnering culture that revolves around appreciating, expanding, sharing, wondering, encouraging and committing, leaders can improve their organizations. By helping leaders move from silo thinking to network thinking, Glaser shows them how to establish a corporate climate that creates the innovations that move a company forward. ~
Why We Like This Book
Throughout The DNA of Leadership, Judith E. Glaser not only offers a refreshing perspective on leadership that can help organizations tackle the challenges of the modern workplace, but she also offers the case studies from successful businesses that demonstrate what each of her lessons looks like when it is effectively applied. By attaching real-world examples to the principles she presents, Glaser helps both the individual and the organization evolve toward a brighter future. ~