The definition of great leadership, backed by ground-breaking research When Execution Isn't Enough examines the essential leadership skills that go beyond simply executing strategies well. It examines the leadership skills that inspire excellence and drive growth. Great leaders think differently, but their secrets, values, and behaviors can't be bottled--or can they? Is leadership so contextual that it defies standardization? In this book, McKinsey's global head of leadership development draws on ground-breaking McKinsey research to uncover 20 distinct leadership traits. All are important, but some make all the difference in inspiring organizations to exceptional results and growth--and a select few create the vast chasm between strong and weak organizations in terms of leadership effectiveness. Structured as a business parable, this book employs a rich cast of corporate characters to illustrate the critical behaviors of inspirational leadership and the outcomes that become possible. Attempting to nail down exactly what makes a leader inspirational is like trying to capture lighting in a bottle, but new McKinsey research has identified the behavioral leadership catalysts that inspire greatness. This book describes the behaviors to inspire that can be learned--to turn a good leader into a great leader. * Understand the neuroscience of inspiration * Tailor your inspirational approach to different leadership scenarios * Initiate an inspiration cascade to influence people at scale The picture of leadership has changed over time. Today's great leaders are authentic, enthusiastic decision-makers with engaging visions, who are quick to communicate and take action. Less than half of all CEOs believe that their training investments will pay off, yet everyone agrees that leadership drives performance--where is the disconnect? It's in the belief that simple leadership behaviors equal results, forgetting that exceptional results only come from inspiration. When Execution Isn't Enough shows you how to attain the missing link of great leadership to bring exceptional results of your organization.
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Further Praise for When Execution Isn't Enough . . .
It takes execution to turn a good strategy into strong performance, and execution only happens when you have great people and a strong culture. In his book When Execution Isn't Enough, Claudio Feser describes in a masterful way what it takes to have a team of people and a culture that will drive execution with passion and purpose. A lot has been written on the topic of execution, however Claudio Feser uniquely describes what it takes to win hearts and minds to make it truly happen!
Steven Baert, Head of Human Resources, Novartis AG
When Execution Isn't Enough has helped me to see and understand some key fundamental issues of leadership in real practice and the most efficient and rational ways to address them, based on science and empirical data. The book is a must-have tool kit for anyone who leads others against internal/external challenges for common benefit.
Tserenpuntsag Boldbaatar, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Newcom
Claudio Feser combines brilliantly the art and science of what it takes to inspire and influence people and create positive energy in organizations. This book features great real-life examples and a new influence framework for leaders of 21st century organizations who want to make a difference. All leaders should read this book!
Nick van Dam, PhD, Global Chief Learning Officer, McKinsey & Company; co-author, You! The Positive Force in Change
Every leader will recognize himself somewhere in this book. Claudio Feser uses real-life situations and characters to illustrate the process by which leaders can win the hearts and minds of people, and by which they can elevate the performance of their organizations in times of change and transformation. When Execution Isn't Enough is an inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable read.
Rolf Dörig, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Adecco and Swiss Life
This book is unputdownable. A page turner that will make those reading it become more emotionally intelligent and better leaders. Claudio Feser has integrated many breakthrough concepts and research and brought them together in a powerful guide to inspiring people and organizations to greatness. A brilliant book!
Patrick Frost, Group CEO, Swiss Life
Like with his last book Serial Innovators, Claudio Feser has managed again to write a book that is academically through, utterly practical, entertaining, and inspiring. With his new book When Execution Isn't Enough, Claudio draws on a wide range of research to illustrate how to inspire individuals and entire organizations to great performance. Like with his last book, Claudio does so telling a story. It is a story of a company transformation. It is a story of inspiring leadership.
Thomas Gutzwiller, Academic Director at the Henri B. Meier Unternehmerschule, St. Gallen
When Execution Isn't Enough is a great blend of very practical advice and sound conceptual thinking. A truly enjoyable must-read for any executive who is serious about to inspire organizations to great performance.
Axel Lehmann, Group Chief Operating Officer, UBS AG
In this growingly complex world, inspirational leadership represents the only sustainable competitive advantage for business organizations. This book represents a step change in how to look at inspirational leadership, focusing on the neurological and scientific mechanism underpinning it, identifying an effective and pragmatic way forward for leaders. Very powerful for addressing the many dark sides of transformational challenges of most organization. Do not miss it!
Monica Possa, Group HR & Organization Director, Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A.
When Execution Isn't Enough builds on a wide range of research and practical insights to show how to inspire and lead organizations through periods of great challenge and change. An essential guide for anyone leading organizations in today's fast-paced markets.
Kristof Terryn, CEO General Insurance, Zurich Insurance Group
In this thoroughly researched and very practical guide Claudio Feser takes a closer look on what likely constitutes the secret to real and enduring success in most organizations: The executive's competence to motivate others by inspirational leadership.
Bernd Uhe, Head of Human Resources, Banque Pictet & Cie SA
Inspirational leadership is a necessary feature of any energized, and effective organization. In today's fast-changing world, it is arguably the key ingredient that enables businesses to adapt and thrive and to achieve high levels of performance over long periods of time. When Execution Is Not Enough discusses the process of inspirational leadership and how these principles can be applied in practice when leading individuals, teams, or even the largest organizations. It is a must-read for anyone responsible for leading an enterprise in today's challenging environment.
Peter Voser, Chairman of the Board, ABB Ltd.
This work draws on a wide set of disciplines—new and old—to shed light on the behavior of leaders in organizations. When Execution Isn't Enough is about the key ingredient to building exceptional and enduring organizations: inspiration. A great read for anyone leading organizations through periods of change.
Graham Ward, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Leadership, Leadership Development Practice Director, INSEAD Global Leadership Centre
When Execution Isn't Enough is a rich source of insights for leaders who are leading their organizations through major corporate transformations. It helps leaders become more effective in engaging, energizing, and motivating the people they lead to great performance.
Andre Wyss, President Novartis Operations, Country President for Switzerland, Novartis AG
MANFRED KETS DE VRIES
Cover image: © wildpixel/iStockphoto Cover design: Wiley
Copyright © 2016 by McKinsey & Company. All rights reserved.
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. Published simultaneously in Canada.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:
ISBN 978-1-119-30265-0 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-119-30271-1 (ePDF)
ISBN 978-1-119-30266-7 (ePub)
To Evelyne, Dario, and Alessio
Part One: Inspiring and Influencing
Chapter 1: Influ—The Prologue
Chapter 2: Inspirational Leadership Matters
Chapter 3: The Science of Influence
The Hard Tactics
The Soft Tactics
The Frequency of Use of Individual Influencing Approaches
What Tactics Work When
Chapter 4: The Neuroscience of Inspirational Leadership
The Concept of Neuroplasticity
Learning and Change
Chapter 5: Influ—The Consultations
Part Two: Inspiring Others
Chapter 6: Influ—“I hate school”
Chapter 7: How to Inspire
Understanding Inner Motivators— Emphatic Exploration
Getting Others to Commit to Action—Working on the Inner Motivators
Empowering Others to Act
Chapter 8: Influ—Finding Empathy
Part Three: Targeting Inspirational Appeals
Chapter 9: Influ—“They want you out”
Chapter 10: What Are People Like?
Your Mind-Set: Understanding the Inner Operating Model
Overall Considerations on the WAPL Model
Chapter 11: Tailoring Influencing Approaches
Combinations and Salience
Chapter 12: Influ—Winning Carl Back
Part Four: Inspiring at Scale
Chapter 13: Influ—“We have an offer”
Chapter 14: Inspiring at Scale: The Influence Model
Understanding Inner Motivators of Organizations—Values and Emotional States of Organizations
Getting Organizations to Change— The Influence Model
Chapter 15: Influ—The Epilogue
Appendix I: Leadership Behaviors
Appendix II: Organizational Health Index
Appendix III: Personality Markers
Appendix IV: Emotional Disposition Markers
About the Author
The Leadership Staircase
The Nine Influence Tactics
Frequency of Influence Tactics
Outcome of Influencing Tactics
Inspirational Leaders Have More Committed, Satisfied, and Productive Followers
The Human Brain
Behaviors, Values, and Emotions, and Factors Driving Them
Outcomes of Combinations of Influencing Tactics
The Influence Model
Table of Contents
It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
Let me open this foreword by saying that I really enjoyed reading this book. As is often the case, good books help you understand and make you feel understood. Whenever we read a good book, it opens many doors; it stimulates our imagination. In a very clear, understandable way—using a well-written and very realistic case study as red thread—Claudio Feser helps executives understand that there is more to organizations than merely strategy, structure, and systems. Masterfully, he brings the person back into the organization. And given the impact of a firm like McKinsey in creating better places to work, it is such a pleasure to see these important themes about leadership developed by one of its senior partners, in particular the head of its leadership development practice.
At its heart, leadership is about human behavior—what we do, and why we do it. More specifically, leadership is about the way people behave in organizations, and effective leaders are those who understand human behavior. Effective leaders are those who can calm the anxieties of their followers, arouse their hopes, increase their aspirations, energize them, and inspire them to positive action. We should always keep in mind that rational thoughts never drive people the way emotions do.
However, most definitions of leadership, methodologies for studying leadership, and recommendations for leadership development address observable and conscious behaviors. They are restricted to a mechanical view of life in the workplace, and they subscribe to the myth that the only thing that matters is what we see and what is directly measurable. Behind this myth hovers the irrepressible ghost of Frederick Taylor, the premier advocate of scientific management. Many researchers and executives hang on to the mistaken belief that behavior in organizations concerns only observable, rational, conscious, mechanistic, easy-to-understand phenomena. The more elusive psychological processes that take place “below the surface” are often ignored.
Human beings in organizations are not just conscious value- and benefit-maximizing machines, but also people subject to many (often contradictory) wishes, fantasies, conflicts, defensive behaviors, and anxieties—some conscious, others beyond consciousness. Our everyday lives consist of webs of constantly shifting and irrational forces that underlie seemingly “rational” behaviors and choices—and life in organizations is no exception.
Unfortunately, the view that concepts taken from such fields as psychoanalysis or psychotherapy might have a place in the world of work is not a popular one. Historically, many practitioners and researchers have avoided treading in the psychological realm of corporate life, fearing the messy but real-life complexities and the relationships within. The result is that many organizations and people working in them perform well below their potential. They are punching well below their weight.
I have repeatedly put forward the view that to build great organizations—organizations in which people realize their full potential—requires leaders to go behind the observable and measurable behaviors. It requires them to understand the dynamics of human behavior. It requires leaders to understand what goes on “below the surface”—the underlying currents and forces of human psychology such as emotions, values, and personalities. In surveying 165 organizations and 370,000 employees, McKinsey & Company has confirmed this view. The research summarized in this book shows that emotionally intelligent and psychologically sensitive leaders are necessary to build organizations with great health—organizations that outperform competitors, organizations that attract great talent, organizations that engage and energize their employees, and organizations that generate exceptional shareholder returns.
The psychodynamic approach to human behavior in organizations helps leaders understand and harness what is happening “below the surface”—the dynamics that are not immediately observable and measurable. This approach acknowledges that people are unique, complex, and paradoxical beings with rich and myriad motivational drivers. The Clinical Paradigm is the framework through which I (and many others) have applied the psychodynamic lens to the study of human behavior in organizations. It makes sense of people’s deeper patterns of thoughts and emotions, and it shows how these cognitive and emotional patterns drive observable behaviors in organizations (and beyond).
The Clinical Paradigm is based on four premises.
First, it argues that there is a rationale behind every human act—even those that are apparently irrational. Because that rationale is often elusive—inextricably interwoven with unconscious needs and desires—one has to do “detective work” to tease out hints and clues regarding perplexing behavior. More importantly, finding meaning in seemingly irrational behavior requires emotional intelligence.
Second, it argues that a great deal of mental life—thoughts, feelings, and motives—lies outside of conscious awareness. People are not always aware of what they are doing, much less why they are doing it. Even the most “rational” people have blind spots, and even the “best” people have a shadow side—a side that they do not know, or do not want to know. Moreover, people work to increase their blind spots: they develop defensive structures over time that make them blind not only to their motivation for a certain dysfunctional behavior but also to the behavior itself, even though that behavior may be obvious to everyone else. Accepting the presence of unconscious processes, however, can be liberating, because it helps us understand why we do the things we do and how we might change for the better.
Third, it argues that nothing is more central to a person’s identity than the way he or she expresses and regulates emotions. Emotions color experiences with positive and negative connotations, creating preferences. Emotions form the basis for internalizing mental representations of the self and others that guide relationships throughout one’s life. Furthermore, emotions serve people in many adaptive and defensive ways, depending on the personal “script” in their inner theater. Experiencing our emotions and those of others enables us to come into greater contact with others (and with ourselves), to find out what they feel (as opposed to what they think), what they like and dislike, and what they want and do not want.
Fourth, it argues that human development is an inter- and intrapersonal process. We are all products of our past, influenced until the day we die by the developmental experiences bestowed on us by our early caregivers. Childhood experiences play a crucial role in personality development, particularly in the way people relate to others. The psychological imprints of primary caregivers—particularly our parents—are so strong that they cause a confusion in time and place, making us act toward others in the present as if they were significant people from the past. Though we are generally unaware of experiencing “transference” reactions—the term given by psychologists to this confusion in time and place—this mismatch between the reality of our present situation and our subconscious scenario may lead to what many may experience as irrational behavior.
This book by Claudio Feser is a practical introduction to many of the concepts that form the fundament of the Clinical Paradigm—an understanding of patterns of thought and emotion, underlying assumptions, values, emotions, personalities. It aims at making leaders more emotionally intelligent and psychologically sensitive. It provides them with easy-to-apply frameworks and tools that can help them to better understand themselves and others, and to harness the power of human behavior in organizations.
However, acquiring higher emotional intelligence—that is, gaining a better understanding of the psychodynamics of human behavior—is never instantaneous. Becoming more psychologically minded and emotionally astute requires time and practice. Reading this book is a very good start, hopefully the beginning of a rewarding journey.
I have devoted my working life to helping people create emotionally intelligent organizations. In making this wish reality I have a dream. It goes as follows: if—as a management professor, consultant, leadership coach, psychotherapist, or psychoanalyst—I can increase the EQ level of the approximately 20 people who are at the helm of an organization at any one time, perhaps I can have a positive effect on the 100,000 or more people for whom they are responsible. I would like to think that I can help make their organizations more effective, and not to forget, more humane. Too many organizations possess “gulag” qualities that prevent people from actualizing their full potential.
This book is a contribution to helping realize this dream. It is a contribution to making organizations healthier, to building organizations where people are authentic and feel truly alive, and to developing leaders who are more reflective and emotionally intelligent.
Exploring the role of psychology and emotion in organizations is not new. Many poets, novelists, and playwrights have done it before. They were the early psychologists. Among the best was Shakespeare with his plays Macbeth, Richard III, and King Lear. On the heath, King Lear asks Gloucester: “How do you see the world?” Gloucester, who is blind, answers: “I see it feelingly.”
My hope is that the men and women who run the world’s organizations will do the same.
Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD, France, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi Fontainebleau, August 2016
“The ability to inspire others is grounded in a set of conscious, intentional, and learnable behaviors.”
Some leaders inspire.
Think of Nelson Mandela. He has inspired and mobilized masses, changing South Africa and history. He endured hardship and served as a role model for values such as equality, respect, forgiveness, and justice. Similarly, some leaders transform and build great organizations by role modeling and appealing to people’s values, such as when a leader stirs people’s sense of pride and their united strength as they undertake an ambitious corporate transformation together.
Think of Steve Jobs. His enthusiasm, energy, and drive were contagious. He “infected” people with his energy and vision, creating excitement and purpose. He built Apple, one of the world’s most admired organizations. With Apple’s many innovations, Steve Jobs changed the world. Similarly, some leaders are able to create excitement and enthusiasm, thus galvanizing change. They are able to address the emotions of the members of their organizations, and get them to act and to build great organizations. This happens when a company leader galvanizes an organization to change and improve by painting a thrilling and exciting picture of the future, or when a political leader addresses a nation’s anger and frustrations and promises a better future in order to win an election and change a nation for the better.
Inspirational leadership addresses people’s inner motivators, values, and emotions. It is a key ingredient in building great organizations, and it is the most effective leadership approach when organizations need to massively change and improve. Being inspired creates the energy, the enthusiasm, the commitment, and the persistence people need to transform themselves and their organizations.
However, while executives often talk about and idealize inspirational leadership, actually putting it into action as an approach is rare. Reviews of the usage frequency of all approaches to leading people show that leaders use inspirational leadership methods on only 2 percent of all occasions. Given today’s dynamic environment—with ever-changing customer demands, new regulations, and continuous technological innovation—and the high rate at which companies fail to adapt, change, and survive, it is striking that leaders use inspiration so rarely. Why is that?
The short answer: because it is hard. Inspiring people and organizations takes competence, and, for some leaders, confidence.
However, competence and confidence can be built. While some leaders may be better at inspiring than others, the ability to inspire and motivate others isn’t an innate trait. The ability to inspire others is grounded in a set of conscious, intentional, and learnable behaviors. It can be built with deliberate practice.1 You can become a better inspirational leader.
The objective of this short book is to increase your competence and confidence in inspiring others. It is designed to build your ability to inspire and mobilize others—individual people, teams, or entire organizations.
Learning the four essential concepts in this book will give you a “toolbox” for applying inspirational leadership:
What inspirational leadership is—
Inspirational leadership is a process of social influence in which you enlist the support of individuals, teams, and organizations to achieve a common goal.
Looking at various influencing strategies, you will learn what inspired leadership is, how to use it, and when it works. As neuroscience shows, inspirational leadership builds on the processes our brain uses to learn and change.
How to inspire others—
You will learn how to identify people’s emotions and values, and how to address these values and emotions to inspire them to act.
When to use inspirational leadership—
Inspirational approaches don’t work with everyone. Learn which people will respond and what strategies to use to get other people—those who are less susceptible to inspirational appeals—to commit to action and change. You’ll learn when inspirational leadership is—and is not—the best strategy.
How to implement inspirational leadership at scale—
You can wield inspirational approaches to influence large groups of people and entire organizations—the key is knowing when and how to apply this toolbox for maximum effectiveness.
Before we start, let me make three comments.
First, some people react negatively to the concept of influencing others through inspiration or any other approach. They sometimes perceive such approaches as acts of manipulation. Instead, think of inspiring and other social influencing techniques as instruments—neither good nor bad. A leader can use them to misinform and manipulate others or to get them to do something that may be in the leader’s interest but not in the interest of those being led. A leader can, however, also use inspiration or other influencing techniques with integrity, creating action and momentum toward a common goal.
Second, in Chapter 10 we discuss a model called What Are People Like? (WAPL), a simple framework for “profiling” others and understanding their cognitive and emotional setup. This instrument lays out a few questions that can help you diagnose what’s going on with someone else. The WAPL model is helpful in understanding the behavioral inclinations of specific individuals, and the forms of influencing that might do the best job of reaching them. However, this book does not pretend to present a comprehensive view of human behavior. Human beings are incredibly complex, and every individual is unique. The genetic makeup and life experiences that have shaped a person are unique to that person. It is, therefore, impossible to “read” an individual’s motivations, behaviors, or beliefs accurately. However, it is possible in a short time frame to develop an educated and informed hypothesis about someone else’s behavioral patterns or tendencies, and that’s the purpose of the model we discuss.
Third, to make the concept of inspirational leadership real and practical, the book illustrates it through the story of a leader of an international health-care corporation called Influ. I would like to emphasize that the story is pure fiction. Any resemblance to any existing persons, firms, or events is purely coincidental.
Now, let’s meet the main character in our story, James Robinson, the CEO of London-based Influ, a major, international health-care corporation.
As you are, he is about to take a journey.
. The concept of deliberate practice is powerfully described by Geoff Colvin in
Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else
(New York: Penguin Books, 2010).
. M. M. Chemers, “Leadership Research and Theory: A Functional Integration,”
Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice
4, no. 1 (2000): 27–43.
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