Is your organization run by a real leader?
- Are you treated with dignity and respect every day without regard to who you are or your position in the company?
- Are you given the things you need – education, tools, money – so that you can make a contribution to the organization that provides meaning to your life?
- Are you recognized for what you do?
It’s the little extras in the definition above that caught my ear as he spoke this past Tuesday (11/2/2010) at Indiana University. …Respect regardless of position. …Provides meaning to your life. …Recognition. Have you worked at such a place where these points were universally true?
“A real leader unleashes the 20% discretionary intelligence and energy of the people in in the enterprise. You can not incentivise it out of them. You can’t give them enough money to so they’ll give you the extra 20%. You can only get it by creating the conditions. […] These conditions can not exist unless there is a real leader in place,” said O’Neill.
When I asked if he had examples in the U.S. who were pursuing this effort he mentioned the Seattle based Virginia Mason Clinic. When they asked themselves about caregiving from the viewpoint of the patient, they realized things could be better. Often during a 12 hour visit for chemo half the time was spent waiting for the convenience of the caregivers. By asking themselves from a value proposition – ‘we want to make life better for our patients’ – they redesigned the process, cutting visit length in half. This happened because the CEO Gary Kaplan pursues these principles. (The center is the subject of an upcoming book by Charles Kenney, Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center’s Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience. )
The ability of leaders to drive habitual organizational excellence enabling discover and continuous improvement is a critical element In the long term health and innovative ability of a company. Examples he gave of how creating an organization based on the three principles above seemed to indicate they could be a powerful way to see relationships and organizational challenges from a completely different point of view – thereby unleashing that extra 20% every company so desperately needs.