Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leadership Gurukul

I’d like to take credit for the name, but it goes to a colleague in India.  A gurukul (pronounced guru-cool) is a type of school in India.” The process involves the master interacting with the students in a long term natural setting.

The situation that brought this to my attention were courses I was asked to teach the management teams of two international companies on “Delivering Results” and “Business Excellence.”  I did not feel I met the qualifications of a “guru” in terms of knowledge, experience or age.  Thinking about it afterward, if I didn’t meet the criteria, then who did?  I spent my gurukul time sharing the experiences I’ve learned from over the last 30 years of aircraft building and preparing organizations for Malcolm Baldrige evaluations.  When you compare my experience to that of a student’s (new supervisor in a new industry), I guess I’m the one that should be teaching. Seems to me all great leaders should be gurukuls to others.

Do you know you are a guru in something?  Are you acting like it and sharing everything you know with teammates?


Sunday, July 8, 2012

“How are you?” No, I really mean it – How are you?

Walking down the main shop aisle a week ago, I crossed paths with another company executive.  I just had a very positive experience with one of her employees and I wanted to share the good news.  Leaders tend to get far more bad news than good, so I wanted to be sure I broke the trend.

We stopped for a moment and she asked me, “How are you doing?”  I basically did not answer and started to share the good news I had for her.  She politely interrupted and asked me again, “How are you doing?” I think I said “fine” and continued in my sharing.  A third time she asked me, “So, everything is going ok?”  It occurred to me that she was actually asking me a question and she was interested in my response.  The phrase, “How are you doing?” has somehow turned into a salutation or greeting as compared to a question.  I walked away from the exchange wondering how often I ask an introductory question and don’t listen to the answer. Or equally bad, how often the person answering believes their response is not important so they barely respond.

How do you open your conversations?  Do you “really” care how your team is doing?  How do you show it?


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