As with any relationship, it’s important that we get to know each other. Over the past few months, we’ve spent a good amount of time and effort reaching out to you to get to know you, your needs and your challenges a little better. Thank you for the time and energy you’ve spent in that endeavor.
Now, if you’ll indulge us, let us tell you a bit about ourselves. To get to know who someone is and where they are going, you need to know where they have been.
Our founder and the originator of Situational Leadership®, Dr. Paul Hersey, used to politely object when people would refer to Situational Leadership® as a “theory.”
Truth be told, anyone that actually knew Dr. Hersey would tell you he didn’t “politely object” when it came to terminology or interpretation of Situational Leadership®. The minute he heard the word “theory” as a descriptor for Situational Leadership®, he would approach whoever said it, in all likelihood cut them off in mid-sentence and provide a measured response grounded in six decades of experience:
“… by definition a theory is an idea or a belief formed by speculation. Situational Leadership® is a model. And as we all know, a model is a repeatable process that helps solve complex problems.”
Dr. Hersey was passionate about many things in life. He could also be described as a strong personality (massive understatement). In that regard, he remained actively involved with virtually every aspect of our operation until just before his final hour, December 18, 2012.
Collectively, as we searched for good news in the midst of “figuring out how to move forward,” we came to grips with how truly fortunate we were. We worked for an incredibly insightful innovator that contributed as much as anyone to our dynamic industry. Beyond that, as we sat down the last year or so to design an upgrade and expansion of our offerings, we not only had the benefit of Dr. Hersey’s blessing for our proposed course of action, but we also had the benefit of his insight in shaping its form.
Earlier, we mentioned that we wanted to share about ourselves. The following are the core beliefs that we feel truly make us unique in this overly crowded leadership training space. The tenets below are derived from the foundational competencies of Situational Leadership®. These principles guide how we research and develop our programs, position our model and, ultimately, build our leaders:
- Stay True to the Foundation – The easiest way to describe Dr. Hersey’s best selling behavioral science text book “Management of Organizational Behavior” (affectionately known as M.O.B.) is that it was the first book on the topic that anyone outside of academia ever read. M.O.B. coalesced over 50 years of groundbreaking contributions in the behavioral sciences into language that literally anybody can understand. Each component of our curriculum moving forward will be an outreach of this rich history.
- Practical and Behavioral – Situational Leadership® has always been about observable behavior. That isn’t going to change. Beyond its behavioral focus, we have always prided ourselves on taking complicated things and making them “simple” (as opposed to the other way around). We live in a complex world that is going to become increasingly more convoluted. The variables that leaders find themselves considering as they formulate their influence strategies are significant. To that point, the absolute essence of what we at The Center for Leadership Studies consider our core value proposition to be is a practical, repeatable behavioral model that leaders at all levels of an organization can use to formulate strategies for influencing others.
How about a quick “application challenge?” Identify a problem or an opportunity you are currently facing that involves working with and/or through others. Now ask yourself:
- What is your set of circumstances and how does it need to change?
- What approach do you need to take to make that change happen?
- How will you implement that approach so that people will “understand and accept?”
- Will the action you plan on taking constitute a “meaningful advance?”
Is it more involved than this? Of course it is. But, the four questions posed accurately represent a straightforward starting point leaders can leverage as they initiate action. And, we would suggest the most critical elements of any leadership intervention are to have a plan and to put that plan into action!
- Multi-Directional – We run an exercise in our Situational Leadership®: Building Leaders program where we ask learners to chart the direction of their influence attempts (i.e., what percent of the time are you attempting to lead direct reports versus peers versus your boss?). Usually learners identify that 50% or more of their influence attempts are lateral or up (sometimes the percentages are far greater than 50%). We interpret this as ongoing validation that leadership is a multi-directional dynamic and have tailored the offerings in our new curriculum to three target groups:
- Personal Leaders – Individual contributors with no direct reports or formal authority
- Team Leaders – Managers or supervisors with formal responsibility for any number of individual contributors
- Organizational Leaders – Directors or managers of other managers with formal responsibility for a region, division or business unit
- Influence Potential – By definition, leadership is an attempt to influence and power is influence potential. We place special emphasis on power with our new curriculum for that very reason. When many think of power, they are reminded of often-publicized examples of its abuse. But, in the context of leadership training, power transcends the imagery of formal authority. Power is a function of one’s expertise, capacity to be trusted, ability to listen to others while truly caring about what they have to say and so much more. And if, for some reason, you don’t believe that, try participating sometime with someone that doesn’t trust you. It just isn’t going to happen!! Your potential to influence drives your capacity to successfully lead. And bottom line: we can help you increase your influence potential!
Ok, if you made it this far, we have a word for you – Thanks! Clearly, we’d be interested in hearing from you. In brief review, we are ardent believers in the contributions of Dr. Paul Hersey and his original Situational Leadership® Model.