Making Good Leaders Great

The leadership team makes or breaks the blockbuster+ pursuit. This team takes the raw materials of the research pursuit and transforms them, so they can be all that they should be. The leadership team knows, through experience and instinct, which research leads to pursue and which to merely catalog. They maintain a mental catalog of all the possibilities for the research, daily juggling the leads most likely to succeed, and daily coming up with new ways to get the team excited about today’s challenges. This leadership can be an individual or the Fab Five collectively (preferably the later for leadership that spans decades). The leadership team experiences Key Behavioral Moments+ intimately, and recognizes them for what they are: opportunities to demonstrate their leadership.

Leadership. You know it when you see it. The goal of World Class R&D is to take good leaders and make them great. We do this in the way we structure the work. For example, we build effectiveness into each and every study we plan. We give leaders of research units access to the tools and techniques of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM+). Leaders have on-the-ground facilitation and support from the Independent Evaluators. The franchise is structured so leaders have frequent excuses to rub elbows with other leaders, their competitors, through annual confabs and franchise operations+. Our good leaders have access to a wealth of materials, resources and inspiration from their membership+ in the franchise, to guide them in their transition+ from good to great.

Leaders lead people, and this means the behaviors of people. We provide you access to the tools & techniques of OBM that handle 80% of these behaviors, freeing you to concentrate on the 20% than need personalized attention. This is only possible because we do OBM across many comparable teams. Behaviors are ugly. You can never quite get them right, and even if you do you don’t know they’ll stay right when that next Key Behavioral Moment arrives. With OBM we can test different structural designs for our work across many hundreds of different situations. We build an inventory of which interventions work best under which situations. We give leaders the best shot at structuring their work right the first time, and if not, a full panoply of backup plans.

Crucial to Independent Evaluation are lessons learned by the evaluators from participation in periodic beauty pageants. They see the evaluations of their peers for a wide variety of research units, in every possible state of maturity. Independent Evaluators quickly learn what constitutes effective evidence in the mind of their fellow evaluators, and by extension, what drives effective behaviors. The Independent Evaluator is on-the-ground, and helps direct researchers toward practices that are effective, and therefore both drive effective behaviors, and reduce the need for direct management intervention. Leaders of research units have the assistance of a facilitator that can help make real their leadership goals and objectives on a daily basis.

Follow the Business Plan and Operating Model. We spent 12-18 months with you discussing leadership and effective means for managing behaviors. Your plan and model were developed in consultation with experienced leaders who faced the same types of issues you’re about to face. You have codified their experience in how to deal with aberrant behaviors, and how to reward effective behaviors. Follow the game plan: you believed in it when you built it and had time to give these matters full consideration. Now that your in the throes of full development, rely on your earlier insights and it will be to your great advantage.

You will become a great leader in the crucible of running a research unit with very demanding and varied pressures. There is no time for many of the activities commonly seen in today's R&D organizations. Meetings are only for outsiders: they rarely add effectiveness to a team that works together so closely that questions aren’t even asked because everyone already knows the answer. Erase all internal meetings from your Outlook™ calendar and use that time to observe and manage team behaviors: inspiring, pushing, cajoling, challenging and moving team members out of their comfort zones.

You’ve become part of a franchise with extremely high standards of excellence. You never get to rest on your laurels. Your leadership success is immediately picked up by your competitors, pushing the bar even higher. Stop for a moment, look around, and you see that everyone else is passing you by. Comfortable answers are never enough. You will always challenge your assumptions, your successes, or you will find yourself falling behind.

Behaviors are ugly. You can never spend enough time tweaking and improving your management of behaviors. Creative individuals, the only kind you want on your team, are infinitely creative in how they get what they want. You need to be even more creative in aligning your measures of progress with the wants and needs of these creative team members.

Home Page July 2010