Authors: Noel M. Tichy and Eli Cohen

Publisher: HarperBusiness, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0887309311, 464 pages

In many areas of human endeavor, from politics to business, leadership is the road to higher accomplishments. The best leaders groom future leaders, not just those near the top, but throughout the ranks of their organizations. Thus business leaders create “winning organizations.” In his 1997 classic, reissued in 2002, best-selling author Noel M. Tichy, writing with researcher and consultant Eli Cohen, explains how leaders lead, how they function as true teachers, and how they ensure that worthy successors will follow them. While Tichy’s real-world leadership examples from the 1990s may sport a few cobwebs, they offer timeless lessons. You can put these lessons into practice at your company using the handy workbook Tichy includes. getAbstract recommends this practical, insightful guide to those interested in leading and in teaching others to lead.

The “engine” that drives accomplishment

To succeed in life, become a leader and help others become leaders too. Leadership drives accomplishment and builds “winning companies.” Leaders in winning organizations teach others. They possess developed, thoughtful philosophies and worldviews that enable them to instruct future leaders. Such leaders create organizations that are “Leadership Engines, where...they actively develop the next generation of leaders.”

Anyone can lead

Leadership abides in everyone. The ability to lead is not reserved only for the “favored few in the executive suite.” Winning companies cultivate leaders at all levels of the organization. These firms demonstrate “sustained excellence” in the marketplace. They recognize that the pace of change demands anticipating new developments and reacting quickly. When grooming tomorrow’s leaders, you are establishing your place amid bright people – an army of “mini-CEOs” positioned to make good calls and execute them well. To be a leader and to develop other leaders, you must have these assets:

“Ideas” – You know what it takes for your business to succeed and what must be done to get there.

“Values” – You prioritize what matters and know what ethics to instill in your company culture.

• “Energy” – You have enthusiasm and drive, and inspire others.

“Edge” – You “make tough decisions,” take risks and help co-workers follow suit.

“Stories” – You tell tales about your experiences and how you reflected from them to showcase your values and beliefs.

Leading through change

For businesses to thrive, they must weather transitions. Change is inevitable; what matters is how your company responds. If you don’t lead in times of flux, you leave your firm’s survival up to chance. You must help your co-workers “see reality” and inspire them to react properly. This can be challenging because people often perceive what they want to see and tend to resist change. Overcoming such resistance requires leaders to communicate their ideas clearly, be brave enough to risk the future on those ideas and put their ideas into active practice. Leaders who do this stay on top of change and bring about change themselves.

Leaders function in their companies’ “technical, political” or “cultural systems.” The technical system mobilizes a company’s assets, the political system establishes recognition and rewards, and the cultural system decides the organization’s larger beliefs. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch – a perfect example of a great leader – influenced all three systems at GE. He introduced the concept of “boundarylessness” to encourage employees to work on change and to seek innovations from outside any previously cited job limits…

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