Monday, August 2, 2010


The aim of this segment is to present leaders with concepts essential to their process of leading. Concepts are a mental image of what a person intends to create or desires to achieve. They attract attention and stimulate flow of energy and resources toward desired outcomes. Therefore, capability to formulate and accurately communicate concepts becomes critical to leadership effectiveness.
Leaders communicate concepts through a live, open process that engages them and others in dialogue intended to develop shared understanding of words used to reference important concepts. Symbols and written material may be useful supplements to the process but are inadequate substitutes for direct engagement.

Following concepts portray levels of aspiration in striving for significant gains, point to behavioral guidance for the journey, and are fundamental to leadership. The brief description and example offered for each concept are intended as guides only; each leader and organization must engage in development of statements that reflect their thinking.


Aspiration involves the exercise of affirming will (aspect of will where we take a stand on and project opinions, beliefs, values) as dedication and commitment to work for achievement of desired results. Affirming will is not absolute; for example, sustained dedication to vision demands greater force of will than sustaining effort toward goals, therefore aspiration is presented as four levels. Additionally, affirming aspiration releases the energies of personal freedom.

• Vision: Mental construct of a desired state that faithfully expresses personal core values, evokes strong positive feelings, and stimulates a bias toward action.
“A culture where waste in any form, (including natural resources, energy, talent, human potential, money, asset capacity, good will) is the ultimate taboo.”

• Mission: Mobilizing and organizing the energy and resources of the organization and focusing them on fulfillment of the leader’s vision.
“Enlist all members of the organization as warriors in the war on waste.”

• Objective: A statement of what does not now exist, but must be created as a condition of mission success.
“Identify top ten sources of waste and establish systems for measurement, feedback and initiating improvements for each.”

• Goals: Milestones of progress en route to achieving an objective.
“Establish criteria for determining where waste has significant impact, complete a survey of sources and identify top ten by _____.”


Behavioral guidance involves expression of receptive will, (aspect of will that causes us to seek out and be open to ideas, values, opinions of others) characterized by exercise of self-discipline. Receptivity to behavioral guidance releases energies that lead to creation of higher order.

• Principle: Broad guidance to maintain thinking and behavior at levels consistent with beliefs and values.
“Virtually all people have a fundamental distaste for waste and are therefore to be challenged to identify and eliminate waste in any arena of personal influence and responsibility.”

• Standards: Specified values and qualities to be demonstrated in performing work or expressing behavior and specifies the level of thinking to be applied to a task.
“Task performance is expected to demonstrate relevant knowledge of waste dynamics applied toward eliminating sources.”

• Policy: An organization’s stated plan or direction intended to influence decisions, procedures and actions, toward those considered to be advantageous, applied thinking to a given situation.
“Elimination of waste is to be considered as level I justification for funding projects.”

• Rule: An authoritative directive that prescribes what is considered to be acceptable/non acceptable conduct, action, and behavior involved in everyday doing.
“Individual contribution to waste elimination will be a factor in all performance evaluations”

Principles and standards tend to be effective only to the extent they are internalized by individuals and positively reinforced by organization leaders. External pressure (as is often applied by supervisors) to comply and punishment for non compliance are likely to be counterproductive.

Policy and rules (often imposed by chain of command authority) tend to represent external expectation of directions people take and limits/boundaries they observe. Effective leaders provide positive reinforcement in the form of engaging people in coming to understand logic base for what is expected, openness to suggestions for upgrade, and training in acquiring capability to comply. Individuals tend to embrace rules and policy that are consistent with upholding their principles, achieving standards, and enabling aspirations.

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