Sunday, August 24, 2008

Recap of Mary Lippitt vignette on the Leadership Spectrum

Thanks again to Mary Lippitt for being our EGG vignette speaker on Friday. For those that missed the call, here is a summary of her talk.

The Leadership Spectrum Profile: The Third Generation Leadership

by Dr. Mary Lippitt, Enterprise Management Ltd.

In today’s business environment, characterized by global competition, new technologies, changing regulations, flatter organizations, and talent shortages, speed in leadership development becomes increasingly critical. The first generation of leadership theory focused on leadership style or personality. Because changes to personality or style occur slowly, if at all, the second generation of leadership targeted skill sets or competencies. However, after more than 20 years, it has become clear that this approach also takes too long to impact actual behavior or results.

Rathe than focusing on skill sets, the third generation concentrates on mindsets, or what business priorities or goals are driving your decision making and goal setting. If you want results, must focus on them.

The six critical business priorities are:

  1. Keep products/services up-to-date and/or state-of-the art
  2. Gain and keep market share; serve customers
  3. Build organizational structure and systems to establish high performance
  4. Improve processes and procedures for efficiency, quality, and ROI
  5. Develop committed and competent workforce as well as build a supportive environment and identity
  6. Position for the long-term by surfacing trends, assumptions, and issues that offer opportunities or potential threats

The benefit of third generation approach is that if offers-
  • A context based framework which enables changing circumstances to become part of developing leadership judgment
  • Encourages leaders to connect the dots and “see the whole board”
  • Generates respect and inclusion for everyone who contributes to goal achievement , rather using demographic classifications that ask us to “tolerate” someone from a different race, age group or gender

The issue of gender has frequently been introduced into leadership with the divide so deep that women and men are characterized as hailing from different planets. Another unrealistic way to capture gender leadership is to characterize men as taking charge and women as taking care of others. These approaches confuse work with family roles and obligations. When only work behavior is examined, the results are vary difference. Women and men operate from the same business priorities. What is different is that women at supervisor and manager levels use more than one priority to make their decisions while men with those titles only operate from one priority. At the executive level, women wanting faster change, accepting more risk, and looking more at external factors as they set goals.

What this means for organizations that want to retain executive women, is a strategy that offers women an opportunity to make change happen rather than merely offering them more flexibility for work-life balance at all.

For further information contact Mary at or read her award winning book, The Leadership Spectrum. If you would like to take the assessment, Mary will provide an online version for EGG members, just put EGG in the subject line of your request.

1 comment:

Kara said...

Really interesting thoughts. Executive women want and deserve more opportunities in the workplace.