Quality of the executive leader
Parc Montsouris - Paris

Recently I stepped upon the Business Week’s cover story “The Unsung CEO” concerning the qualities of a leader. The leader in question is George David CEO of United Technology Corp. Simply put it he’s great and if my own leader could have at least half of his qualities my return on what I’m doing now would triple.

Applying George David's key tenets to my professional activities as a consultant is what I’m exposing on this page. It’s like a guiding credo that I use when acting as professional of the Information Technology. I strongly suggest that you use them as well.

A grain of the leader
Parc Montsouris - Paris

There are five basic points that need to be addressed when a leadership is on your agenda:

1. Educate

2. Organize

3. Analyze

4. Track

5. Lead

 

My first and the most important premise is that inside of us there is always a grain of a leader. Just to guide oneself through any process is an art by itself and a faculty that in the professional life could be structured as it is expressed by George David’s tenets.

I use them as consultant and project manager in all my professional missions. Following fully the list is a sufficient end to achieve the intended goals.

You may check if your own credo diverge much from the model exposed. Let me go through the five above listed features and the conclusions will emanate from it all by themselves.

Educate
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Teach the coworkers, line workers and your superior executives. The position usually taken by the leaders is an adequate and appropriate sharing of the information and “know how”. There is always a matching instruction for every member of a team. Standard instruction is the starting point but the most appropriate and adapted instruction to any individual is difficult to implement. Forget about the budget that is supposed to be spent in order to make the statistics and indicators look satisfied. To develop an active and positive attitude in any person being instructed is the core of the leader’s action. The goal is to raise the return on the instruction’s costs. The attitude of “mental inertia” expressed by the phrases like “I’ve been instructed, but I don’t know why” is to be avoided. What’s to be stressed is that even your own superior executive or anyone more savvy than you could learn from you.

Organize
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There is always a framework and a process that leads to the delivery of the final product.

To organize - means to construct the platform through which the process of delivering any final product is being done. It’s the most basic and the most complex issue. Organize, change and reconfigure through a controlled process.

The answer to certain issues concerning the organization is through a quality assurance process. For my specific domain I would suggest CMMI – Capability and Maturity Model Integration.

Analyze
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Not only defects are to be analyzed though it’s considered as the most important issue. Analyze with care any process that looks almost perfect and any final result that seems to satisfy perfectly well the client. The client won’t tell that he found a better product and won’t give you any explanations as to what motivated his change or even expose his own intentions. It blows off all of sudden and then it’s too late. What is said good is not necessarily good. You see the top of the iceberg. The art and the skill are to guess what’s under the surface and anticipate the unexpected.

Track
Parc Montsouris - Paris

Tracking is part of the control process. You can not diagnose or improve on the product in a consistent and systematic way without a process dedicated to it. There are as many processes as needed and the responsibility are attributed to each of them. Human factor is decisive and being the owner of a process is the fundamental feature of a good tracking activity. Ownership of a given process implies assuming all the responsibilities for achieving the goal. The evaluation process shouldn’t miss any opportunity of a reward.

Lead
Parc Montsouris - Paris

It must be the most difficult task to transform a non believer of a process onto its disciple. If I could suggest just only one, the most natural thing to do is to show the enthusiasm based on solid rational. Charisma is the key word and as George David puts it “Non believers can head for the exits”. It’s hard to find many alternatives to it if we want to score high.