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Conducting Leadership Assessments – Interview Series: Dave Ulrich
Are you a “leader?” Do you “practice leadership?” What’s the difference? Is it possible that you do both? What if you and your organization do neither? Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor of Business at the University of Michigan and Partner at The RBL Group, says the two terms are different – and one may even be more important than the other. John Mattone recently spoke with Dave to learn more.
What are some areas of emphasis that you focus on when working with leaders?
- Leaders are different from leadership. Leaders are key individuals. Leadership is the collection of individuals who build capability within an organization. Leaders matter. Leadership matters more.
- Leaders and leadership matter to employees inside a firm, but also (even more) to investors outside. Investors can access a Leadership Capital Index that codifies the value of leadership to their market valuation.
- Effective leadership is less about what leaders know and and more about the value they create for others. Leaders build leadership.
- While 50% of leadership is predisposition, the other 50% can be nurtured. Individuals can become better leaders, and organizations can create better leadership. This requires the discipline of a Leadership Brand, where leadership basics (Leadership Code) are complemented by leadership behaviors aligned to customers and then sustained over time (Leadership Sustainability).
How do these areas help leaders to deliver value to their organizations?
When leaders know and do the right things (Leadership Code), they help:
- employees be more productive
- organizations be more competitive
- customers be more connected
- investors to have more confidence, and
- communities to have more sustainable results
How does your approach differ from other organizational consultants? Why is that important?
- I/we tend to focus more on value created than activity (Leadership Brand). For example, leadership “authenticity” without creating value for others is really narcissism. Leaders should build on their strengths to strengthen others.
- We also focus on both individual leaders and organization leadership.
- We also bring discipline and rigor to the assessment of leadership (Leadership Capital Index).
- Finally, we know we are continually learning more and more about leaders and leadership and how they deliver value.
How have your client relationships led to growth and success?
We have helped dozens of clients build their leadership capability. This has included individual and organizational assessments, training programs, personal coaching, and realigning HR systems to sustain the change. We savor research and have partnered in many large scale studies of effective leadership, so these are not just our whims and opinions.