вторник, 5 октября 2010 г.

Pierre Casse’s lecture about leadership given on the Open Day

On the Open Day of the School  Pierre Casse, SKOLKOVO Leadership Professor of Leadership, gave a lecture on a general topic “Leadership: Old Facts and New Trends”. We suggest you acquaint yourself with its main points. It’s understood that a speech put on paper will never substitute a live lecture and energy of the speaker, but we’ll try :)

Professor Casse spoke close to the topic announced, with his theses being both clear and encouraging discussions, so the audience asked several questions which resulted in a discussion.

When giving a lecture Pierre Casse always intersperses it with a great number of jokes, funny stories from his life presenting them as lessons of life. This form of lecture does allow the audience to better learn the stuff.

The article based on Professor Casse’s lecture is rather voluminous. We were afraid to miss something important and useful to you. To make the text more convenient to read, we structured it as clearly as possible. Have a nice reading!

First of all, in his lecture Piere Casse emphasized an important point: you can be a good leader, only if you fight for what you believe in. Leadership is not a set of universal rules, it is a person’s quality and a sort of state, where a key part is played by personal characteristics.

Common facts and useful advice

Widespread mistakes that leaders make:
1) Know everything
When you know an answer to any question, you deprive your people of their own thinking. When you always try to give assistance, you deprive them of responsibility for the result. Give them free space, let them breathe in!

2) Play politics
If we ask employees at different companies for whom they work and what kind of result they look forward to, we’ll get unfavourable results. Each person tries to curry favour and works for the sake of his boss, not a firm). This is politics. Don’t play it!

3) Pretend to be a microleader
Microleaders are those who want to show their power in everything. They always find to fin fault with everything and change any scratch, they are sure to redo an employee’s work to his taste and so forth. With the lapse of time employees come to understand that whatever they do, their results will be redone anyway. Then why should you endeavour, if responsibility is finally shifted from you?

Here are some pieces of advice to leaders of the future from Pierre Casse. They speak for themselves:

1. Always hire people smarter than you are.
2. Empower your colleagues and employees, give them an opportunity to act independently, trust them.
3. Understand what’s happening in the world and be able to explain it to others.
4. Develop a sense of social responsibility in the company.

Pierre Casse urges leaders to pay attention to the following facts and try to overcome their symptoms:

1). Most of the individual brain power is under-used in most of corporations
A big problem is that at many companies people don’t have an opportunity to use their talent at full capacity. Frequently they don’t even have a chance to be at their best. On the one hand, a company is to blame because it’s easier to manage similar employees squeezed in certain detailed limits. But an employee is also to blame, because he has not enough power, courage, energy to prove everyone that he can suggest a new breakthrough idea, that he can do work far better than others and so forth.
Remember that life is too short to be miserable.

2) When talented people gather in a team, they do not give those great results which are expected from them
Pierre Casse calls this phenomenon a “tyranny of average”, i.e. a pressure of the average in the group. As a leader, you should be prepared to it and try to maintain a right rhythm in your group and your company, preventing them from becoming a ruck.

3) Most organizations are sick because of power corruption. But it remains almost unnoticed.
Most leaders live in a “fake world”. It’s impossible to manage the entire company for a long time (even for three or four years) preserving a fresh look on things. You move aside the reality and don’t see it: you pay attention only to positive reports, listen only to useful people. And you are not aware of what’s going on below, among employees. The higher a person climbs up a career ladder, the more he isolates himself from the others. But real problems are seen right from below.

Our life is too short to live someone else’s life! Live YOUR life, Professor Casse urges, not your boss’s life. Live, first of all, for yourself, your family, not for your boss and your company. Don’t forget to check the options, because if you have the options, you can stand up and told your boss that he’s wrong! You can show mistakes to the entire company! Such people are required at any organization. Even if you have an excellent job that satisfies you, check your options, it gives you more freedom and courage!

New trends

Finally, we touch modern and new trends in leadership.

The role of a leader is shifting with the lapse of time from an active to a more detached position.
While the leader used to do everything on his own (1), the emphasis has started shifting to team-work (2). Now the leader’s position is getting even more delicate: the leader throws in a required idea and the team works with it (3). In future a key role of the leader will be substantially to empower people (4), to impact them only on a general, somewhat mental, level, not to overshadow their ideas with his own, to control their common spirit.

Another interesting trend marked out by Pierre Casse is moving from IQ to EQ, and then to VQ, i.e. to vitality and energy quotient.

Finally, the third trend is related to a process of communications. Pierre Casse says that a process of communications is not a process of understanding each other, because we can’t understand each other and we will never understand each other. And it doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter, because communication becomes a process, by which we invent each other, create each other, impact each other. That’s where a true role and sense of intercourse lies. Knowing that, the leader should correctly organize such process in his team.

But it’s more of thought-provoking information, because it concerns our future :)

In conclusion, a list of books Professor Casse recommended at his workshop:

  • Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value (Bill George)
  • Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters to Get Things Right (Larry Bossidy)
  • Philosophy for Creative Leadership: How philosophy can turn people into more effective leaders (Pierre Casse, Paul George Claudel)

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