Finishing touches with my new book

The proofs of my next book Leadership Levers have arrived. I have written this book as a handbook for leaders who want to work well with groups. Its full title is Leadership Levers: releasing the power of relationships for exceptional participation, alignment, and team results.

This is the final chance I have to ensure all earlier edits have been actioned.  Amendments to the proofs are limited to the correction of any errors that may have been generated in the typesetting process, and to correct any factual errors that I notice and wish to correct before publication.

There have been two areas I was unhappy with. The first one is a figure and text enabling Chairs and CEO’s to subjectively measure their working relationship. This crucial relationship is focused on having a strong relationship so the board can focus on governance and strategy, enabling the CEO and executives to operationalize and implement. Too often this relationship can fall short with

  • operational interference
  • abdication of clear expectations
  • the blurring of roles.

Each organisation has its nuances, including in the governance arrangements, however, the principles of having strong working relationships remain the same.

Many variables and current context influence the Chair/CEO relationship, but trust and alignment remain the best criteria to assess relationship efficacy.

As I clarified precisely what I want to say board chairs let me know role clarity was the crucial area to address. Clarifying what is governance and what is operations, what is strategy and direction, and what is leading, implementing, and ensuring the staff can access the tools they need to implement direction provide significant challenges for many boards and CEOs.

Here is the final Figure 3.1 Subjective Measures in Chair and CEO relationship, and the allied text.

From Leadership Levers: Releasing the power of relationships for exceptional participation, alignment, and team results by Diana Jones ©


Excerpt from Chapter 3: The Profound Value of Movement and Distance for Leaders

CEOs need to be effectively governed. By sensing the distance between the chair and themselves, CEOs can rapidly assess whether they’re isolated from the board or too close—and vice versa. They could be at too great a distance for the board to trust their decisions, or too close to their chair to make effective decisions in implementing strategy. Conversely, competent board chairs continually assess and adjust this distance between them and the CEO according to the development of the CEO and the organization. For either side to ignore distance as a success measure of both trust and alignment of the Chair-CEO relationship would be abdicating responsibility in ensuring efficacy and role clarity.

Championing Subjective Measures

Tele relationships can be measured on two subjective continuums at any point in time:

  • The strength of their trusted relationship can be subjectively measured from weak to strong
  • Alignment can be subjectively measured with distance, using close or distant, relevant to the importance of the relationship

Figure 3.1 provides an immediate and flexible tool that CEOs, chairs, and boards can use to assess efficacy and role clarity in their relationships. By using their perception and insight, leaders and board members can either collectively or individually make assessments of the status of their relationships, then develop strategies and actions to reset the relationship to maximize their impact. Anything less than both CEO and Chair being in the top right quadrant with a strong trusted relationship and close alignment requires action.

Longevity in the CEO and chairman’s role is hugely advantageous to organizations for effective governance. This enables the relationship to develop as both players grapple with organization dilemmas, role clarity, shifts in strategy, and the inevitable crises.

Conventional wisdom extols the need for leadership development. Millions are invested each year to teach leaders strategy, decision-making, innovation, and even how to harness the power of social media. Yet many leaders can’t, don’t, or won’t have productive working relationships with those whose actions they influence. Many simply don’t know how to build effective relationships with the individuals and groups they lead. They overvalue logic and technical data to convince others of the reasons for a decision yet fail to use the very capacities for which they were likely appointed—their experience, intuition, and wisdom.

It’s time that leaders master the basics of being inspirational:

  • Know what behaviours create emotional closeness and distance with individuals and groups
  • Work well with conflicting views
  • Read and know how to shift the emotional tone within their organizations
  • Ensure their every interaction with groups is productive

Do this and your decisions and implementation will be people-centred and informed beyond just facts. Leaders, you can influence relationships by knowing where you stand in relation to key others and the business outcomes you seek. This is key to producing the results you want.

Where do you land when you measure your relationship with those who ‘govern’ you?

The second area for me to adjust in this process was less complex but equally challenging. This excerpt was on leaders reading the emotional tone of groups by reversing roles with them and understanding the drivers the leader needs to address in shaping how they communicate their vision, direction, and expectations. I was unhappy with the conclusion I had made in this excerpt. After conversations with several colleagues to test my thinking, this edit involved me correcting my assessment of this process and communicating my ideas more simply.

Diana Jones ©

Leadership Levers: releasing the power of relationships for exceptional participation, alignment, and team results, by Diana Jones is available in November this year.

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