The Façade of Excellence: Defining a New Normal of Leadership

1st Edition

John Dyer

Productivity Press
Published September 30, 2019
Reference - 170 Pages - 25 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367145330 - CAT# K410646

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The crucial need to substitute true leadership for bad management practices such as Management By Objectives (MBO) and the use of fear is now well known and was often championed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming. While significant progress has been made, many organizations (especially outside of manufacturing) are either just getting started with their improvement efforts or they are faking their way forward (going through the motions), trying to imitate what they have read in books or have seen at conferences. The executives of these organizations might give permission for the tools of Lean and Six Sigma to be taught but many of them still refuse to look in a mirror and change their own leadership style. They have built a "façade of excellence" that crumbles quickly whenever a bit of chaos is introduced. Not being able to sustain improvements over the long term is one of the top complaints from improvement professionals. What ingredient is missing that prohibits changes to occur throughout the leadership ranks that might create a culture that embraces teamwork, collaboration and improvement?

To start, what exactly do we mean by leadership? The common mistake is to try and put all effective leaders into the same box. Leadership actually has many dimensions and several definitions. This book explores four different styles of leadership that includes "The Crisis Leader," "The Idea Gathering Leader," "The Team Forming Leader," and "The Empowerment Leader."

Each of the four styles is appropriate when given a certain set of circumstances (an organization in trouble needs a "Crisis Leader" for example). The goal is to shift the organization, including the leaders and all of the employees at every level, toward collaboration and empowerment.

Why go through the pains to rebuild an organization’s culture and leaders? In the annual "IndustryWeek Magazine - Best Plants" competition, the companies that have made the transition to high performance, fully empowered teams ("The Empowerment Leader"), in general, demonstrate far better results than all other applicants (and they tend to win "Best Place to Work" awards as well).

So, what is keeping organizational leaders, especially those in the middle of the organization chart, from adopting the "The Empowerment" leadership style? This book defines and helps the reader understand what this new normal of leadership consists of and:

  • Explains the four different styles of leaders and how these are different than a typical "old style" manager.
  • Indicates which style is appropriate given a certain set of circumstances and how a leader knows when it is time to migrate from one style to another.
  • Illustrates what it means for an organization to shift from a "dictator" culture to one of collaboration and what steps can be taken to help this transformation.
  • Explores the current definition of a "promotable manager" and how this differs from a new normal definition of an outstanding, effective "Empowerment" leader.
  • Defines Mission, Vision, Strategy, and Values and how these four cultural principles fit into the leadership progression model.
  • Shows how the culture within the organization will be different after the adoption of empowered teams and introduces the concept of "Enthusiastic Productivity."


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