My ongoing discussions on Innovate For The Future.FM. continually remind organizations that transformative leadership should be at the very heart of everything that they do and all that they stand for. A company simply can’t achieve its innovation, change, and transformation goals without the right team to support and cultivate those achievements and aspirations. Companies don’t transform, innovate, and change; people do. Leaders do. YOU do!
In my fifth of five Innovate for the Future episode with retired U.S. Army Major Generals, Robert W. Mixon, Jr., and John Batiste about their trademarked, transformative leadership principles.
Developed by Robert and John, The Big Six™ model is focused on these six components:
- Set the Azimuth (defined as the cardinal direction on a compass)
The best leaders provide clarity of mission, drive out complacency and “false urgency,” are concise, and repeat themselves often.
Great leaders treat their teammates with dignity and respect. Listening is an acquired skill and “two heads are always better than one.”
- Trust and Empower
Set the azimuth and encourage initiative. Pick your teammates carefully and trust them to do the right thing. A leader who micro-manages is insecure.
- Do the Right Thing When No One is Looking
Always strive to “do the harder right rather than the easier wrong.” Leaders live in a glass house and are watched 24/7.
- When in Charge, Take Charge
“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Build a team where it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.
- Balance the Personal and Professional
A leader without balance can destroy an organization. Without clear azimuth, there can be no delegation, and without delegation, there will be no balance.
With the mission of helping organizations and individuals grow leaders who “get it,” John and Robert began developing their six core principles back in 2009. “We got in a room together and brainstormed it based on our military and corporate experience,” says Robert. “It’s a culmination of our experiences and the information learned from people who taught us along the way.”
Throughout this process, Robert and John developed a “composite” picture of the ideal leader – a “level 5 leader” whom they both admire and respect. Using the azimuth (or, compass) as a focal point, they say a company simply can’t conduct effective strategic planning if it’s only going to move along the same path that it’s already on. “Setting the azimuth or the standard is the fundamental responsibility for all leaders,” says Robert, who estimates a 3- to 5-year timeframe for creating transformative leadership within an organization. “There are contingencies that may affect the timeline and force you to reset it, but in the end it’s basically a benchmark that guides your organization,” says Robert.
I’m currently working on a major research project in conjunction with the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED). Focused on reimagining partnerships between manufacturers and distributors, the research has turned up some interesting points. For example, we found that personnel turnover is a major obstacle to driving and embedding meaningful partnerships within the industry.
John and Robert faced similar issues in the military, where 2-year timelines are common for new recruits. “Our advantage was that the values and culture were already well established in the Army,” says John. “Both are ingrained in every new recruit from day one; that helps eliminate some of the friction.”
After walking through each of their six leadership principles, John and Robert capped off our Innovate for the Future series by discussing a key point that’s often overlooked on the leadership front: the need for a healthy work-life balance. “We learned by screwing this up ourselves,” they say. “Without balance in your life, you really can’t be an effective leader.”
Building THE Winning Culture
I’m both proud and honored to announce a new partnership with Level Five Associates. Level Five principals U.S. Army major generals (ret)Robert W. Mixon Jr. and John Batiste and I have co-developed and will co-present a one of a kind two-day executive leadership program May 11-12, 2016 in Dallas.