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  1. 1. Level 5 Leadership: Humility + WillBased on Jim Collins article, “Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve”, in Best Of HBR, HBR, July-August, 2005, p.136-146
  2. 2. The key to an organization becoming great is having a Level 5 leader Someone who blends genuine personal humility with intense professional will
  3. 3. “Level 5”The highest level in a hierarchy of leadership capabilitiesLeaders at the other four levels in the hierarchy can producehigh levels of success but not enough to elevateorganizations from mediocrity to sustained excellenceGood-to-great transformations don’t happen without Level 5leadershipLevel 5 is not the only requirement for transforming a goodorganization into a great oneOther factors include getting the right people on the bus (andthe wrong people off the bus) and creating a culture ofdiscipline
  4. 4. The Level 5 Hierarchy Sits on top of a hierarchy of capabilities Four other layers lie beneath it Each one is appropriate in its own right, but none with the power of Level 5 We do not need to move sequentially through each level of the hierarchy to reach the top But to be a fully-fledged Level 5, we need the capabilities of all the lower levels, plus the special characteristics of level 5
  5. 5. Level 55 Level Executive Executive Level 44 Level Effective Leader Effective Leader Level 33 Level Competent Manager Competent Manager Level 22 Level Contributing Team Member Contributing Team Member Level 11 Level Highly Capable Individual Highly Capable IndividualThe Level 5 Hierarchy
  6. 6. The Level 5 HierarchyLevel 5 Executive Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical combination of personal humility plus professional willLevel 4 Effective Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and Leader compelling vision; stimulates the group to high performance standardsLevel 3 Competent Organizes people and resources toward the effective and Manager efficient pursuit of predetermined objectivesLevel 2 Contributing Contributes to the achievement of group objectives; works Team effectively with others in a group setting MemberLevel 1 Highly Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, Capable skills, and good work habits Individual
  7. 7. Level 5 LeadershipCounterintuitiveCountercultural – people generally assumethat transforming from good to greatorganizations requires charismatic, larger-than-life leaders
  8. 8. Not by Level 5 AloneLevel 5 leadership is an essential factorfor taking an organization from good togreat, but it’s not the only oneThere are other “drivers”, combinedwith Level 5 - the combined packagewhich takes the organization beyondunremarkableThe drivers are – First Who, StockdaleParadox, the Flywheel, The HedgehogConcept and A Culture of Discipline
  9. 9. First WhoGood-to-great leaders start with peoplefirst and then deal with vision andstrategy secondThey get the right people on the bus,Move the wrong people off,Usher the right people to the rightseats, andDetermine where to drive it
  10. 10. Stockdale ParadoxNamed after Admiral James Stockdale, winner ofthe Medal of Honour who survived for 7 years in aViet Cong POW camp by hanging on to twocontradictory beliefsHis life couldn’t be worse at the moment, and hislife would someday be better than everGood-to-great leaders confront the most brutalfacts of their current reality, yet simultaneouslymaintained absolute faith that they will prevail inthe endThey held both disciplines – faith and facts – at thesame time, all the time
  11. 11. Buildup-Breakthrough FlywheelGood-to-great transformations do not happenovernight or in one big leapRather, it starts one movement at a time, graduallybuilding up momentum, till there is a breakthroughMediocre organizations never sustained thebreakthrough momentum but instead lurch back andforth with radical change programmes, reactionarymoves and restructuring
  12. 12. The Hedgehog Concept A hedgehog knows only one big thing very wellThe fox knows alittle about many The hedgehog is simplethingsA fox is complex And the hedgehog wins!
  13. 13. The Hedgehog-like understanding of three intersecting circles What best ignites the passions of its people What an organization How its can be best economics in the world work best at
  14. 14. Technology AcceleratorsGood-to-great organizations have aparadoxical relationship with technologyOn the one hand they avoid jumping on newtechnology bandwagonsOn the other they pioneer the application ofcarefully selected technologies, making boldfarsighted investments directly linked totheir hedgehog conceptLike turbochargers, these technologyaccelerators create an explosion in flywheelmomentum
  15. 15. A Culture of Discipline Good-to-great organizations have three forms of discipline1.1. Disciplined people – you don’t need hierarchy,2.2. Disciplined thought – you don’t need bureaucracy, and3.3. Disciplined action – you don’t need excessive controls Combining a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship results in great performance
  16. 16. Level 5 LeadersA study in dualityModest and wilful,Shy and fearless
  17. 17. A Compelling ModestyLevel 5 leaders are extremelymodestThey don’t talk about themselvesThey would talk about theorganization, about thecontribution of others andinstinctively deflect discussionabout their own roleUnlike big personalities like LeeIacocca, Jack Welch
  18. 18. The Yin and Yang of Level 5
  19. 19. The Yin and Yang of Level 5Personal Humility Professional WillDemonstrates a compelling modesty, Creates superb results, a clear catalyst in theshunning public adulation; never boastful transition from good to greatActs with quiet, calm determination; relies Demonstrates an unwavering resolve to doprincipally on inspired standards, not whatever must be done to produce the bestinspiring charisma, to motivate long-term results, no matter how difficultChannels ambition into the organization, Sets the standard of building an enduringnot the self; sets up successors for even great organization; will settle for nothing elsemore greatness in the next generationLooks in the mirror,not out the window, to Looks out the window, not in the mirror, toapportion responsibility for poor results, apportion credit for the success of thenever blaming other people, external organization – t other people, external factors,factors, or bad luck and good luck
  20. 20. An Unwavering ResolveBesides extreme humility, Level 5leaders also display tremendousprofessional willThey possess inspired standards,cannot stand mediocrity in anyform, and utterly intolerant ofanyone who accept the idea thatgood is good enough
  21. 21. Succession PlanningLevel 5 leaders have ambition not forthemselves but for their organizationsThey routinely select superbsuccessorsThey want to see their organizationsbecome even more successful in thenext generationComfortable with the idea that mostpeople won’t even know that the rootsof that success trace back to themLevel 4 leaders often fail to set up theorganization for enduring success –what better way to demonstrate yourpersonal greatness than that the placefalls apart after you leave
  22. 22. The Window and the MirrorLevel 5 leaders, inherently humble,Level 5 leaders, inherently humble,look out the window to apportionlook out the window to apportioncredit – even undue credit – tocredit – even undue credit – tofactors outside themselvesfactors outside themselvesIf they cannot find a specific eventIf they cannot find a specific eventor person to give credit to, theyor person to give credit to, theycredit good luckcredit good luck At the same time, they look in At the same time, they look in the mirror to assign the mirror to assign responsibility, never citing bad responsibility, never citing bad luck for external factors when luck for external factors when things go poorly things go poorly Compare this with leaders who look out the Compare this with leaders who look out the window for factors to blame but preened window for factors to blame but preened in the mirror to credit themselves when in the mirror to credit themselves when things go well things go well
  23. 23. Born or Bred? : Can Level 5 be developed?There are two categories of peopleThose who don’t have the Level 5 seedwithin them,And those who do
  24. 24. The first categoryWill never bring themselves tosubjugate their own needs to thegreater ambition of something largerand more lasting than themselvesWork will always be first and foremostof what they get – fame, fortune,power, adulation, etc.Work will never be about what theybuild, create and contributeThe great irony is that the animus andpersonal ambition that often drivespeople to become a Level 4 leaderstands at odds with the humilityrequired to rise to Level 5
  25. 25. The second categoryCould evolve to level 5Capability resides in them, perhaps buried or ignoredor simply nascentUnder the right circumstances – with self-reflection,a mentor, a significant life experience, lovingparents, or other factors – the seed can begin todevelop
  26. 26. Level 5A key component inside theblack box of what it takes to shiftan organization from good togreatInside this black box is another –the inner development of aperson to Level 5 leadershipA very satisfying idea, a truthfulidea, a powerful idea, and tomake the move from good togreat, very likely an essentialidea
  27. 27. “For like all basic truths about what is best in human beings,when we catch a glimpse of that truth, we know thatour own lives and all that we touch will be better formaking the effort to get there.”
  28. 28. My commitment to Jim Collins’s leadership framework Note: I copied these slides from a UN website years ago onto my own website so I can find them when I need them. While I am not the author of these slides, I strongly believe in this framework and I thoroughly commend it to you! ► I believe that Jim Collins’s leadership framework, which I came across in 2006, is operationally insightful. ► I use it my book (now a free e- book) as a framework for India’s leadership needs. ► Since December 2007 I have used it actively to look for leaders for the Freedom Team of India. ► This framework inspires. It works.► Breaking Free of Nehru, my book published by Anthem Press in 2008, aims to find level 4 and level 5 Sanjeev Sabhlok leaders from India and bring them Read my posts on leadership at my blog. together on a common platform. Join me on Facebook.