See the process and results - one of the world's largest bridges under construction







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Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

         -  Stephen R. Covey







RealTime Coaching FAQ












Leader as Bridge

What do leaders/ coaches/ managers have in common with bridges?

5 Areas of Leadership.

One day after the terrible bridge collapse in Minneapolis in the summer of 2007, I found myself traveling in a cab across a bridge in Seattle . While on the bridge, I noticed an adjoining LRT (Light Rapid Transit) bridge under construction. The cab driver mentioned that the extension was costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Without question, cities need to invest in the repair of bridges to support continued growth and usage.

Likewise, organizations require effective leaders to build bridges to maintain future performance. Here are 5 ways that managers do so:

1) Destination/ Planning. Bridges are built after years of planning. They are then built with precise accuracy from one end to the arrival at a road or ramp, etc. at the other end. Effective leaders take a big picture approach - they regularly take time to focus on where they and their teams need to be heading. They gain clarity of the destination they need to lead/ coach to. Focus Question: Are my people clear on top priorities and why they’re important?

2) Adapting to Change. Many bridges, when completed, are handling greater capacity of traffic than when planned, years earlier. Likewise, managers today coach and lead amidst continual change. Leading through change requires clarity of desired outcomes, with flexibility around how they are achieved. Today's leaders need to coach in the moment - RealTime. Focus Question: Given changed circumstances, what do I need to do differently? How do I need to coach my people regarding these changes?

3) Feedback. Bridges, once built, need to be examined regularly for their structural strength and areas of maintenance. So, too, leaders at all levels need to be "passionate about feedback" for growth. "If you don't know how you're performing, you don't learn" said one recent leadership article by Geoff Colvin in Fortune Magazine. Focus Question: When was the last time I received structured/ constructive feedback from my team? What did I learn?

4) Structural Strengthening. Upon examination, recommendations to maintain structural strength are put forward and implemented. Likewise, if the organization doesn’t, effective leaders seek feedback for themselves in order to strengthen their leadership capacity. Like bridges that run the risk of collapse, managers that become complacent run the risk of “career collapse” in terms of diminishing effectiveness and employment opportunity. Focal Points: The top 3 development areas I want to be working on for the next 6 months are:

_________________  __________________  ___________________


5) Bridges and Budgets. After the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis , debate began over why budgets were not aligned sooner for more bridge maintenance. Likewise, while some organizations may not be as proactive in their commitment to leadership development as others, they frequently become more proactive after an impact on their profitability. Often it is only after declining sales, increased turnover, inability to attract talent, stagnating productivity or some other demonstrable metric that the organization escalates the priority of leadership development. Organizations such as American Express, General Electric, Proctor and Gamble, and Nokia see their leadership development as a strategic priority for sustaining competitive advantage. Focal Point: I plan to commit the following time and resources to my development/ learning (i.e. courses, books, etc.):___________________________________ 


Finally, if you coach/ lead/ manage others, irrespective of whether your organization is committed to leadership development, you need to see it as an imperative for your career. The world is changing rapidly and so is the way in which we lead others to be effective. If you commit to making annual feedback and your own learning a top priority, you will indeed be a performance bridge that will be in demand. Managers/ organizations who don’t make this commitment will end up like the bridge that collapsed without examination or structural enhancement. (Check out some of these links below).

In the Spirit of Growth, 

Chuck Reynolds  BA, CPBA, CPVA
Chief Performance Officer, Excel Group Development


Chuck  Reynolds is a Principal and Chief Performance Officer with Excel Group Development a Performance Solutions firm that assists organizations in enhancing management and team  effectiveness. He can be reached indirectly  by emailing our admin group. Insert 'ATTN Chuck' in the subject area. Visit them at www.ExcelGroupWorks.com 

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