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What do we mean when we say making leadership happen?

How often do you discuss "leadership" with individuals or groups? For me, leadership is a frequent topic of discussion. Team and leadership development is my "lens".

One of the most important questions one can ask about leadership is:

What do we mean when we say making leadership happen?

  • articulate a clear vision
  • engage your employees
  • develop talent
  • have a global mind set
  • think strategically
  • create win-win solutions
  • leverage diversity
  • communicate effectively
  • hold people accountable
  • be an agile learner

Two problems here:

  1. The lists of leader characteristics and behaviors seem endless. It’s as if we’ve taken every positive human quality and made it into a requirement for effective leaders.
  2. Some of the advice can seem contradictory at times. Managers are told to take charge and to empower others, to be politically savvy and authentic, to be flexible and steadfast.

There is another way.

The Center for Creative Leadership offers a model of leadership development that brings sanity to the equation. Instead of putting the entire weight of leadership on individual managers and their capabilities, CCL suggests it’s important to examine how the whole system is involved in making leadership happen.

CCL's answer to "making leadership happen" involves three key areas:

1. DIRECTION: Agreement on what the collective is trying to achieve together

2. ALIGNMENT: Effective coordination and integration of the different aspects of the work so that it fits together inservice of the shared direction.

3. COMMITMENT: People who are making the success of the collective (not just their individual success) a personal priority.

CCL offers this:

These three outcomes – direction, alignment, and commitment (DAC for short) – make it possible for individuals to work together willingly and effectively to realize collective achievements. So when we say making lead- ership happen, we mean making direction, alignment, and commitment happen. In fact, we think the only way to know if leadership has happened is to look for the presence of these three outcomes.


Making_leadership_happenCCL offers a free must-read 11 page "white paper" that answers this question of "What do we mean when we say making leadership happen?"



4 Leadership Messages Your Talent Needs to Hear

My friend Joel Wright at the Center for Creative Leadership has coauthored an article published at entitled "4 Leadership Messages Your Talent Needs to Hear".

Worried about a leadership shortage? Gazing at a thin management pipeline? Wondering how to get the most out of the talent you have?

It’s time to expand and amplify your organization’s leadership by looking beyond your proven superstars and management-track talent.

Young professionals and experienced individual contributors need to be part of the leadership equation, too. These overlooked leaders are the people who are working on project teams, influencing others and taking on ever-larger and more complex assignments.

Consider the role of highly experienced professionals. As individual contributors, they play critical roles as engineers, designers, medical professionals, marketing or logistics experts, and so on. They are expected to take on project-management roles and be key players on cross-functional teams. As their role expands and they increasingly work with others, subject-matter expertise is no longer a guarantee of their success or effectiveness.

Meanwhile, early-career professionals are looking for ways to engage, interact and gain skills. As they navigate their work and your organization, they have many opportunities to lead, even before they step into formal management roles.

Both groups are in the right place to leverage leadership skills, but they need the nod from you. So, here are four messages that you – and your fellow leaders – can send to the skilled experts, up-and-coming professionals and, in fact, the entire organization.

1.    Think “process,” not “position.” Leadership is a process, not a title. It’s about leading with others in ways that establish direction, create alignment and build commitment. Rather than looking for someone else to be a leader, individual contributors need to ask themselves: “What am I bringing to the leadership process?” “How can I better facilitate the process of effective leadership in my group or in my project team?”

2. Understand Your Leadership Brand

3. Take Control

4. Your are Seen, Heard, and Valued

CLICK HERE to read the entire article


Joel Wright works on the Leadership Beyond Boundaries team at the Center for Creative Leadership. Joel works on projects aimed at "democratizing" leadership development by making it more affordable and accessible. As a part of this initiative Joel is championing early/youth leadership development.


Susan Gerke & David Hutchens: Building Team Trust -- IATF Leadership TeleSeminar


RECORDINGClick here to download the recording (mp3 file)

SLIDES: Click on the link below to download the slides.

Download Building Trust in Teams SLIDE DECK


Trust is the bedrock of high performance. If the team has high trust, everything works better. And if not… well, almost everyone has a story to tell about that.

In this free and interactive TeleSeminar developed exclusively for members of IATF, you will explore the nature of trust on your team, and explore a process for identifying the behaviors that build – and damage – your team’s trust.

You will also have an opportunity to talk directly with our speical guest speakers David and Susan, creators of GO Team, about the trust challenges your team faces.

Susan_gerke Susan Gerke is the president of Gerke Consulting & Development where she designs, customizes and implements leadership and teamwork programs.  Her clients include Bank of the West, BHK Accountancy, City of Anaheim, Human Options, Orange Coast College, Sole Technology, UC Irvine, and Warner Bros.




David_hutchens_jpg David Hutchens, is a bestselling author, and organizational learning consultant. He is the author of “A Slice of Trust: The Leadership Secret with the Hot & Fruity Filling,” and was named one of the most influential thought leaders on trust by “Trust Across America.” He has worked with IBM, The Coca-Cola Company, Wal-Mart, GE, Nike, and many others.





Together, Susan and David have created GO Team, a library of 18 easy-to-deliver team-training modules that allow you to build your own team training agenda.

This TeleSeminar will be interactive - - you'll be able to talk with our special guest speakers and ask them your questions directly (or send them in as text).  It's "just in time" training and development! 

Dial in, share your experiences… and then start unleashing even more team power in your organization.

Call Details


Building Team Trust


Thursday   August 23, 2012


Starts at 1 pm  Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs for 60- 70 minutes


Susan Gerke and David Hutchens, creators of GO Team Resources

Tom Heck, President & Founder of the IATF


This call was recorded and is archived in the IATF Members Only Area. Not yet an IATF member?  Join HERE.