Leadership

The Four Pillars of High Performance: How Robust Organizations Achieve Extraordinary Results

The Four Pillars of High Performance: How Robust Organizations Achieve Extraordinary Results
Mcgraw-Hill,

Light, P.C.
12/14/2004

In 1999, Paul C. Light embarked on an ambitious project which, if successful, would provide organizations of all kinds with a powerful new tool for navigating the turbulent sea of change that is today’s global business environment. A guide to achieving and maintaining superlative performance in a highly unpredictable world, this book is the fruit of that endeavor. In it you will learn proven methods for hardening your organization against the surprises and risks of an uncertain future, and how to maintain a competitive edge by being the first to identify and capitalize on the most promising growth opportunities. In The Four Pillars of High Performance, Light paints a portrait of the “robust organization”—that rare organization which possesses both the agility to adjust to changes in the external environment at a moment’s notice, and the compass needed to maintain a steady fix on its strategic horizons. He takes us inside a number of these organizations across a range of business sectors, as well as in government, the military, and more. From the examples set by a variety of world-class performers, Light extracts the four key traits common to all robust organizations:

1. ALERTNESS: Spotting fluctuations as they emerge—not after their effects have already been felt

2. AGILITY: Empowering employees with the authority to make routine decisions, reducing barriers between units, encouraging participatory management, and fostering open communications

3. ADAPTABILITY: Changing with circumstances and taking advantage of new opportunities as they arise

4. ALIGNMENT: Saturating the organization with information and providing effective information technology

The Four Pillars of High Performance is an indispensable and unprecedented blueprint for transforming any company into a robust organization.

Leadership and the Psychology of Power

Leadership and the Psychology of Power
In D. M. Messick & R. Kramer (Eds.),The Psychology of Leadership: New Perspectives and Research. Lawrence Erlbaum,

Magee, J.C., Gruenfeld, D.H., Keltner, D. & Galinsky, A.
12/01/2004

This chapter begins to fill in a gap in the leadership literature by looking at the psychological experience of leaders. We assume most leaders possess power over those whom they lead, and we explicate a theory of how power affects cognition and behavior. First, power-holders' attention is focused on non-conscious and conscious goal-relevant information. Thus, power-holders interpret social information in relation to their goals. They are less likely to process social norms and standards of behavior that could impede progress toward goals, and they are more likely to see others in relation to their goals. Second, as judgments of the self by others are less consequential, power-holders experience a decrease in public self-awareness, or self-consciousness. Third, power-holders' self-regulatory mechanisms, which require effortful control, break down for reasons of motivation and cognitive busyness. Power-holders are less motivated to control their behavior because they care less about others' judgments, but they also are less able to control their behavior because their cognitive resources tend to be more occupied. These three factors -- increased goal focus, decreased self-consciousness, and decreased self-regulation - converge to increase the likelihood of automatic behavior that represents power holders' "dominant" situational responses.

A Secure America in a Secure World

A Secure America in a Secure World
Interhemispheric Resource Center, September,

Gershman, J.
09/01/2004

The Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” reflects a major failure of leadership and makes Americans more vulnerable rather than more secure. The administration has chosen a path to combat terrorism that has weakened multilateral institutions and squandered international goodwill. Not only has Bush failed to support effective reconstruction in Afghanistan, but his war and occupation in Iraq have made the United States more vulnerable and have opened a new front and a recruiting tool for terrorists while diverting resources from essential homeland security efforts. In short, Washington’s approach to homeland security fails to address key vulnerabilities, undermines civil liberties, and misallocates resources. The administration has taken some successful steps to counter terrorism, such as improved airline and border security, a partial crackdown on terrorist financing, improved international cooperation in sharing intelligence, the arrest of several high-level al-Qaida figures, and the disruption of a number of planned attacks. But these successes are overwhelmed by policy choices that have made U.S. citizens more rather than less vulnerable. The Bush White House has undermined the very values it claims to be defending at home and abroad—democracy and human rights; both Washington’s credibility and its efforts to combat terrorism are hampered when it aids repressive regimes. Furthermore, the administration has weakened the international legal framework essential to creating a global effort to counter terrorism, and it has failed to address the political contexts—failed states and repressive regimes—that enable and facilitate terrorism.

Sustaining Nonprofit Performance: The Case for Capacity Building and the Evidence to Support It

Sustaining Nonprofit Performance: The Case for Capacity Building and the Evidence to Support It
Brookings Institution,

Light, P.C.
08/01/2004

"The nonprofit sector survives because it has a self-exploiting work force: wind it up and it will do more with less until it just runs out. But at some point, the spring must break."

America’s nonprofit organizations face a difficult present and an uncertain future. Money is tight. Workloads are heavy, employee turnover is high, and charitable donations have not fully rebounded from the recent economic downturn. Media and political scrutiny remains high, and public confidence in nonprofits has yet to recover from its sharp decline in the wake of well-publicized scandals.

In a recent survey, only 14 percent of respondents believed that nonprofits did a very good job of spending money wisely; nearly half said that nonprofit leaders were paid too much, compared to 8 percent who said they earned too little. Yet the nonprofit sector has never played a more important role in American life. As a generation of nonprofit executives and board members approaches retirement, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that their organizations are prepared to continue their missions—that they are built to last in a supremely challenging environment.

Paul Light, renowned expert on public service and nonprofit management, strongly argues for capacity-building measures as a way to sustain and improve the efforts of the nonprofit sector. With innovative data and insightful analysis, he demonstrates how nonprofits that invest in technology, training, and strategic planning can successfully advance their goals and restore public faith in their mission and capabilities. He explains the ways in which restoration of that faith is critical to the survival of nonprofits—another important reason for improving and then sustaining performance. Organizations that invest adequately in their infrastructure and long-term planning are the ones that will survive and continue to serve. The New York Times, Monday September 13, 2004

District Effectiveness: A Study of Investment Strategies in New York City Public Schools and Districts

District Effectiveness: A Study of Investment Strategies in New York City Public Schools and Districts
Educational Policy, Vol. 18, No. 3, 491-512

Iatarola, P. & Fruchter, N.
07/01/2004

Educational reform over the past two decades has focused primarily on schools as the critical units of change, often ignoring the role of districts and their effect on schools' performance. Although national reform efforts such as the recently reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the No Child Left Behind Act), are directed primarily at schools, local school districts are responsible for a number of functions critical to schooling effectiveness (e.g., hiring, collective bargaining, curriculum development, assessment, fiscal operations, and ancillary functions). Refocusing attention on districts and their effect on schools, this study found differences between high-and low performing community school districts, or administrative subunits, within the NewYork City school system in terms of educational goals, instructional focus, leadership development, teacher recruitment and retention, and professional development.

From Consent to Mutual Inquiry: Balancing Democracy and Authority in Action Research

From Consent to Mutual Inquiry: Balancing Democracy and Authority in Action Research
Action Research, March, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 47-69 (22) Sage Publications.

Ospina, S., Dodge, J., Godsoe, B., Mineri, J., Reza, S. & Schall, E.
03/01/2004

The Leadership for a Changing World (LCW) program is a joint endeavor between the Ford Foundation, the Advocacy Institute, and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. This paper focuses on the experiences of the Research and Documentation component of LCW – lead by a research team from the Wagner School – during the initial implementation phases of the research. This component formed an inquiry group consisting of both academic researchers and social change practitioners to collaboratively explore and discover the ways in which communities doing social change engage in the work of leadership. We used group relations theory to understand a series of critical dilemmas and contradictions experienced by the coresearchers. This paper identifies four such paradoxes that center around issues of democracy and authority.

Appreciative Narratives as Leadership Research: Matching Method to Lens

Appreciative Narratives as Leadership Research: Matching Method to Lens
In David Cooperrider and Michel Avital (eds), Advances in Appreciative Inquiry Vol 1: Constructive Discourse and Human Organization. Elsevier Science, Ltd.

Schall, E., Ospina, S., Godsoe, B. & Dodge, J.
01/01/2004

This chapter explores the potential of appreciative inquiry for doing empirical work on leadership. We use a framework that matches a constructionist theoretical lens, an appreciative and participative stance, a focus on the work of leadership (as opposed to leaders), and multiple methods of inquiry (narrative, ethnographic and cooperative). We elaborate on our experiences with narrative inquiry, while highlighting the value of doing narrative inquiry in an appreciative manner. Finally, we suggest that this particular framework is helping us see how social change leadership work reframes the value that the larger society attributes to members of vulnerable communities.

High Performance Government: Structure, Leadership, Incentives

High Performance Government: Structure, Leadership, Incentives
Rand,

Light, P.C. & Klitgaard, R.
01/01/2004

Fixing problems in the federal government. In 2003, the National Commission on the Public Service, chaired by Paul Volcker, issued a report detailing problems within the federal government today and recommending changes in its organization, leadership, and operations. This book suggests practical ways to implement the recommendations and defines a research agenda for the future. Thirteen essays address the primary problem areas identified by the Volcker Commission, and the commission report itself is included.

Opening Doors and Building Capacity: Employing a Community-Based Approach to Surveying

Opening Doors and Building Capacity: Employing a Community-Based Approach to Surveying
Journal of Urban Health. 2004;81:291-300.

Kaplan, S.A., Dillman, K.N., Calman, N.S. & Billings, J.
01/01/2004

Although many community-based initiatives employ community residents to undertake door-to-door surveys as a form of community mobilization or for purposes of needs assessment or evaluation, very little has been published on the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. This article discusses our experience in undertaking such a survey in collaboration with a coalition of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the South Bronx, New York. Although resource constraints limited the already-strained capacity of the CBOs to provide supervision, the CBOs and community surveyors helped us gain access to neighborhood buildings and to individuals who might otherwise have been inaccessible. The survey process also contributed to the coalition's community outreach efforts and helped to link the CBO leadership and staff more closely to the coalition and its mission. Many of the surveyors enhanced their knowledge and skills in ways that have since benefited them or the coalition directly. The participating CBOs continue to be deeply engaged in the coalition's work, and many of the surveyors are active as community health advocates and have taken leadership roles within the coalition.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research
In G. R. Goethals, G. S. Sorenson, & J. M. Burns, Encyclopedia of Leadership 2004, pp. 1279-1284. Thousand Oaks, CA.

Ospina, S.
01/01/2004

People are fascinated by the stories of leaders, but not much has been written about the forces that shape them. This set brings together "what truly matters about leadership" to map an emerging discipline that draws from history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, political science, and psychology. It seeks to answer questions such as what is leadership? What is a great leader? What is a great follower? What are the types of leadership? And how does someone become a leader?

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