Bette Price is a good writer, and a thorough researcher. (She also attends the First Friday Book Synopsis, and has since we began in 1998).
Her earlier book, co-authored with George Ritcheske, was True Leaders: How Exceptional CEOs and Presidents Make a Difference by Building People and Profits. The subtitle says it all: leaders build people as well as profits.
She has spent this most recent chapter of her life paying attention to Gen Y. And when I say “paying attention,” I mean she has delved deeply into this group, learning just what they are like, what they like, what matters to them. A few days ago, Investors Business Daily focused on one of her key findings in the article Gen Y’s Integrity Focus by Steve Watkins. In the article, he quotes extensively from Bette. Here are some key excerpts:
The future of America’s leadership may be better than you think. The up-and-comers rank integrity high among qualities they desire in leaders. Ways companies can benefit from that:
• Appeal to priorities. Dallas-based consulting firm Price Group conducted a recent survey of people age 20 to 30. They had to be in college, graduated or working.
“Trust and integrity permeated through the entire research,” Price told IBD. “Their value profile was almost identical to the ‘true leader’ profile I had done a few years ago.”
• Keep the faith. It’s vital for this younger group to feel trusted. The survey showed that three-fourths made a point of not wanting to be micromanaged, which is a sign of distrust, Price says; 88% strongly said they wanted to work for a supervisor they could trust.
• Win back their confidence. “This generation is the most cynical ever,” said Michael Josephson, president of the institute. That finding backs up the Price Group survey.
• Retain your talent. People turn cynical if they expect leaders to be trustworthy but they turn out not to be. Result? The exit. “If they feel there isn’t trust, they’ll probably leave,” Price said.
• Be honest. One woman told Price that she opted not to interview with a firm when she saw that some information on its Web site contradicted what a recruiter had told her.
“They want to know what reality is and base their decision off that,” Price said. “Integrity is huge.”
• Send a message. Make it clear that your company does things the right way and won’t tolerate cheating or stealing. Show that you’ll fire people if they violate those tenets.
• Set an example. You can’t expect your people to operate with integrity if the leaders don’t. Display the behavior you want others to show.
“The best way to fuel cynicism is to be a false prophet,” Josephson said. “Dishonest companies will generate dishonesty.”
• Open up. Be upfront with your people. Price says one guy in the survey said his boss called him in to discuss a project. All was fine. But when the guy got back to his desk, the boss had sent him an e-mail criticizing him.
The guy thought, “‘How can I trust him when he won’t even say anything to my face?'” Price said.
My comment: integrity really is the coin of the realm. But examples of denial and cutting corners and outright dishonesty abound. It would be nice to have a generation help us all rediscover the centrality of integrity.
Back to Bette Price: When Bette tackles a subject, she genuinely becomes an expert. If you need come help understanding, relating to, and working with Gen Y folks, you might want to tap into Bette’s expertise. Here’s her website.
Cheryl offers: Sometimes I can’t believe what I read when I pick up the newspaper. It’s generally the reason I don’t look at it very often. When I do, it’s usually to check out the weather on the back page of the Metro section. However, what was on the front page today got my attention. It seems the two top elected officials in Flower Mound, that would be two people in highly visible leadership roles, have been accused of sexual harassment. The chief of police filed the complaint after witnessing the incident in which a police officer was evidently pinched on the behind by the…drum roll, please…two women. Yes, indeed. The male police officer confirmed he was pinched as they stood on either side of him and there’s a video to confirm it. Leaders have a responsibility, both legally and morally, to abide by the law and that seems to be especially true of elected officials. To me, it’s even more important for women to take the obligations and responsibilities of being a leader seriously. We have worked hard to progress to the current state and incidents like this hurt us all. They dent our credibility, insult our intelligence and hard work, and minimize our hard won accomplishments. Bette Price tells us “True leaders are keenly aware of the power of their position, yet are quick to point out that without genuinely valuing their people, their position of power is limited” in her book, True Leaders. Who better to have proven this to be true than these two leaders who forgot the power of their position, dismissed the trust of the people they represent, and placed themselves in compromised power positions? One has decided not to run for re-election and that might just be the best decision she’s made lately.
A well respected management consultant and writer right here from the Dallas area, Bette Price, was quoted in The Daily Caller about President Obama’s role in the health care summit. From the article Chief Executive Obama runs a good meeting — even if it does run past schedule by Aleksandra Kulczuga, here are the opening paragraphs:
In one of President Obama’s highest-profile days as America’s chief executive, all eyes were on how well he managed what was at times an acrimonious debate on health care. The Daily Caller talked to business and management experts about how he did as the man at the head of the table during his marathon public meeting.
“He’s very much what we could call in academic circles a transformative leader,” said Drumm McNaughton, chairman and chief executive of the Washington-based Institute of Management Consultants. “When you have a political environment like ours that has become so difficult because of polarization, you can see he’s the right leader for the right time.”
“And that’s coming from a lifelong Republican.”
Many experts pointed out the president’s tactfulness today.
“I’m sure he has his own agenda, but he doesn’t express it heartily,” said Bette Price, chief executive of Price Group and a management consultant in the leadership development area for 25 years. “He’s very conciliatory and engaging, and tends to be open to other people.”
“The interesting thing that the president does is that he’s very paced in his delivery, and that tends to give off more of a calming effect,” Price said.
“With these kinds of meetings in Washington it’s difficult because people need to leave their egos at the door. What you see Obama doing by cutting his remarks short, he’s looking at the outcomes and not grandstanding,” McNaughton said.
So, here are a few takeaways:
1) Keep meetings moving.
2) As leader, be open to other people.
3) As leader, facilitate, don’t dominate.
The article had dissenting views on President Obama’s role, but this sounds like pretty wise counsel from Bette Price and Drumm McNaughton for anyone who has a meeting to run.
(Note: Bette Price has been a long-time participant and friend of the First Friday Book Synopsis).
Cheryl’s view: It seems Jack Welch should play more golf and resist the temptation of making speeches. On July 21 the Wall Street Journal reported he delivered what I’m sure he thought was “straight talk” like he thinks he did in his book, Straight from the Gut. He told a convention of HR executives women had to choose between raising a family and having the corner office. Which rock have you been hiding under Jack? Maybe he forgot that last year’s CEO of the year as elected by peer CEOs, was Anne Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox, and mother of two sons. And I supposed he also hasn’t noticed Mulcahy passed the reins to the first Afro-American woman to lead an S&P 100 company, Ursula Burns, and (Oh, gasp Jack!) also happens to have a daughter and stepson. When Jack Welch entered the workforce and even possibly when he led General Electric, this might have been a “norm”, possibly his own stereotype at work. This is no longer the case. Jack might also want to start reading the stats on graduating MBAs; women in 2009 will surpass men in all categories: associate, bachelor, graduate and professional. By the way, the gap between men and women has been widening since 1982, the last year men exceeded women in acquiring degrees, in college degrees and is projected to continue until 2017, which is only as far as the projection goes. So, where will the most talented, experienced, and well educated people in the company come from, the future CEOs? My money is on the next generation of women, who, by the way, believe the wisdom of his other book’s title “Control Your Own Destiny, or Someone Else Will.” Thanks for the advice, Jack, now go play golf.
Sara adds: Jack, in the words of James Copeland, former Chairman and CEO of Deloitte & Touche worldwide in True Leaders (Bette Price and George Ritchesche), “Don’t breath your own exhaust.” Your pronouncement in the Journal is contemptible (a carefully chosen word from Merriam Webster’s online dictionary… “contemptible may imply any quality provoking scorn or a low standing in any scale of value.” The italics are mine). I believe your comments to be contemptible; having a low standing in any scale of value on a couple of levels. First level, you single out women leaders. Besides being transparently biased your idea begs the question, why shouldn’t ALL leaders, men and women, have the opportunity to have a life as well as incredibly successful careers? Then there’s the next level. It’s about BUSINESS RESULTS, Jack, not about appearances or sacrifice. By even uttering that comment I wonder if you’ve lost focus on the prize here. Jack, you should read a new Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership (Richard Boyatzis and Daniel Goleman). It stands your antiquated version of leadership on its ear. In the article you will read about the negative impact a leader’s stressed lifestyle has on the success of the company they lead. The authors also provide a pathway to leadership that is healthy, balanced and produces great (get that, Jack, GREAT) business results. I wonder what heights GE could have climbed if YOU had been a different kind of leader.