I had the pleasure of hosting a CEO lunch for my guest, Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallup, last October. Jim presented to my CEO clients at the lunch some new research from Gallup scientists on leadership.
The guests were all interested in thought-leadership. They included a visionary educational philanthropist, bank CEO, a Dean from Australia’s #1 university, the headmaster of a Melbourne school famous for its alumni of leaders, the CEO of a global NGO for women’s health, a CEO manufacturer and a former government minister. There followed a very animated discussion.
Based on Jim’s discussion of Gallup leadership research and how that reinforced much of my own experience, I came away from the meeting with the following:
Thought-leaders ARE born. However, some others CAN be made.
– less than 1 in 100 are born. You need to do nothing about them. They will always operate as leaders anywhere, anyway, anytime. Their return on payroll can be ten times that of other employees.
– up to 9 in a hundred are made. They can be developed as leaders given the right environment, tools and opportunities. Their return on payroll can be maximised.
– around 70 in a hundred are thought-choosers or thought-followers. They will choose and follow a leader if and when they become engaged to do so.
– 20 in a 100 are actively a thought-thwarter or thought-killer. They are actively disengaged. They can just spoil. They can slow things down. They can tie up resources. They can even sabotage. They can often be toxic. They may have a negative agenda of their own. They can cue others to become spoilers if given the opportunity to do so. There is no return on payroll here. Just costs and losses.
For the CEO, how do you find your local thought-leaders?
For productivity growth at the level of local groups a solution is required to find who are the authentic thought-leaders at that level? Which employees also can be developed as thought-leaders? How to better engage the thought-choosers and followers? And, how to enhance security and protection from the thought-killers?