Episode 43: Steve Drotter On Managing Managers & The Leadership Pipeline [The Amiel Show]

We talk a lot on the podcast about stages of development within adults–why they matter and what you find while transitioning to a new stage.

But what about levels within organizations? What new capacities does each call for? What happens when you’re not doing the work of that level–or haven’t developed the inner and outer capacities to do it well?

To explore these questions, I turned to one of the world’s top experts on succession planning: Steve Drotter. When I say “top,” I mean it. Steve has advised half of the Fortune 10 on CEO succession and decades ago helped build GE’s famous succession planning machine.

And then he wrote a book with Ram Charan.

In 2001, Steve partnered with Charan and Jim Noel on The Leadership Pipeline.  It filled a massive void in succession planning by defining six key leadership passages in organizations. And it sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

But that’s not all. In 2011, Steve wrote The Performance Pipeline, which identifies the work to be done at each level of leadership.

Recently, Steve and I chatted for an hour about these two books and how they are reshaping our view of leadership and organizational success. We explore:

  • How is managing managers dramatically different from managing individual contributors?
  • Why do function managers often feel like they aren’t accomplishing much?
  • What makes it important for business managers to bring together multifunctional teams?
  • Why is being a group manager less fun than you might think?
  • What are CEOs truly responsible for?

Leadership PipelineSteve DrotterPerformance Pipeline

Highlights

  • 8:00 Steve’s work with John Reed at Citibank on succession planning
  • 12:30  Your first job out of school—learning time discipline and adopting company values
  • 15:30 #1: First line manager = 100% change in the work requirements
  • 18:00 #2: Manager of managers, another major transition
  • 32:00 The first question to ask when work isn’t getting done (as manager of managers)
  • 33:00 #3: Function manager—the first strategic layer
  • 42:15 #4: Business manager—ask how the business makes money
  • 43:45 #5: Group manager—connect all the businesses to the enterprise
  • 47:00 #6: CEO—setting enterprise direction, attending to culture
  • 54:30 The sweet spot with the pipeline model: $100M-$5B companies
  • 57:00 Coaching leaders using the pipeline framework
  • 1:04:00 Steve’s transition from top HR executive to external consultant

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“I can name ten Fortune 100 companies without high enough expectations for managers of managers”

–Stephen Drotter  Tweet this quote

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Peter Block interview – now up on iTunes

Last week, my interview with Peter Block, author of the seminal book Flawless Consulting, went live.

Or so I thought.

Actually, iTunes didn’t publish it until Friday. Thankfully, some of you noticed and told me.

It’s up on iTunes now. Take a listen. You’ll not only hear great stories from a wise man. You’ll also catch this famous consultant say, “You are amazing. You frighten me.”

Yes, it was yours truly to whom he was referring.

And, no, I was not “humbled” by this comment. I was fired up!

Now, here’s my note from last week in case you missed the email.

******************************************************

One of my favorites interviews of all time!

In the consulting field Peter Block is a giant. His book Flawless Consulting–now in its third edition–taught us how to show up in client relationships with authenticity, rigor, and an eye for potential pitfalls.

Peter also influenced a generation of managers with his book The Empowered Manager. Today, he brings his passion to building local community around people’s assets.

In this interview, Peter and I walk through the trajectory of his career–his earlier years as an ambitious internal consultant, the decision (unusual at the time) to start an external consultancy, how he learned to build relationships with others despite being a self-described “loner,” and the questions and commitments that have pulled him in and shifted how he works.

For a serious conversation about big ideas and a full life, this was a heck of a lot of fun.  Enjoy–and share widely!

1PBlock color 05

Highlights

  • 5:00 Getting into the field by accident & influence of Chris Argyris
  • 12:30 A loner finds connection in Gestalt and T-groups
  • 16:30 Early years of restless ambition and almost getting fired
  • 22:30 The risks of being authentic
  • 25:30 Influence of Werner Erhard, language, and speech acts
  • 31:30 The Philippines—working with citizens and loving it
  • 37:00 Taking two years off to raise kids
  • 42:00 Peter tells me, “You’re amazing. You frighten me.”
  • 47:30 Why focus on gifts rather than deficiencies
  • 50:30 John McKnight’s work on asset-base community development
  • 58:30 Contracting in place-based communities

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Authenticity–putting into words what you see happening–is risky.

–Peter Block   Tweet this quote

As soon as you acknowledge your gifts, you become accountable.

–Peter Block   Tweet this quote

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Episode 37: Susanne Cook-Greuter On Leadership Maturity, Part 2 [The Amiel Show]

In Part 1 of my interview with Dr. Susanne Cook-Greuter, she gave an overview of the stages of adult development and what they mean for our capacity to handle life’s complexity.

This week, in Part 2, we explore how her model of Leadership Maturity reframes two everyday leadership challenges:

  • How do you approach your job or career?
  • What is it like to be in a pivotal or difficult conversation?

Susanne pic

Highlights

  • 6:00 How three conventional stages of adult development (Socialized Self, Specialist Self, and Independent Self) experience work and career
  • 20:30 Why people at the Relative stage often step outside of the rat race
  • 27:00 At the Interdependent stage, you make sense of historical patterns and construct integrated strategies
  • 31:00 Susanne and I disagree about membership criteria for the Denial of Death club
  • 32:30 How development stages approach pivotal conversations differently
  • 34:00 Why someone may interpret even the most skillful feedback as disapproval of him
  • 44:00 Helping leaders at the Independent stage see how they are not fully responsible when something goes awry
  • 45:30 At the Relative stage, you realize what you can gain by understanding others’ perspectives
  • 48:00 Why Millennials may seek out difference as part of conforming to the emerging culture’s norms
  • 50:00 When paradox becomes the norm–and then the main source of juice

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The depth and capacity of what a person can notice can expand throughout life.

–Susanne Cook-Greuter  Tweet this quote

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Episode 36: Susanne Cook-Greuter On Leadership Maturity, Part 1 [The Amiel Show]

Often when things go haywire, we blame others or ourselves.

  • “If only I was smarter.”
  • “If only my boss gave me the right responsibilities.”
  • “If only I picked a better boss.”

Susanne pic

What if the source of our troubles wasn’t something wrong with us–or others–but the fact that we haven’t yet developed to our full potential?

When I first came across this concept 15 years ago, I felt a breath of fresh air. What an amazing idea that as adults, we haven’t yet reached the end of the line.

This is the theory of adult development. You can’t look far in this field without running across the name Susanne Cook-Greuter. She is one of the world’s leading researchers, consultants, and coaches in adult development. In fact, many of the world’s leading experts in this area consider her their mentor.

Recently, I had the privilege of spending two hours with Susanne talking about how and why adults develop and what this means for leadership and organizations. This week, join me in enjoying part 1 of that conversation.

Highlights

  • 5:30 What Piaget taught us about child development
  • 13:00 Vertical development becomes mainstream
  • 16:30 The three waves of development: preconventional, conventional, and postconventional. See the chart we discuss here.
  • 24:00 The three stages where 80% of adults in the West live
  • 31:30 The impact of a CEO’s level of development on her organization
  • 33:00 Susanne’s advice for parents of teenagers
  • 43:30 What all adult development models have in common
  • 52:00 How stage models different outside of western culture

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At each developmental stage, there are capacities that weren’t imaginable before

–Susanne Cook-Greuter  Tweet this quote

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Episode 34: Disown Others’ Emotions, A Jedi Leadership Trick [The Amiel Show]

Just as other people are not responsible for your emotions, you are not responsible for theirs.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that you likely act as though you are.

It happens every day. Someone on your team is angry they were passed over for a promotion. Your peer glares at you when you don’t have their back in a meeting. Your spouse gives you that “look” because you’re late for dinner again.

About one tenth of a second later, you feel the impact in your body. “Oh crap,” you think to yourself. “I just pissed her off.”

Nice thought. But you’re wrong.

You can’t piss someone off. It’s not in your power. The person who is angry generated that emotion herself. She is responsible for the emotion. Not you.

And once you embody this understanding, your life will never be the same again.

So it’s time to stop taking responsibility for what is not rightly yours. It’s time to disown others’ emotions.

That’s the name of this Jedi Leadership Trick and the theme of this 10-minute. Listen in.

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Episode 32: Turn Toward Others, A Jedi Leadership Trick [The Amiel Show]

In this 7 minute episode, I describe a simple and powerful method for increasing trust with others.

Learn how to improve relationships even while disagreeing with others.

And how to turn microscopic interactions into positive changes in your public identity.

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READ: Episode 26: Help Me Understand, A Jedi Leadership Trick [The Amiel Show]