Tools Don’t Make a Good Carpenter (or Leader)

A multitude of tools (some simple and some sophisticated) are available to executives and hr professionals. There are tools and inventories to identify preferences and strengths, team capabilities and strategic effectiveness. Hundreds of models, personality inventories and well-intentioned leadership processes attempt to created normed leaders.

Normed leaders won’t help you create breakthrough results.

The right tools, used in the right way, for the right reason can be helpful. Most are a waste of time, money and energy.

Be careful about the tools you choose to use with your executive team or in your organization.

360 degree feedback processes are a good example. There are sometimes a good reason to use them, but often they are used as a default mechanism because people don’t the courage to provide upfront, face to face feedback to people who need and deserve it.

People call me and ask,” do you think so and so should have 360 feedback done with his direct reports?”

I asked, “how did he work with the feedback he got last time?”

“Well, actually, he really didn’t do anything with it.”

“Then why would you repeat the process again?”

Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Management tools create a common organization language, accelerate the speed of  business processes and diagnose people and organization issues when used the right way.

They are too often used as busy work, as distractions and unneeded activities that pull leaders further way from the real issues where common sense should prevail.

Insist on developing organic, not synthetic leaders. Help your people find the courage to be themselves. This means knowing what you want, saying what you think and being in the moment with the people around you.

Don’t hide behind tools or busy yourself with diagnostics that take your eyes of the real issues. Resist the seduction of standardization that complex organizations can be infested with.

Remember, one size doesn’t fit all. Clones can follow, but not lead.

Learning to develop and exploit your uniqueness is owning up to real leadership.

Contact Information

Dan Norenberg
Wensauerplatz 11
81245 Munich
Phone: +49 172 862 5123

About Dan Norenberg

Dan Norenberg improves leadership performance and organization results through Executive Ownershift®, his transformational growth process for executive teams. As a trusted advisor, consultant and professional speaker, Dan’s mission is to enable executive teams and their organizations to play at their best.