John H. “Jack” Zenger's Open-Door Leader
I had just finished an MBA degree at UCLA and was working in my first job. After a year and a few months, I was contacted by Mike Blansfield to come to work with him in the management development department of the Pacific Finance Corporation, a Transamerica company. Mike was an early pioneer in organization development and he gave me the opportunity to work closely with Dick Beckhard, Herb Shepherd, Robert Blake, and other early pioneers in this new discipline. This opened my eyes to the world of consulting and I was inspired by what these people did for organizations. I wanted to make that impact on organizations and most of these consultants had been academics, so I was motivated to go back to school to get a doctoral degree. Mike's willingness to take a chance with a totally inexperienced young guy with an MBA led me down a path that
totally transformed my life in a permanent way.
Jack is the co-founder and CEO of Zenger Folkman and co-author of five leadership books, including The Extraordinary Leader.
Beverly Kaye's Open-Door Leader
Many years ago, before I entered this field, I had a wonderful opportunity to study at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, as a special student in their organization development track. At that time I was an assistant dean of students at Brandeis University and I had been attending classes at Sloan on a unique exchange program.
One of my professors was Dick Beckhard, who was considered “the father of OD.” I had read his writings and was in awe of his work, as well as his role and impact on a field that fascinated me and that I wanted to follow. During this class, we all had to write a paper, and we had to make a 15-minute appointment with Dick to review the direction of our paper.
When my turn came to schedule my slot, I was unable to fit into the schedule because of my work at Brandeis. So, Dick offered to meet with me over dinner, and when I said that wouldn't work, he looked me in the eye and insisted on the truth. I explained that in 15 minutes I thought I could look smart enough, but over an entire dinner I would never be able to hold up my end of the conversation.
Of course we ended up going to dinner, and it turned into a wonderful mentoring relationship that lasted for many years. I think it was his influence that led me to pursue my doctorate and to believe that I had something to offer this field. Beverly Kaye is founder and chairwoman of Career Systems International and the author of four books, including Love 'Em or Lose 'Em.
Kevin Eikenberry's Open-Door Leader
I've been blessed to have many leaders who have made a difference and opened doors for me and my future. But none more than my father, Phil Eikenberry.
Dad, was of course my father, but he was also my fi boss. We farmed and had an agricultural-related business and I was given responsibility for leadership, customer service, and more from a very early age. This too, might not be completely unusual in this context, except for the degree of my responsibilities. Here's just one example: Customers were informed that if they got answers from me, they were fi People couldn't “go around” me to Dad and get a different answer. If they did, the fi question he asked was, “What did Kevin say?”
This level of responsibility and trust not only built confidence and skills, but set an example that I hope I follow and teach every day. When we believe in those we lead, and show them through our actions, it makes a lasting difference.
Do you believe in those you lead and if so, are you showing them?
Kevin Eikenberry is chief potential officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, and author of two bestselling books, including Remarkable Leadership.