The Design of the Book
One: The Meaning of Leading and Leadership
This section deines leading and leadership in terms of inluence, positive change, and values. This is followed by an introduction and discussion of the developmental leadership model and its deining elements.
Two: Preparing Yourself to Lead
This part of the book describes how everyone can increase their leadership competence by learning certain skills, character attributes, and purposeful behaviours and by learning to think effectively and completely about change and other important ideas. The goal for the organization is “role model leading competence for all.” This means recognizing that every individual can continuously develop higher and higher levels of leadership competence. Furthermore, they can be motivated to do that, and they can learn how to do that.
Three: Leading the Organization
This part of the book discusses how the high-performance organization, be it for-proit or not-for-proit, achieves sustainable growth. It does so by learning how to create high-performance work systems. Such systems in an organization are interdependent and are dedicated to three things: irst, to increasing the “value-add” of the organization's work (its viability); second, to developing the spirit and ability of the organization's people (its vitality); and third, to doing the right things (its virtue). In this way, the organization can achieve a high level (a harmony) of service to all stakeholders.
The Target Audience
This book is intended mainly for engineers, scientists, and technologists who are early in their careers and professional lives. Speciically, undergraduate students and people who have started their careers in engineering and other technology-intensive organizations will beneit from this book.
Engineering and science-intensive business organizations will be at the forefront of the advances the world makes to improve the lives of people. The changes that need to be made in the mindset of organizational leaders are best directed at those who are early in their careers. Yet engineering and science students in colleges and universities who are interested in learning more about business leadership have long been underserved by books and other publications.
Technologically competent people are found in every industry and in almost every organization. Engineers and scientists tend to think and act in systematic, process-oriented ways. It is their nature, be it innate or instilled, to go about their work in a thoughtful and orderly manner. For them, that is the best way to solve problems and make things better. The leadership frameworks described in this book are designed to meet their needs.
The Background to This Book
The model presented in this book was developed and implemented in a science company by engineers, scientists, and other practitioners of technology. It was developed for the purpose of creating a more effective and “growthful” organization. It was not developed by academics, consultants, psychologists, or others for the purpose of better understanding the behaviour or characteristics of leaders. Instead, it was developed by people doing work in a real organization for the purpose of improving the performance of their organization as measured by the most demanding of audiences: customers, owners, other employees, and society at large.
Many of the examples and stories in this book relate to DuPont Canada1 because that is where I worked for decades, starting as a research engineer and eventually becoming CEO. At DuPont Canada we set out deliberately to improve our organization's performance. We were already
1 For simplicity I will use “DuPont Canada” when referring to the Canadian organiza tion and “DuPont” when referring to the global company, which includes the Canadian organization, rather than the legal entity names, unless there are places in the book where it is necessary to be speciic. well aware of – and practising – the principles of democratic leadership. But we needed more: we needed something that would truly transform our company. So we began to develop a new model of leadership – one that, while rooted in previous leadership approaches, would enhance them signiicantly.
Very early in our development of this model, we achieved results that convinced us we were taking the best possible approach. On the way to turning ourselves into a “learning organization,” we improved productivity, achieved better quality, and strengthened our relationships with customers, employees, and society. We became a high-performance organization as measured in terms of service to stakeholders.
A second test of this book's developmental leadership framework happened in classrooms at the University of Toronto, in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, where for six years the leadership model presented here has been taught to undergraduate and graduate students through a course titled Leading and Leadership in Groups and Organizations. That experiment has succeeded: these aspiring leaders have embraced what that course has taught them and have beneited from it in their own measured opinion.
This is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, it signiies that material developed in an industrial environment has transposed well into an academic one. This is the reverse of what typically happens when intellectual material is presented. Second, if this book's premise is correct – that is, if all engineers, scientists, and technologists working in organizations around the world would beneit from acquiring leadership competence – then surely they should start doing so while they are still in school.