Tell Employees What You Want Them to Strive for (in as Few Words as Possible)
- Published: Friday, 23 February 2018 07:37
Leadership is leadership--in a company like Microsoft or in your school. The ability to provide a clear, concise message to your staff is an essential leadership skill. It applies to something as broad as a mission statement to informational memos to teacher feedback. JP Leadership Development provides strategies that help!
When Joe Whittinghill came into his role as general manager for talent, learning, and insight at Microsoft, the tech giant’s leadership model was characteristically thorough. There were eight competencies leaders needed to succeed, 10 behaviors that marked inclusive diversity, five things employees had to do in order to flourish, and over 100 skills you needed to train on, depending on your profession. These components “were not memorable,” Whittinghill said. “They were exhaustive.”
As part of Microsoft’s cultural refresh, Whittinghill — along with CEO Satya Nadella and chief people officer Kathleen Hogan — partnered with us at the NeuroLeadership Institute to revisit Microsoft’s leadership principles. After about a year of thinking things through, we went from over 100 competencies to three big ideas: Create clarity, generate energy, deliver success.
This is what you might call a radical departure, especially for a company that put a personal computer on every desk through painstaking thoroughness. “There is a dramatic leap of faith needed to agree that you don’t need to be complex to be complete,” Whittinghill says.
Today those leadership principles, which premiered in mid-2016, have spread across the company. “Clarity,” “energy,” and “success” have become part of the way Microsoft talks to itself about itself.
For anyone interested in developing leadership — in themselves, in their companies — it’s a huge lesson. Whether you’re in talent management, human capital, or learning design, it’s crucial to understand that for employees to make the most of any sort of internal branding, leadership principles, cultural values, company strategies, and the like have to be designed with the brain in mind.
- If principles are going to be used, they have to be easy to remember
- But becoming easy to remember is hard to do
- Why pithy principles can better guide decisions