I understand why CEO’s and, by extension, their executive teams care about results. In public companies, their jobs literally depend on board approval. But outcomes are neither customer-focused nor team-focused. Instead, great leaders are able to instill in their teams a passion for the process of value creation, with each team member controlling what he can control, and have the confidence that these processes will create good outcomes. It’s silly to set goals like being the “biggest,” because the the biggest isn’t a controllable goal at all, but rather an outcome.
Lately I’ve become really interested in the concept of our three intelligences outlined by Diana Chapman, author of The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. We almost always focus on intellectual intelligence (IQ), because that is what our entire lifetime of schooling has taught us to focus on, and this is where analytical outcomes live. But the very best leaders are also equally comfortable drawing from their other two intelligence centers–emotional intelligence (EQ) and body intelligence (BQ). This means that they can supplement hard data with instinct (BQ), with a constant finger on the pulse of how their teams feel about their direction (EQ).
When leaders are overly focused on outcomes, risks stop being taken and innovation stops happening. It’s quite easy to take small swings make incremental improvements–after all, you don’t get fired for buying IBM. But this is a leadership style that, throughout history, has led to companies and industries being disrupted by hungry new startups with nothing to lose.
This is where EQ comes into play. Without question, leaders are evaluated by the various scorecards that exist–stock price, quarterly sales, etc. But the best leaders will know that, tangibly, these are things that an individual team member doesn’t have much control over. Accordingly, they can build a culture of evaluating process and practice, and understand that the pressure associated with the scoreboard is part of the deal of having a higher salary grade.