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Knowledge Base - Consultation
Leadership: Terminology, Usage and Conceptual Scope – Leadership, organizationally and narrowly is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members. Organizationally, leadership directly impacts the effectiveness of costs, revenue generation, service, satisfaction, earnings, market value, share price, social capital, motivation, engagement, and sustainability. Leadership is the ability of an individual to set rules for others and lead from the front. It is an attitude that influences the environment around us. Leadership can have a formal aspect (as in most political or business leadership) or an informal one (as in most friendships). Speaking of "leadership" (the abstract term) rather than of "leading" (the action) usually implies that the entities doing the leading have some "leadership skills" or competencies.

The Psychology of Leadership
- One of the differentiating factors between Management and Leadership is the ability or even necessity to Inspire. A Leader, one who can instill passion and direction to an individual or group of individuals, will be using Psychology to affect that group either consciously or unconsciously. Those who seem to be "Natural Leaders" and effectively inspire groups without really knowing the strategies or tactics used are considered Charismatic Leaders. The conscious Leader on the other hand applies a variety of psychological tactics that affect the “reactions” of a group to the environment they exist in. In numerous "directive" (meaning to willfully direct) organizational psychology disciplines such as “Directive Communication” and theories like “The ripple effect”, leadership is a product of awareness and command of the reactions and influences of a group on the individual as well as the individual on the group. A Leader's successful application of directive organizational psychology by modifying specific leadership behaviors towards the group will yield an organizational culture that is in essence “inspired”. Leadership and Vision - Many definitions of leadership involve an element of vision - except in cases of involuntary leadership and often in cases of traditional leadership. A vision provides direction to the influence process. A leader (or group of leaders) can have one or more visions of the future to aid them to move a group successfully towards this goal. A vision, for effectiveness, should allegedly:
  • Appear as a simple, yet vibrant, image in the mind of the leader
  • Describe a future state, credible and preferable to the present state
  • Act as a bridge between the current state and a future optimum state
  • Appear desirable enough to energize followers
  • Succeed in speaking to followers at an emotional or spiritual level (logical appeals by themselves seldom muster a following)
For leadership to occur, according to this theory, some people ("leaders") must communicate the vision to others ("followers") in such a way that the followers adopt the vision as their own. Leaders must not just see the vision themselves; they must have the ability to get others to see it also. Numerous techniques aid in this process, including: narratives, metaphors, symbolic actions, leading by example, incentives, and penalties.
 
Effective Leadership - In comparing various leadership styles in many cultures, academic studies have examined the patterns in which leadership emerges and then fades, other ways in which it maintains its effectiveness, sometimes by natural succession according to established rules, and sometimes by the imposition of brute force. The simplest way to measure the effectiveness of leadership involves evaluating the size of the following that the leader can muster. By this standard, Adolf Hitler became a very effective leader for a period — even if through delusional promises and coercive techniques. However, this approach may measure power rather than leadership. To measure leadership more specifically, one may assess the extent of influence on the followers, that is, the amount of leading. Within an organizational context this means financially valuing productivity. Effective leaders generate higher productivity, lower costs, and more opportunities than ineffective leaders. Effective leaders create results, attain goals, realize vision and other objectives more quickly and at a higher level of quality than ineffective leaders. The functional leadership model conceives leadership as a set of behaviors that helps a group perform a task, reach their goal, or perform their function. In this model, effective leaders encourage functional behaviors and discourage dysfunctional ones. In the path-goal model of leadership, developed jointly by Martin Evans and Robert House and based on the "Expectancy Theory of Motivation", a leader has the function of clearing the path toward the goal(s) of the group, by meeting the needs of subordinates. Some commentators use the metaphor of an orchestral conductor to describe the quality of the leadership process. An effective leader resembles an orchestra conductor in some ways. He/she has to somehow get a group of potentially diverse and talented people - many of whom have strong personalities - to work together toward a common output. Will the conductor harness and blend all the gifts his or her players possess? Will the players accept the degree of creative expression they have? Will the audience enjoy the sound they make? The conductor may have a clear determining influence on all of these questions.
 
Mentor - Greek mythology, Mentor was the son of Alcumus and, in his old age, a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War, he placed Mentor in charge of his son, Telemachus, and of his palace. When Athena visited Telemachus she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus' mother Penelope. (See Odyssey Book II, lines 255 and 268.) When Odysseus returns to Ithaca, Athena (in the form of Mentor) takes the form of a swallow and the suitors' arrows have no effect on him. The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a book entitled "Les Adventures de Telemaque", by the French writer François Fénelon. In the book, the lead character is that of Mentor. This book was published in 1699 and was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication. This is the source of the modern use of the word mentor: a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person. Some professions have mentoring programs in which newcomers are paired with more experienced people in order to obtain good examples and advice as they advance, and schools sometimes have mentoring programs for new students or students who are having difficulties. Today, mentors provide their expertise to less experienced individuals in order to help them advance their careers, enhance their education, and build their networks.
 
Benefits of Engaging a Mentor - Many of the world's most successful people have benefited from having a mentor including Alexander the Great (Greek: Μέγας Aλέξανδρος, Megas Alexandros; July 20 356 BC – June 10 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, was an ancient Greek king (basileus) of Macedon (336–323 BC). He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks. Following the unification of the multiple city-states of ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon (a labor Alexander had to repeat because the southern Greeks rebelled after Philip's death), Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as the borders of Punjab. Before his death, Alexander had already made plans to also turn west and conquer Europe. He also wanted to continue his march eastwards in order to find the end of the world, since his boyhood tutor Aristotle had told him tales about where the land ends and the Great Outer Sea begins. Alexander integrated foreigners into his army, leading some scholars to credit him with a "policy of fusion." He encouraged marriage between his army and foreigners, and practiced it himself. After twelve years of constant military campaigning, Alexander died, possibly of malaria, West Nile virus, typhoid, viral encephalitis or the consequences of heavy drinking. His conquests ushered in centuries of Greek settlement and cultural influence over distant areas, a period known as the Hellenistic Age, a combination of Greek and Middle Eastern culture. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. After his death (and even during his life) his exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appears as a legendary hero in the tradition of Achilles.
 
Plato - Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher, the second of the great trio of ancient Greeks, succeeding Socrates and preceding Aristotle, who between them laid the philosophical foundations of Western culture. All are known to have been great teachers and mentors.  Plato was also a mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the western world. Plato is widely believed to have been a student of Socrates, and to have been as much influenced by his thinking as by what he saw as his teacher's unjust death. Plato's brilliance as a writer and thinker can be witnessed by reading his Socratic dialogues. Some of the dialogues, letters, and other works that are ascribed to him are considered spurious. Interestingly, although there is little question that Plato lectured at the Academy that he founded, the pedagogical function of his dialogues, if any, is not known with certainty. The dialogues have since Plato's time have been used to teach a range of subjects, mostly including philosophy, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, and other subjects about which he wrote.  Plato and Socrates - Plato made himself seem as though he were part of the Socratic entourage but never says so explicitly. In the Phaedo, the title character lists those who were in attendance at the prison on Socrates' last day and says "Plato was ill" (Phaedo 59b). In the Apology, Plato distances himself from the inner circle. Socrates says there that the brothers of several of his former associates are in the audience. He says that Adeimantus, brother to Plato, was present (Apology 34a). Adeimantus appears in the Republic as a disputant.
 
Strategic Planning - Strategic Planning is the formal consideration of an organization's future course. All strategic planning deals with at least one of three key questions:
  • What do we do?
  • For whom do we do it?
  • How do we excel?
In business strategic planning, the third question is better phrased "How can we beat or avoid competition?” In many organizations, this is viewed as a process for determining where an organization is going over the next year or more -typically 3 to 5 years, although some extend their vision to 20 years. In order to determine where it is going, the organization needs to know exactly where it stands, then determines where it wants to go and how it will get there. The resulting document is called the "strategic plan". It is also true that strategic planning may be a tool for effectively plotting the direction of a company; however, strategic planning itself cannot foretell exactly how the market will evolve and what issues will surface in the coming days in order to plan your organizational strategy. Therefore, strategic innovation and tinkering with the 'strategic plan' have to be a cornerstone strategy for an organization to survive the turbulent business climate.
 
Vision, Mission and Value
  • Vision: Defines where the organization wants to be in the future. It reflects the optimistic view of the organization's future.
  • Mission: Defines where the organization is going now, basically describing the purpose, why this organization exists. 
  • Values: Main values protected by the organization during the progression, reflecting the organization's culture and priorities.

Planning saves time; every minute spent in planning saves ten minutes in execution. The purpose of individual strategic planning is for you to increase your return on energy, the return on the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual capital you have invested in your life and career. Every minute an individual spends planning their goals, activities and time in advance saves ten minutes of work in the execution of those plans. Careful advance planning gives you a return of ten times, or 1,000%, on your investment of mental, emotional and physical energy.

Strategic Planning Methodologies - There are many approaches to strategic planning but typically a three-step process may be used:
  • Situation - evaluate the current situation and how it came about.
  • Target - define goals and/or objectives (sometimes called ideal state)
  • Path - map a possible route to the goals/objectives

One alternative approach is called Draw-See-Think:

  • Draw - what is the ideal image or the desired end state?
  • See - what is today's situation? What is the gap from ideal and why?
  • Think - what specific actions must be taken to close the gap between today's situation and the ideal state?

An alternative to the Draw-See-Think approach is called See-Think-Draw:

  • See - what is today's situation?
  • Think - define goals/objectives
  • Draw - what is the ideal image or the desired end state?

Draw - map a route to achieving the goals/objectives.  In other terms strategic planning can be as follows:

  • Vision - Define the vision and set a mission statement with hierarchy of goals
  • SWOT - According to the desired goals conduct analysis
  • Formulate - Formulate actions and processes to be taken to attain these goals
  • Implement - Implementation of the agreed upon processes
Situational Analysis - When developing strategies, analysis of the organization and its environment as it is at the moment and how it may develop in the future, is important. The analysis has to be executed at an internal level as well as an external level to identify all opportunities and threats of the new strategy. There are several factors to assess in the external situation analysis:
  • Markets (customers)
  • Competition
  • Technology
  • Supplier markets
  • Labor markets
  • The economy
  • The regulatory environment
It is rare to find all seven of these factors having critical importance. It is also uncommon to find that the first two - markets and competition - are not of critical importance. Analysis of the external environment normally focuses on the customer. Management should be visionary in formulating customer strategy, and should do so by thinking about market environment shifts, how these could impact customer sets, and whether those customer sets are the ones the company wishes to serve. Analysis of the competitive environment is also performed, many times based on the framework suggested by Michael Porter.
 
Litigation Support and Expert Witness - An expert witness is a witness, who by virtue of education, training, skill, or experience, is believed to have knowledge in a particular subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the witness specialized (scientific, technical or other) opinion about an evidence or fact issue within the scope of their expertise, referred to as the expert opinion, as an assistance to the fact-finder. Expert witnesses may also deliver expert evidence about facts from the domain of their expertise.
 
Experts in the Real World - Typically, experts are relied on by both sides of a dispute for opinions on severity of injury, degree of insanity, cause of failure in a machine or other device, loss of earnings, care costs and the like. The tribunal itself, or the judge, can in some systems call upon experts to technically evaluate a certain fact or action, in order to provide the court with a complete knowledge on the fact/action it is judging. The expertise has the legal value of an acquisition of data. The results of these experts are then compared to those by the experts of the parties. The expert has heavy responsibility, especially in penal trials, and perjury by an expert is a severely punished crime in most countries. The use of expert witnesses is sometimes criticized in the United States because in civil trials, they are often used by both sides to advocate differing positions, and it is left up to a jury of laymen to decide which expert witness to believe. Sometimes one side has utilized an expert witness to provide fraudulent or junk science testimony in order to convince a jury. In England and Wales, under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, an expert witness is required to be independent and address his or her report to the Court. A witness may be jointly instructed by both sides if the parties agree to this. Under the CPR, expert witnesses may also be instructed to produce a joint statement detailing points of agreement and disagreement to assist the court or tribunal. In most systems, the trial (or the procedure) can be suspended in order to allow the experts to study the case and produce their results. The earliest known use of an expert witness in English law came in 1782, when a court that was hearing litigation relating to the silting-up of Wells harbor in Norfolk accepted evidence from a leading civil engineer, John Smeaton. This decision by the court to accept Smeaton's evidence is widely cited as the root of modern rules on expert evidence.
 
Non-Testifying Experts - In the U.S., a party can hire experts to help him/her evaluate the case. For example, a car maker may hire an experienced mechanic to decide if its cars were built to specification. This kind of expert opinion will be protected from discovery. If the expert finds something that is against its client, the opposite party will not know it. This privilege is similar to the work product protected by the attorney/client privilege.
 
Testifying Experts - If the witness needs to testify in court, the privilege is no longer protected. The expert witness identity and nearly all documents used to prepare the testimony will become discoverable. Usually an experienced lawyer will advise the expert not to take notes on documents because all of the notes will be available to the other party. Although experts can testify in any case in which their expertise is relevant, criminal cases are more likely to use forensic scientists or forensic psychologists, whereas civil cases, such as personal injury, may use forensic accountants, employment consultants or care experts. Senior physicians, usually consultants or their equivalents are frequently used in both the civil and criminal courts.
 
"Within 3 years, John Nelson expanded domestic and international revenues from under $1MM to over $12MM – a truly remarkable feat."
 
- Keith Hall
Co-Owner, CaseMasters, Inc.
 
 
 
 
 

   

 

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