Zero Defect Management: Sid Siegel

The Child Within Us: Michael Gelb

IRS and Non-Profits

Corporate Angels

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These articles by Melinda Sherwood were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on October 6, 1999. All rights reserved.

Leaders, Not Managers: Debbie Berman

Contrary to the old adage, leaders are not born, they

are made, and Debbie Berman can tell you how. "I think that

leadership is not something that gets bestowed on you because you

have a title," says Berman, an instructor for Leadership 2000,

a workshop series sponsored by the Rutgers Center for Continuing Professional

Development. "It’s more something that you build and earn, anything

less than that is not true and lasting leadership."

"Coaching: Bringing out the Best in Others," is a Leadership

2000 workshop scheduled on Friday, October 8, at 8:30 a.m. at the

University Inn and Conference Center in New Brunswick. The cost is

$295 for a full day and $150 for a half day. "Giving Recognition,"

a workshop on acknowledging the work of others, will be held on Friday

at 1:30 p.m. Other topics covered in the series through the end of

October: Influencing for Win-Win Outcomes, Moving from Conflict to

Collaboration, Expressing Yourself: Presenting Your Thoughts and Ideas,

Proactive Listening, Personal Strategies for Navigating Change, and

Managing Your Priorities. Call: 732-932-8274.

Berman, who holds a BS in sociology and psychology from the University

of Pennsylvania, Class of 1978, practiced human resources at Citibank

and ADP before starting her own management consulting business. Her

practice is located in Mahwah (E-mail: BZB@carroll.com).

What makes a good leader? "The ability to listen and consider

alternatives," says Berman, "and the ability to inspire and

influence other people." In essence, leaders make wonderful managers,

but unfortunately, not every manager is an effective leader. "We

promote people to managers because they’re technically good,"

says Berman. "We don’t really have guidelines or rule books on

how to lead people."

In the silence, people tend to create their own definition of leadership,

often equating it with dictatorship. That tends to backfire. "The

most effective leaders are the ones who build trust, loyalty, and

respect among their teams," says Berman. "More often they

get what they need." It takes only one Napoleon to capture Europe,

and one tyrant manager to destroy morale throughout a company. "If

a head of a company has an old school mentality and military approach

it does set the tone," says Berman, and all the good leaders are

quashed. "Anyone who goes into an organization with these other

types of values is bucking the system and working doubly hard."

Today, says Berman, managers have to be able to work laterally as

well as vertically. "We don’t have direct hierarchy like we used

to," she says. "It’s department-to-department, peer-to-peer,

so you need to communicate effectively, and get what you need."

For the newly appointed or aspiring manager, Berman outlines the basic

principles to successful leadership:

Let others solve problems. "Don’t think that you have

to have all the answers," says Berman. It may go against the "manager

as God" philosophy, but in most cases, she says, "the person

who is best equipped to solve a problem is the person with the problem.

There’s a benefit in getting people to grow and develop their problem

solving skills." On the other hand, if a person is struggling,

don’t play the `guess the answer in my head’ game.

Learn the art of asking questions because that’s how you

coach people to find their own information. Ask questions like "What

if" and "What other information do I need" in order to

direct people’s energy, stir the creative juices, and keep your employees

engaged.

Understand your "audience," which translates into

frequently asking the question "What’s in it for them?" Instead

of explaining why a new plan is good from a managerial perspective,

tell those who it will affect why it works for them, too. "If

you’re asking people to do something that’s hard, for example, they’re

going to resist," says Berman. "But if you explain that it

will help them serve their customers better and appear more competent

it will appeal to them."

Focus on behavior, not a person when giving constructive

criticism. Talk about the impact of the negative behavior. Criticizing

the person, says Berman, "doesn’t change anything."

Don’t avoid conflict. "Conflict, when it’s managed

correctly," says Berman, "generates creativity and change.

Thinking out of the box — it really helps people strengthen relationships."

— Melinda Sherwood

Top Of Page
Zero Defect Management: Sid Siegel

What does putting a man on the moon have to do with

running a business? Management expertise that can break through just

about any logistical barrier. The Apollo Space Program is still considered

one of the greatest managerial accomplishments of all time, and fortunately,

the knowledge gained from that extraordinary venture is stockpiled

in books and in the mind of Sid Siegel, a former NASA research

fellow and professor of management and organizational behavior at

Drexel University. "The concept behind the whole NASA research

program is that if the U.S. could be as successful at managing a project

as complicated as landing on the moon, then perhaps that process should

be studied and those management techniques could be applied."

The projected outcome of that mission dictated its place in the management

textbooks. "Probably one of the most unique characteristics about

the Apollo program is the mandate by Kennedy that there would be no

failure because he wasn’t going to risk the lives of the astronauts,"

says Siegel. "It was going to operate with zero defects; everything

was going to work. When you consider that there were a thousand companies

with various subparts, that’s an amazing thing."

For the vast number of companies that employ contract workers for

massive projects, much can still be learned from that era. Many of

the lessons learned have become academic dogma at Drexel, where Siegel

has been on the faculty since 1979. "Motivation and Leadership:

Understanding and Influencing People at Work," will be the topic

of Siegel’s workshop on Tuesday, October 12, at 9 a.m. in the Janice

Levin Building on Rockafeller Road at the Rutgers Center for Management

Development in Piscataway. Cost: $295. Call 732-445-5526.

"It’s designed for anyone whose role in an organization is to

try to get things done through other people," says Siegel. "Many

organizations rely on contractors or contingency workers on their

labor force. That brings up the issue of how do you integrate full

time employees with those who are there for a short time? How do you

deal with the learning curve?"

Siegel holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Duke University,

Class of 1958, and worked for both RCA and Corning Glass Works before

completing a PhD at Drexel, where he specializes in technology, organizational

behavior and management, public administration, and environmental

management.

One of the reasons the moon landing succeeded, says Siegel, is that

the traditional hierarchy was set aside so that the "doers"

could work alongside the managers. "Instead of the traditional

concept of goals being set by the top and the people below having

to implement them," says Siegel, "it was a bottoms-up process,

where they integrated the doers, the people back in the flight centers

who had to carry out plans, with the planners. That created a drive

to make sure the plans work."

The "zero defect" program was accomplished using a basic psychological

principle, says Siegel: "Anyone who has a say in whatever is being

done is more committed generally to making sure that it happens."

Many other management practices were tried during that era. Choosing

the best among them, Siegel suggests managers:

Take a meta-position. Step back and look at the circumstances

and understand the type of manager you are. "Understand your own

tendencies and be able to step back and realize where they aren’t

appropriate," he says.

Realize that your way isn’t the only way. There are many

different ways to do a job.

Mentor, nurture, and develop those that work for you.

"In the end, the success of any manager is going to be determined

by the people that work for her or him," says Siegel. "Even

if you want to look at it selfishly, it behooves you to spend the

most time possible with your people."

Understand that managers have a set of social rules. "Too

many first line supervisors have trouble recognizing that they can’t

behave the same way they did before because now they are part of a

different structure," says Siegel. "It is more important for

your people to respect you than to like you. If you try to run your

organization by having people like you, then any time you have to

do things that people may not like, you will not be comfortable in

doing that."

Be fair, consistent, and treat people how they want to be

treated . The key here is that not everyone needs to be treated

in the same way, says Siegel. "Some people need more supervision,

other people need to be treated more by giving them the ball,"

he says.

Don’t squelch conflict. "Use conflict to create a

consensus," Siegel says. "Get people with conflicting viewpoints

together, rather than keeping them apart," and use whatever differences

there are to create a synergistic effect.

Avoid "group think." "In group think, the

nature of the group is that everybody is similar and therefore this

leads to a reinforcement of thinking because everybody agrees,"

says Siegel.

"Say I put a group of people who all own Chevys and ask

them to come up with a decision on what may be a leading car on a

market. Obviously they’re all going to say a Chevy."

Encouraging differing opinions was also a key element to the Apollo

project. "In NASA you weren’t afraid of `group think’ but you

did have to manage it effectively. We may have been just lucky."

Top Of Page
The Child Within Us: Michael Gelb

To be a good business man or woman, you also have to

be a good artist, scientist, and athlete, says Michael Gelb,

author of "How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci" (Delacorte,

1998, $24.95). "Leonardo was looking for truth and beauty, in

science and art, and that’s a very important skill for people —

to see the big picture."

A short-cut to emulating the classic Renaissance man, the "greatest

genius of all-time," says Gelb, is thinking more like a child.

"Wake up that childlike passion for learning," he says. "People

get more focused on trying to get the right answer rather than continuing

the process of asking questions. You can’t ignore the difficulties,

challenges, and competitive element of our world, but if you get cynical

and cold, and deadened to the world, what’s the point in succeeding?

How can you keep alive that openness, that joie de vivre?"

Gelb, a leader in the field of creative thinking and accelerated learning,

has been teaching workshops at big corporations like General Motors

for the past two decades. His Leonardo theory for gaining a competitive

edge through youthful thinking is the focal point of his presentation

Monday, October 11, at 7:30 p.m. at Bucks County Community College.

Call the Hamilton Partnership, a municipal business organization,

for more information: 609-259-5899.

If there’s any proof that Gelb’s technique to better living through

brighter thinking works, it’s that he’s never held a job he didn’t

like. "I’ve managed to follow my own passions and I continue to

make that relevant to other people," says Gelb, who grew up in

New Jersey and received a BA in psychology and philosophy from Clark

University, Class of 1973. His master’s thesis at Goddard College

turned into Gelb’s first book, "Body Learning," an introduction

to the bodywork technique created by F.M. Alexander. The Alexander

Technique is well known among performing artists who want to learn

how to decompress under stress. "It’s become a trade secret of

the theatrical profession," says Gelb, who is also a professional

juggler. In 1979 a friend asked him to participate in a five-day seminar

for Digital Equipment Corporation, the multinational high-tech company,

and since then Gelb has been teaching employees of big companies how

to enhance their memory, study skills, and creativity.

Leonardo da Vinci, the painter, the architect, and juggler, Gelb points

out, became a touchstone to an ideal in thinking. "I got this

idea about writing a book on Leonardo da Vinci when I was speaking

in Florence," he recalls. "I knew enough about Leonardo, but

to actually deliver the paper meant being open to a lot of uncertainty.

I read through several thousand pages, all the time leaving my mind

open. I didn’t try to solve the problem prematurely. I stayed with

the question. There’s a technique I teach in my book called mind mapping,

and the seven principles came out of that haze, that uncertainty."

The Seven Principles (in Italian and English):

Curiosita: The Never-Ending Quest for Learning. "Leonardo

was probably the most curious man who ever lived," says Gelb,

"and that’s why children are such great learners. Children don’t

have that false pride where they’re more concerned about being right

than exploring." Ask the question. The answer will come.

Dimostrazione: Think For Yourself. Figure out what this

one means.

Sensazione: Wake Up All Your Senses. "Leonardo said

that the five senses are the ministers of your soul," he says.

"I have exercises that help people listen to music, appreciate

art, do wine tastings. It’s really a lot of fun."

Arte scienza: Balance art and Science. "In modern

terms we call it whole brain thinking," says Gelb.

Corporalita: Balance Body and Mind. "In addition to

being an artistic genius, he was also physically gifted, and gave

advice similar to what a holistic doctor might give today," says

Gelb.

Connessione: Everything is Connected to Everything Else.

Look for the universal themes in everything.

Sfumato, Going Up In Smoke. This is an art term to refer

to the hazy mysterious quality in Leonardo’s paintings, like the Mona

Lisa, says Gelb. "What it represents is the idea that if you’re

going to be curious and think for yourself, the result will be more

questions and more uncertainty. And one of the most distinguishing

characteristics of highly creative people is to be open to the unknown.

If you follow these principles, will you stand out like a juggler

at a chamber meeting? Only because you will be more effective, says

Gelb. "The external appearance is not important. It’s the quality

of your inner life that’s important," says Gelb. Besides, you’ll

convey an air of mystery that will keep people constantly intrigued.

"The more I studied about Leonardo the greater the mystery became."

Top Of Page
IRS and Non-Profits

Have you always wondered how your favorite charity kept

its books? What percentage of its funds go for frills? A new public

disclosure rule requires that non-profit organizations make copies

of their Form 990 and 990-EZ more readily available to the public,

by providing copies of their three most recent annual returns with

their exempt application to an organization that requests it within

30 days of the request. The rules, in the IRC section 6104 (d), can

be viewed at the http://www.independentsector.org

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels

The Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey,

which held its 16th Annual Golf Classic on September 13, raised more

money for the Special Olympics of New Jersey this year than in prior

years. The total amount, $29,200, will be used to support year-round

sports training and athletic competition for 12,000 children and adults

with developmental disabilities. Call 800-366-NJSO.

Governor Christine Whitman announced a new program that

will provide $7.4 million in grants for new computers and technology

in disadvantaged school districts. The ACE program (Access-Collaboration-Equity)

will provide grants ranging from $85,000 to $200,00 to 50 recipients

in the 2000-2001 school year. Prudential will fund a development person

to work with selected schools and identify sources of funding and

in-kind donations, and the business community, through Tech Corps

New Jersey and the Business Coalition for Education Excellence, will

help the schools implement support staff for the computers, which

will go in libraries, housing complexes, schools, and community centers.

Call 609-777-2600.

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