Results-Based Leadership: How Leaders Build the Business and Improve the Bottom Line

Article excerpt

by David Ulrich, Jack Zenger, and Norm Smallwood. Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (1999), ISBN 0875848710.

As we enter the new century, corporate leaders are increasingly pressured to make their operations more effective, adaptive, creative, and humane. These pressures are further exacerbated by the increasingly diverse demands of investors, customers, and employees. Results-Based Leadership provides leaders with tools to address these challenges and achieve visible and measurable results. The book does not offer quick fixes, nor does it use buzzwords that typify most leadership books or programs. Rather, it makes a clear statement about the next generation of leadership thinking and offers a new way of understanding and practicing leadership. The authors acknowledge the importance of character, style, and values in leadership, but they emphasize that these characteristics alone do not make a leader. They stress that leaders do more than simply demonstrate attributes, and argue that "attributes that don't drive or connect to results don't count." They make the point that both attributes and results are critical t o the creation of a "complete leadership brand" and describe how this leadership brand provides organizations with strategic advantages.

The authors are world-renowned experts in human resources and leadership development. Dave Ulrich is a professor at the University of Michigan, where he co-directs the Human Resource Executive Program. He is author of the best-selling book Human Resource Champions. Jack Zenger is president of Provant, an organizational and performance improvement firm, and previously co-founded Zenger-Miller, a leading management and leadership development company. He is co-author of the best-selling book Self-Directed Work Teams: The New American Challenge. Norm Smallwood is a managing director of Novations, a strategy, organization design, and change management consulting firm. He is co-author of Real-Time Strategy.

Given the credentials and expertise of the authors, it is not surprising that the book offers an effective mix of theory and practice. Of its eight chapters, the first two focus on the importance of integrating leadership attributes and results, and provide tools for the reader to measure leadership effectiveness and define desired results. …