Management & Organizational Design


This is perhaps the broadest of the interest areas, because Management and OD practitioners can find themselves dealing with issues across the broad sweep of an organization, from clarifying an organization’s vision, mission, and values to reengineering the entire work site, to helping to unite an international multi-cultural business team. Those of us who work in this area stand on the shoulders of giants from the past like Kurt Lewin and decades of experiential learning developed at NTL and elsewhere. Warren Buffet tells us that Organizational Development is “a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of an entire organization, so it can better adapt to new technologies and changes in the marketplace.” That pretty much sums it up. Those of us who work in this area help to develop high performance organizations.

Leader Bio:

William C. Jeffries is the leader of the Type and Management and Organization Development interest area.

William C. Jeffries is the leader of the Type and Management and Organization Development interest area.

William C. Jeffries is an international consultant and Executive Coach who specializes in human and organizational behavior. He has been a soldier, scholar, university professor, editor, business leader, and trusted personal coach for prominent leaders around the world. Currently, as the President and CEO of Executive Strategies International, Inc., he leads a diverse team of consultants with interdisciplinary backgrounds that bring global perspectives to the workplace of the future. His undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point were in engineering and management, his post-graduate work in Germany was in nuclear engineering, and his graduate work at Duke University was in language, literature, and values. His clientele includes a Who’s Who of Fortune 500 Companies, professional athletes, senior business leaders, military leaders, and political leaders in forty-three countries. His international consulting company, Executive Strategies International, coaches and provides team building, diversity, negotiation skills, strategic planning, and innovation training around the world for over 80 of the Fortune 500 Companies.

In 2008, Bill and his company were awarded the prestigious Keeping America Strong Award by William Shatner and Admiral Kevin Delaney, on Shatner’s Heartbeat of America Cable TV Special, for his acclaimed success at helping American business recover from the effects of 911.

Bill has written on subjects as diverse as New Business Development, Business High Performance, Organizational Change, Russian Literature, Human Ethnology, War and Morality, Poetry, Professional Ethics, English composition, Psychological Type, and the Development of High Performance Teams. His book entitled, Still True To Type is widely used in several countries as an organizational leader’s guide to personality diversity, and his book, Taming the Scorpion: Preparing Business for the Third Millennium, is used by several companies as a leader’s guide to developing High Performance Organizations. The profiles of leadership styles available in his Profiles of the Sixteen Personality Types have been hailed as the best portraits available on Jungian personality styles. His book, Hannibal, Hummers, and Hot Air Balloons: High Performance Strategies for Tough Times, lays out a strategy for creating high performance during times of tremendous business change and transition. His novel, Trap Door to the Dark Side, is a fictional memoir, set in the secret war in Laos and Vietnam in the 1960’s, and Spirit of the Oryx, is a spy novel set in the Qatar, the UAE, and Virginia. His latest novel, Concord, is a tale of international terrorism and political intrigue, spanning Switzerland, Russia, France, and Washington, DC.

Bill also spent twenty-four years in the United States Army, serving in several countries, including Germany, South East Asia, Latin America, Greece, and the United States as a unit commander, military advisor, joint staff officer, and military scholar. For seven years, he was an associate professor at West Point teaching language, literature, and professional ethics, and for six years served as a seminar leader and Professor of Ethics at ASFC, part of National Defense University. There he taught Joint Operations and worked with managers from 17 federal agencies and military and political leaders from 42 countries to understand combined military operations, strategic planning, the DOD weapons acquisition process, the need for inter-service planning, political collaboration, personal mastery, and international team work.

Currently, in addition to his international consulting and executive coaching activities, Bill teaches in the graduate business schools of several prominent universities including UCSD, Georgia Tech, The University of Pittsburgh, and the universities of Education City in Qatar. For 11 years he was the most acclaimed lecturer at The Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and for over twenty years has been the most highly rated speaker in Carnegie Mellon University’s Executive Education programs.

Bill is affiliated with several scholarly and professional organizations including The International Coaching Federation, The American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium, The Association of Psychological Type, The Association for the Management of Organizational Design, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, The Caring Foundation, and The Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics.

Bill currently lives in Zionsville, Indiana, USA, with his wife and their youngest son, where he coaches Pop Warner Football in the fall and the city’s award winning all star baseball team in the spring. In the winter, they live in Park City, Utah, and can all be found skiing the deep powder of the Wasatch Mountains.  He can be reached at Executive Strategies International, Inc

Blog Articles:


Creating Culture:  Cliff Notes for the Process

Spring has sprung, even here in formerly flyover country in Indiana. Some of our hearts may turn this season to things romantic, but many of our members’ efforts have apparently turned to new and challenging assignments. In my role as the OD guru for APTi, I have received five requests in the last two weeks for a simple formula for helping organizations create a culture of success.


Oh, that there were such a thing! My last book on the topic, Culture and High Performance:  Creating a World Class Business and Organizational Culture, dedicated 350 pages in an effort to answer that question. Let me try it here in this blog in less than three.

My basic premise is that one size does not fit all, but there are six things we as type savvy consultants can encourage to enrich the conversation and ensure that key elements do not get lost in the shuffle. These are not what philosophers might call “sufficient” conditions, but they are at least “necessary;” without them you are doomed to failure.

All great organizations have a clearly articulated Vision of what success looks like and a well-defined set of core Values which must impact every business venture and organizational endeavor.  High Performance organizations are Vision and Values led. A wise man once said, “Without a vision the people perish.” That statement is just as true today. The time frame for achieving that Vision will necessarily vary, based on the technology or industry sector, but employees must have a well-defined (simple, short, and memorable) picture of what succeeding looks like, stated in present tense action verbs. The Values help employees know what is important and how customers and stakeholders can trust them to behave as they meet their stakeholders’ needs. If there are more than five to seven Values, the organization has made the process too complex.

Whereas the Vision must describe the Who, What, When, Where, and Why the organization exists, the separate Mission Statement includes just the “How:” in short, how, specifically, the organization will achieve the Vision. In terms we, who value the insights of psychological type appreciate, the Vision is mostly “N” and the Mission Statement is primarily “S”. Please forgive me for not stating which is (i) and which is (e). That esoteria simply over complexifies the process. Expect folks with these preferences to take the lead in helping define the approach.  The Core Values must be both “T” and “F.” In facilitating the process, your task is to ensure that both preferences are represented, regardless of the technology and the predominant types present in the organization.

So, you have taken a couple days to develop the Vision, Values, and Mission Statement, the next step is to help the organization create an appropriate set of Operating Principles (Norms) members will use on a routine basis to work together. These Principles will differ depending on whether the organization is more traditionally located or virtual in orientation, but it is critical to describe these Principles and hold one another accountable for following them. Be sure to have all MBTI® types represented in the Principles outlined.

What remains are two aspects of organizational culture often neglected. Some individuals, more often than not “SJ’s” and “SP’s, need to know their specific Roles within the organization. Having these Roles delineated is generally unnecessary for “NT’s” and many “NF’s” who would much rather let them unfold as the situation requires. These Roles are best developed within individual functional areas or business units and then sorted out in the larger group to eliminate overlaps and duplications.

Last, but certainly not least, are the Metrics an organization should routinely monitor and make known throughout the organization to guarantee it is on the path to achieve its Mission. If there are more than just four or five metrics, you have let the quality process, safety procedures, HR diversity needs, and many other intangibles seep into the process. Help the organization pick things it can actually measure and hold employees accountable for advertising their success throughout the organization.  

Do these six aspects of an organization’s life amount to the sum total of a culture? No, of course not, but a culture cannot exist in their absence. Every organization has a culture. The only question is, will the existing culture be supportive or will it undermine the organization’s success? If the culture is allowed just to happen, to morph into existence of its own accord, it will usually be destructive.

It is the leader’s job to create the culture most conducive to the success of the organization.

Bill Jeffries, INTJ

[email protected]


Why Change Management Routinely Fails


I confess that whenever I see an ad for a “Change Management expert,” I wince. I fully understand that our profession is full of consultants and trainers advertising such credentials; you may be one, yourself. Let me explain briefly why I believe it to be a mistake and why, with our clients, we prefer the label or imprimatur of Change Leadership consultants. Even though in a previous life I taught English at West Point and Duke University, the distinction is far more than just a word game. As Kurt Lewin, the father of modern Gestalt Psychology, Organizational Change, and Force Field Analysis taught us, the change process involves just three steps:  Unfreezing, Change, and Refreezing. It all sounds so simple, but it is probably the most complex organizational issue that leaders must confront. When an organization merely attempts to “manage” the change process, that approach assumes that there are forces outside anyone’s control that are coercing the change; consequently, the whole affair becomes purely reactive. The organization is seen as a victim (a status that too many seem to prefer these days) that must simply “respond” to changes rather than articulate responsible ones. The latter effort takes real guts. This distinction is far more than just linguistic; it is a philosophical one. Responsible leaders do not just react to imposed or assumed cultural, governmental, economic, or environmental changes.

High performers…Lead the change process.

Recognizing what to unfreeze and what to change is not an easy task. That is why the best change leadership takes place under the guidance of an outsider to the organization. When one is an internal consultant, she or he necessarily becomes part of the system. Their loyalties are divided and because they are part of the organization, by implication, become loyally responsible for helping to maintain the status quo. As we preach in our creativity seminars, “It is hard to see the picture when you are inside the frame.” Much as does an effective managerial or executive coach, an effective OD manager—a Change Leadership Guru—must be able to speak the truth without unnecessary concern for the consequences of how the organization’s leadership might respond to such truths.

The other critical advantage an outsider has is the ability to work with a multitude of systems and technologies from other industries or nonprofit organizations, that can be adapted and enhanced to help an organization change effectively. An internal consultant can have impeccable credentials, an impressive academic pedigree, and the best of intentions, but she or he is necessarily limited by their experiential base. They can be very well read in the literature, but such knowledge has its finite limitations. As becomes clear to me each season as I work with the NFL, I can have had a very good college football career and read all the books I can find about how to throw a football and how to read a defense, but come Sunday in the fall, I will not be mistaken for # 12 Aaron Rodgers or #18 Peyton Manning.

# 11 Bill Jeffries, INTJ


Generational Jingoism


Not too many years ago, Norm Augustine, prominent business leader and former CEO of Lockheed Martin, observed that the current generation of college graduates entering the workplace “is the most credentialed and least prepared to work” that he had ever seen. Yes, he is a generational Traditionalist (by definition, born before 1945), but more importantly someone charged by his shareholders with the leadership of one of the largest corporations in the world, generating results, and making money. He further observed that the new generational group entering the workforce, Millennials, requires at least two years of on-the-job training and work experience before they are capable of contributing to the bottom line.  

Whether his comments are a critique of the struggling North American education system where STEM fields go wanting in favor of softer, often required general education courses in social justice, or merely an observation of how some generational groups approach their work is probably best left for a different article. The point is that Traditionalists (born 1900-1945) and Boomers (born 1946-64), and to a growing degree those in Generation X—Gen X’ers (born 1965-1980), too often experience Millennials (born 1981-2000) as over-indulged, unfocussed, ego-centric, net-centric (tribal) but not organizationally loyal employees, who are the first generation that expects the workplace and organizational hierarchy to morph to their expectations and world views rather than applying their energies to go to work in the existing organization. These criticisms may not be valid, but they are those usually leveled by the media.

Having been coddled and watched over by their parents, who often changed partners as frequently as Millennials will change jobs, they are accustomed to being praised and rewarded both in the classroom and athletic fields, not for excelling or winning—God forbid someone should win and others lose and have their precious self-esteem damaged—but just for showing up. They are nonplussed to discover that on the job, in the career, or as part of a profession, one does not get a participation trophy for finishing ninth, but gets rewarded only for winning and besting others in their organization or market place. Increased self-esteem isn’t the issue; achieving success, usually financial, is.

Now, if I have been successful, some of you are steamed already and mentally preparing to send me flame mail or a gaggle of tweets. I would just ask you to read to the end and see if you still find my observations uninformed and odious.

Leaving Psychological Type aside for the nonce, here is the dilemma. Aside from a few California-based ventures and hot IPOs spawned by uncommonly precient Ivy League or Stanford roomies, most large and complex organizations have a similar structure, roughly based on old military models from the early 19th century time frame.


There is a CEO or President at the top. Reporting to that position are several EVP’s and VP’s holding traditional roles of Human Resources, Training, Finance, Legal, Marketing, Operations, R&D, Sales, and a few others depending on the nature of the company’s business. These individuals are generally referred to collectively as C-Suite executives. They owe their allegiance to the Board of Directors who “assist” them in decision making or advise them on significant issues, and occasionally a Founder who can exert different levels of influence depending on her or his stature in the industry or continued financial involvement with the business. Reporting to these individuals are the functional heads, usually General Managers, and reporting to them are Business Directors. Further down the hierarchy are the Middle Managers, Supervisors, Leads, and sometimes Team Leaders and Project managers. Oh, and then there are the bulk of employees scrambling to get visibility on the right project and right team to earn their stripes to make it into some supervisory role. If the business is unionized, add further levels of complexity of either leadership or impedance, as well as a further clash of generational differences, with Boomer Business agents, Gen X stewards, and rank and file union members spanning all generations, but predominantly Millennials.

It is the clash of these different levels of organizational hierarchy, each valuing primarily the ethos of their age, where generational issues really get interesting. Morris Massey, years ago, produced a whole series of films entitled, generally, What You Are is Where You Were When. While much of the content is dated and stops about 25 years ago, Massey’s thesis that the ages in which we matured, the events that occurred in our youth, and the societal values we observed at young ages contributed mightily to how we act as we do is still apt. With rare exceptions, the Founder will be a Traditionalist, placing value on the organization’s history and traditions, seeking a business with stability and a good reputation, expecting there to be clearly defined rules, ethics, and procedures and offering jobs and careers providing stability and products and services that generate profits for the various stakeholders or shareholders. If you know your MBTI® lexicon, while all “types” can be successful at this level, these individuals are overwhelmingly TJ’s.

The Board of Directors will usually be a mixture of these same Traditionalists and Boomers, supporting and offering guidance to a generational Baby Boomer serving as CEO and often COO and CFO. These leaders will have clear expectations about how to become a star performer and, anxious to please the board and/or Founder, will go the extra mile to accomplish the mission. They appear to be good team players and want to be part of a winning team. In their minds there are clear winners and losers at every turn, be it securing market share, getting new products out the door, striking a valuable merger, or succeeding in positions of leadership. As long as the jobs are getting done and the company is making money, individuals can take care of their own personal development. They strive to break job assignments into clearly delineated roles and functions and expect others to do so as well. Usually they expect their subordinates to respect their positions and work independently and innovatively to fulfill their designated roles. Most were reared by intact families with one male and one female parent, in a day when gender descriptions included only male and female, and these distinctions were not derogatory terms under assault or dependent on choice or fluidity. They have been parented and mentored by generational Traditionalists, and, while the sexual revolution of the 60’s, the gloomy shadow of the Berlin Wall, the disillusionment of the Vietnam War, the libertine excesses of Woodstock, and the exciting launch of space travel colored their upbringings, they always heard in the background the echoes of, “a penny saved is a penny earned,”  “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today,” “God helps those who help themselves,” and other shibboleths murmured by their Traditionalist teachers.

These same Boomers comprise the majority of VP’s and General Managers (about 60% TJ’s) in large and complex organizations today; hence, regardless of their “types,” they expect employees to be glad to have a job, show up on time, work as long as necessary to get the job done, be loyal to the company and their “superiors,” and expect to be rewarded for success and passed over for promotion or fired for failure. Furthermore, they expect employees to be invested in the company’s success not looking for ways to move on to other jobs and businesses to further their personal goals. They didn’t have to remind employees to keep their phones turned off during the work hours, not to play solitaire, Angry Birds, or Words With Friends on their iPhones and iPads, or to engage continuously in scanning social media sites while on the job, because there were no such things when they grew up. No participation trophies for this generation. Their parents taught them that such an expectation was narcissistic.

Enter the Gen X’ers. This breed of often forward thinking, dynamic leaders tend to people the ranks of middle management, supervisors, and team Leads. If they can’t see a reason for a task, they will most likely question it as well as the credentials of the person issuing the directive. Once they get that reason, they will work diligently to be successful. Unlike many in the previous generation, they expect to be promoted for merit, not just for seniority. While they do not necessarily reject rules, they are more suspicious of organizations and their power than either Traditionalists or Baby Boomers. They tend to be eager to learn, good at sticking with a task, and determined multi taskers. Given the right tools, they will do a good job but have constructed a very portable resume which they keep updated in their desk drawer at all times, just in case something better pops up. Whereas Traditionalists expected to stay with the same company and same industry their entire life, Gen X’ers watched their parents and teachers (the Baby Boomers) move between companies 2 or 3 times during their careers, although usually in the same industry. They improved upon that flexibility and will often change jobs as well as industries and organizational models 3, 4, or 5 times during their lifetime.

Reporting to all these middle-aged and more senior rascals are the Millennials, who have been watched over, doted on, and protected by Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers for their entire lives. Often raised in merged or single parent Boomer or Gen X families, they couldn’t even walk to school or play in a park 2 blocks from home without the police being called and parents having their authority and moral outlook questioned by meddling neighbors and local Child Protective Services. In an earlier time, Boomers and Gen X’ers would roam the neighborhoods on their own looking for pickup basketball or baseball games and then meet at public parks or in the streets to play self-officiated games. They were independent operators from a very young age. Some, as early as middle school, would even leave the house after breakfast on Saturday morning (I confess to having been one myself) with their only parental admonition to be home by dark. They shot at each other with fingers, sticks, and plastic guns playing cowboys and Indians (sorry, these folks never heard of Native Americans) and, God forbid, “War,” where bad guys got killed and good guys won. The guys, and a few dungareed Tomboys, were the soldiers. When we got wounded by bad guys, the more frilly girls in the neighborhood played nurse and wiped our brows and gave us sips of Kool-Aid. Some, shhhh, don’t let anyone know this, even went hunting with real weapons before the age of 15. Some in my home town, a Methodist beach resort, actually left unloaded rifles and shotguns in the high school coat room in the mornings, after having gone duck hunting before school, and picked them up on the way home. On Saturday evenings they would walk, ride their bikes, or take the city bus or metro (yes at only 10 or 12 years of age, as European children still do) to the local youth centers for a dance or ice skating party. They had to innovate and be creative to have fun, even in social engagements. They were expected to be independent and survive unsupervised.

Those experiences served Boomers and Gen X’ers very well when onboarding as new employees. As my COO recently reminded me, she joined her first company fresh out of college with a degree in Chemical Engineering. When she arrived at her job in Corpus Christi, Texas, the plant manager introduced her to a shared secretary, showed her an empty office that she could use, pointed out the section of the chemical plant for which she was responsible, introduced her to a foreman to give her a site tour, and assigned her a project which she had to accomplish within two months. It wasn’t about her. It was about the organization. Boomers and Gen X’ers didn’t arrive with the expectation that they would be trained, mentored, developed, coached and appreciated for their uniqueness. They arrived ready to learn and to do a job.

Millennials, as the myth goes, knew none of that, and most never even played a sport unless it was on an organized team sponsored by the Girls and Boys Clubs of America, Little League, American Legion, or high school with assigned coaches who had been thoroughly vetted by local club officials and had FBI background checks performed and fingerprints taken by the police before they could coach. In some communities—we live near one such pabulum purveying enclave of over- protectionism —teams were not even allowed to keep score and parents were discouraged from cheering for their children in youth league soccer and baseball games for fear that someone would have their feelings hurt because they lost. And yes, everyone got participation trophies and medals just for showing up. No need to win—that was discouraged. Even chewing a pop tart into the shape of a pistol could get them expelled from schools, where zero tolerance policies stripped even degreed, experienced administrators from the ability to make decisions about right or wrong and degrees of disciplinary infraction. Now these Millennials bring the same expectations to the workplace and expect Gen X’ers, Boomers, and Traditionalists to react to their needs, dreams, and expectations. “Welcome me. Look at me. It’s all about me and what I do better than previous generations.” “Here I come to save the day.”

Yes, Millennials may have a finer sense of technology, having played so-called “e-sports” and Skyped and tweeted since adolescence, and they may never have met an app or technology they couldn’t use, but this “heads down generation” arrive in the workplace with no experience whatsoever and have a tough time putting their toys away long enough to do their jobs. Most do not know the difference between a flat head and a Phillips screwdriver, and most can’t change a flat tire. All they know is how to call AAA on their iPhones and lament their dilemmas to friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YikYak, or one of dozens of other networking sites while they wait impatiently for the repair service to arrive. But all this is from the perspective of a naïve Baby Boomer, who changes his own tires and doesn’t send videos or talk on Snapchat with friends three or four times in the process.

What it is in reality is just a reflection of Millennials’ growing up with all kinds of social media, where one can communicate with very few words or characters; hence, they are accustomed to clipped words, ungrammatical renderings, emojis, and other abbreviated forms of communication. Traditional methods of communication and documentation are irrelevant. As one Millennial, with a recent degree in business from IUPUI, recently pressed me in a job interview, “Look, buddy, did you know what I was communicating? Isn’t that enough?”  No, it is not; not in the professional community and not in the business world. Most have never actually written a formal business letter—why bother when e-mail and numerous networking sites are available—and few have been schooled in formal writing necessary for acceptable business communication, usually owing to the fact that their own high school English instructors taught mostly agenda literature, creative writing (where rules often exist to be violated), or an occasional graphic novel, i.e. a comic book masquerading as literature in the age of Millennials. The “Classics” be damned. They are passé. Just express yourself, creatively, because, after all, it is all about you.

One practical consequence of this generational disconnect is reflected in how new hires choose to advertise their expertise.  We must get a dozen enquiries a year in our company from bright Millennials who are recent graduates of Purdue, Ball State, IU, Ohio State, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other excellent schools in our vicinity enquiring about positions with our company as an “executive coach.” Most have 2, 3, or more letters after their names. When I ask them about their work experience what I get is, “Oh, I have a degree in X, I have an MS in X, I have interned at X, I spent my last 2 years getting certified in X, Y, and Z, and I have taken a couple courses in coaching and consulting skills. I am more than prepared.” Most have never held a job, spent time in an organization, developed expertise in some functional endeavor, been hired or fired or fired others, or worked an off hour shift. Indeed, when the work got too demanding setting up endcaps, stocking shelves, or working the night shift at Target, Walmart, or Giant Eagle on summer vacations, they quit, because they were just not appreciated for what they could uniquely contribute.

Now they want to coach an executive with 15 to 30 years of organizational experience. Some tone down their job requests to just “management coaching” or “life coaching” (whatever that is!), but the very hubris that makes them think that some seasoned manager or executive wants to take career, business, or organizational development advice from someone in their 20’s or 30’s with no sustained organizational experience is staggering. Frankly their egoistic approach to who they are and what they can do comes across as offensive to Boomers and Traditionalists, not to mention all TJ’s and SJ’s and most NT’s. I advise them, kindly of course, to get a job or two, work for 10 to 20 years on developing a career, establishing a track record of success in some organization, learn some organizational skills outside of a college textbook, lead a team or two and focus on winning and not just showing up, then, maybe in the future, come knocking on our door again. I think it was T.S. Eliot, as early as last century, who lamented, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” As Norm Augustine expressed so well, academic knowledge does not equate to organizational expertise. That must be learned, acquired, and developed over time.

Now, for those of you still angry at me, let me remind you thatI stated earlierthat these descriptions are just stereotypes, sometimes born out of ignorance and only sometimes spawned from reality, but they are the working assumptions of many older generational groupings. What is probably true is that some of you reading this short piece found yourselves with strong affinities to several of the categories, sort of like reading your horoscope in the morning paper. You may be mostly one of the 12, but on any given day may find parts of Libra, Leo, and Capricorn that also ring true. As an organizational leader who consults with numerous organizations in over 30 countries on these differences, employs several millennials, and also happens to be an INTJ parent who has raised Millennials who are male and female ESFJ, INTP, ESTP, and ESTJ, what becomes clear is that while generational differences clearly impact both individual and organizational style and self-management, “type” trumps generational differences, and if this article were to be longer, we would have to add that culture also trumps generational differences.

Think of a huge cube. Along the X axis, lie the 16 MBTI® types, along the Y axis, one’s generational grouping and along the Z axis, one’s national or tribal culture. 


Somewhere in that murky interior is where you will find yourself. It is this rich olio of our uniquenesses that leaders need to take into account when understanding diversity, leading effectively and creating cultures that support the organization’s needs. Who said, OD wasn’t fun. But that is why you get paid so much.  

             William C. Jeffries, INTJ, CEO (self-confessed Baby Boomer)


Brexit and Culture

By William Jeffries 

The pundits along all facets of the political spectrum are having a heyday advancing reasons why the recent Brexit Referendum passed despite all the green eyeshades in the UK and North America predicting just the opposite response. Everyone, it seems, has a different way to “fix” the problem by latching onto one or another symptom of why the break occurred. Even the most recent efforts at a referendum on the referendum, a losing minority’s predictable response when they can’t believe their judgment has been rejected by a majority, will fade away. All are doomed to be on the wrong side of history, because one does not fix a problem by massaging away a symptom of the pain.

Immigration, both legal and illegal, failed economic policies of the left and the right, socialist passion for globalization superseding nationalism, fear of waves of refugees from Muslim countries, uninformed and uneducated blue collar rubes who have unenlightened knee-jerk responses to issues best left to the better-educated political elite, a desire to have an outsider untainted by political punditry, and many other symptoms have been the grist of talk shows for days. Even the vaunted Gold Bug, Alan Greenspan, has advanced the idea that the main problem is that the EU has no equivalent to the US Federal Reserve and the world needs to go back to some international standard, such as gold, that the international banking network valued before 1920. All miss the fundamental reason for the breakup.

Culture, not economic policy, is king. This is true in every organization from a mom and pop dry cleaner in Indianapolis, to a Birmingham factory, to a restaurant in Milan, to a publically traded Fortune 500 company. There has been much talk in business management circles of late about the power of culture to transform an organization. Indeed, in my own Culture and High Performance:  Creating a World Class Business and Organizational Culture, I argue that it is a leader’s job to create the kind of culture that supports the organization’s strategy and raison d’etre. When one does not create the appropriate culture it will, ipso facto, create itself. One way or another, there will be an existing culture. When we raise the issue to the national level, it is a leader’s obligation to understand her or his country’s culture and the requirements such recognition brings to lead that country into a safe and economically viable future.

As Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany and “Person of the Year” in 2015, and unarguably one of the current strongest forces in the EU said herself last year, “Multiculturalism is a sham.” That understanding has been totally lost on the EU. Those of us who value diversity of thought and, indeed, speak on diversity in dozens of corporate and NGO venues, might at first take umbrage at her variously interpreted comments. Valuing diversity of thought, after all, is a hallmark of high performance organizations. The point is, though, that culture, not diversity, is king. The reason why the EU is in current turmoil and why such turmoil may well eventually eviscerate its economic bonds, is that the imposed artificial culture from a huge and palatial foreign headquarters in Brussels, Belgium fails to recognize, indeed it attempts to override, the national cultures of 28 unique countries.

Currency does not create culture; people do.

Efforts in many European countries, and certainly in North America,   by political elites to change the culture by insisting that every distinct diverse group entering a country be allowed to exercise its own uniqueness and change the existing national culture, is now seeing a totally predictable backlash in the UK. Hyphenated labels, not amalgamation, are the consequence. The US motto, for example, still found on some of its currency, is E Pluribus Unum. Of late, the unum has gone the way of various claims of bigoted entitlement and supplanted by every pluribus a group can insinuate. The USA is in the process of losing its traditional culture, and those who lament that fact are accused of every phobia that can be invented. This identical problem unlies the recent Brexit, helps to explain the excitement in the USA regarding a “politically” ill-equipped business man as a presidential candidate, and the growing angst about a potential realignment of the rest of the UK as well as, eventually, the Baltic States.

The issue in the UK is not simply immigration, economic anemia, or a clash between socialism, progressivism, and more conservative governance. The problem is not polemical, it is cultural. It is the hubris of well-guarded, overfed, politicians in $5,000 suits, winging back and forth to international meetings in private jets, totally isolated from their constituents, except what is fed to them by trusted aides in $3,000 suits, speaking with distain about the common folk whom they must “lead,” and consequently becoming totally out of touch with their populations.

Culture is not some abstract that gets in the way of laws being passed and political agendas being consummated. It is a set of common understandings around which a country has been anthropologically organized. Once you shed all the true scholastic stink of academic definitions of culture, what it is at the heart is nothing less than the collective personality of a group, business, organization, or country. Until the EU addresses the individual cultures of each of its members and honors them as much if not more than mere economic policy or the need for a common currency, the demolition of its structure will continue.

Leaders ignore culture at their peril.

Getting Smart about Intelligence

By William Jeffries

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Misconceptions, confusion, ignorance, inflammatory statements, and outright lies:  No I am not talking about Brexit, Greece’s inclusion in the EU, race relations, or the current political environment in the USA. I am talking about the importance of high intelligence for the contemporary worker. It was Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame, who reminded us just last year that “High intelligence is no longer the hallmark of the ideal employee. It is expected. The best employee is the one who understands people and manages them and works with them as diversely as their personalities require.” In short, intelligence has become commoditized. By intelligence I mean, and so does Mark, traditional approaches to measuring cognitive intelligence, ala the Wechsler and other such instruments.

Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, our schools have attempted to measure individual intelligence to help decide who gets ahead and who does not; those who get admitted to prestigious organizations and those who do not. Since its recognition as a human trait, the concept of human intelligence, as measured by academics, is “cognitive intelligence.” What is 6! / 3! x 2?; if one train leaves Chicago at 2 pm and travels an average of 55 mph and arrives in Minneapolis, MN 3 hours and 15 mins later, how far apart are the 2 cities? You know, all those SAT and GRE questions you used to be able to answer. 

The 1980s saw an advance in our understanding of what intelligence truly means when Howard Gardner published his landmark Frames of Mind, introducing the world to 8 other intelligence modalities such as Linguistic, Musical, Kinesthetic, Logical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Spatial, and Naturalistic. We began to recognize that solving the above 2 mathematical questions was not the only existential form of intelligence. There were other kinds of smart:  linguistically smart William Faulkner, spatially smart Monet and Picasso, musically smart Jackie Evancho and Billy Joel, kinesthetically smart # 42 Mariano Rivera or Lionel Messi, interpersonally smart Dr. Billy Graham, and logically-mathematically smart Pasteur, to name just a few.

If you were facing a giant asteroid rushing toward earth, you might want Steven Hawking (logically-mathematically smart) advising you, not Derek Jeter (spatially smart), Sir Elton John (musically smart), or Shakespeare (linguistically smart). But, on the other hand, if you were stranded deep in the Amazon jungle, who would you want as a teammate; Euclid (mathematically smart), Plato (linguistically smart), Steven Hawking, or Bear Grylls (naturalistically smart)? In short, cognitivism is not always the winning ticket. This expanded view of what intelligence means took a giant stride forward in 2005 with Daniel Goleman’s introduction of emotional intelligence (usually referred to as EQ). At first, panned as just some touchy feely understanding of self and others, EQ is now almost universally recognized as a valid science and prestigious organizations such as the Stanford School of Business and the Center for Creative Leadership claim that one’s EQ can account for as much as 30% to 50 % of a leader’s success, and an understanding of EQ is included in virtually every prestigious leadership development program and also used to recruit and train exceptional performers in organizations as diverse as Jack-in-the-Box, Gannet-Fleming, American Express, ESI, Inc., New Zealand Telecom, and US Air Force Para-Rescue teams.

So, here’s the deal. IQ (you know, those scores like 115, 130, 145, etc. that you got labeled with in high school) is fixed at birth; it is mostly genetic, with the female partner contributing the lion’s share of one’s intelligence. Take an IQ test several times over your lifetime, and even if you are an inveterate Sudoku puzzle solver, NY Times Crossword puzzle aficionado, or if you happen to earn an advanced degree or two, IQ changes very little over a life time. Likewise, one’s personality type (measured by the MBTI® for example) is mostly genetic. It does not change over one’s life time. Oh, the Type one “reports” might change somewhat from time to time, depending on a number of environmental factors, but one’s True Type does not change. It is genetic. As one of my consultants puts it, genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger. Sorry for the emotionally insensitive analogy.

It is a biological and psychological truism that new ideas tend not to sink in when emotions come into play. Sadly, outside the classroom, we rarely use our rational brains. EQ is that set of emotional and social skills that influence how we perceive and express ourselves, cope with challenges in our lives, and maintain social relationships. This is where EQ can become critical. Your employees have a genetically driven IQ and a more or less fixed personality type; that is why Zuckerberg’s comment is so important. What I see is what I get, when I hire you. Your intelligence is a mere commodity. But EQ is coachable.

A few weeks ago, when I quibbled with Jack Welch’s article on the “5 Traits of Leadership” and his comment that leadership cannot be taught, this was one of the reasons why. One’s personality type (e.g. my INTJ type) is fixed. One’s IQ is fixed. One’s Emotional Intelligence (attitudes regarding self-regard, assertiveness, independence, empathy, problem solving, impulse control, and several other important aspects of leadership) is not, but can be improved and enhanced by coaching and education.

IQ is what we are born with, what we bring to this world. Our personality type is who we are and expresses our natural preferences for perceiving and judging. Our emotional intelligence helps us understand what we can become—how we can apply our IQs and our personality types for greater effectiveness. EQ’s applications extend to recruiting and retaining high performers, building more effective teams, developing effective leaders, managerial selection, change leadership and many other aspects of leader development. This is where we as coaches, consultants, trainers, and professionals claiming expertise in organizational development can earn our pay. Want to foster and grow a culture of High Performance? An understanding of Emotional Intelligence can be the starting point.

Applied Combinatorial Play: The Mental Game of Leadership

While working with the US Olympic team recently, I was once again reminded of how important it is for a competitor, and by extension, any organizational leader, to be able to visualize success and share that vision with her or his organization. Leadership, after all, is nothing less than the ability to bring a new and compelling vision into reality. It has been our honor and pleasure to work with these exceptional athletes ever since the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, helping prepare elite athletes for competition around the world and, most importantly, helping them win. Psychological type, using the MBTI® is a fundamental part of our work with them, as we help athletes use their preferences to visualize success. Let me briefly share some learnings derived from working with them that are applicable to any organization you represent. Do you visualize success? Do you practice for winning?

In one of my earliest books,Taming the Scorpion:  Preparing American Business for the Third Millennium, I began with a chapter entitled “Desert Storm Worked, Why Doesn’t Your Organization?” The book was published shortly after the 1st modern Persian Gulf War (known as Desert Storm) when the actions of Generals Powell and Schwarzkopf were still being praised in most of the media. The point of the chapter was to highlight the observation that we can learn from observing the behaviors of successful people in functions and disciplines very different from our own. We routinely encourage military leaders to learn key business principles, business leaders to learn from successful military leaders, college baseball players to watch tapes of successful football players, and America’s Cup racing teams, and professional football players in the NFL, to learn from all of them. Ours is a targeted application of what Einstein called Combinatorial Play, the essence of creativity—harnessing ideas from many diverse activities and interests.

Success leaves clues,

regardless of whether the observed behavior is from a sales leader, human resources professional, laboratory chemist, a trainer in psychological type, or an Olympic athlete. An attitude of “not invented here” can be enervating if not outright destructive to any organization and hinder the ability to foster a culture of potentially exceptional leadership.

So, what can great athletes teach us in our attempts to understand the mental game of leadership? Athletes get it! They know that there are three crucial components to success—each of which has a typological component—regardless of your sport, business, function, or organization: 

               1. The Knowledge Game,

               2. The Practice Game, and

               3. The Mental Game.

Every great athlete has a trainer or coach who ensures that her or his technique, nutritional input, practice regimen, and skill sets are up to date. Great athletes, like accomplished musicians, also practice, often with a fervor that those of us who are not involved with the sport find hard to conceive. The remarkable women on the US Gymnastics Team in the XXXI Olympiad are classic examples. Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, and Gabby Douglass, brought home the Gold, Silver, and Bronze because of their focused practice and dedication to excellence. Marta and Bela Karolyi would work with them for 8-12 hours a day at their ranch in Huntsville, TX, using their knowledge of their MBTI® preferences to understand their unique training needs, getting them ready for competition.  

My own son, a highly recruited high school baseball player, for example, arose each morning at 5 am, drove to his school, opened the gym, and worked out with his coach for two to three hours almost every day, before classes began at 8 am. He did that for three years. Why? He intended to be great! When we work with athletes, we drive home the mantra that

K - P = 0     Knowledge without Practice is worthless.

Or, as Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow used to phrase it,

               “Hard work beats talent every day, if talent doesn’t work.”

When our youngest son tried out at a showcase pitching camp at Stanford University four ago, their renowned baseball coach, Dean Stotz, admitted he automatically mentally put guys into two camps when they walked onto the Stanford infield:  the “Tools Guys” and all the rest. The Tools Guys were those who arrived as high school juniors and seniors already standing at 6’ 5”, weighing 230 lbs., and throwing 90-95 mph fastballs. Our son was one of the “others,” at a puny 5’11”, weighing 175 lbs. and throwing fastballs in the high 80’s as well as chin to shin curveballs, complemented by almost perfect form and pronation. When he showed up all his competition that week, and fanned elite batter after elite batter who had traveled from across the country to showcase their skills, he drove home Tebow’s observation regarding talent. During the last day of the showcase, Coach Stotz sat quietly next to my wife watching our son pitch four perfect innings. When he left the mound for the last time, my wife asked him, “Coach Stotz, when is the last time a pitcher has pitched from the mound here at Stanford’s Sunken Diamond, who never pitched an inning of high school baseball?” He just chuckled and said, “Never, why do you ask?” She smiled back and said, “Well, you are looking at one now!”

Having attended an international school ranked the 3rd most difficult private school in the country for academic rigor, our son’s emphasis had been academic not athletic, graduating as a tri-lingual Valedictorian. The International School of Indiana fielded no baseball team, so his time was spent on little league and senior league city teams, as well as a few travel teams, and working on his own with a private pitching coach, practicing hour after hour each day. He demonstrated clearly that Tebow’s observations are spot on. “Hard work beats [tools] talent every day.” Knowing he is an ESFJ, helped us know just the kinds of training regimen he required to become truly great. All great athletes have skilled personal coaches. The question is, how about you and the leaders whom you coach? Let’s start at the beginning.

In many ways, the person who knows how to read and yet chooses not to is more pathetic than someone who is illiterate. Knowledge ought to foster learning; that was Peter Senge’s whole point a decade ago about creating the Learning Organization. The obverse is equally true. Read all the books on golf you like, but never swing a club, and you will never break par. Read dozens of books about pitching but never stand on a mound 60 feet 6 inches away from the plate and practice throwing a two-seam fastball, again, again, and again in the sunshine, the rain, the cold, the heat, and the sleet, and you will strike no one out. Yes, athletes get it. Knowledge plus practice under the tutelage of a good coach pays dividends. The extraordinary ones also know that having the mental rigor to visualize success, to dream large, to follow the clues left by successful people, and to have a very short memory when things go wrong are the keys to success. Winning is a mental activity. Or as the infamous Yankee philosopher Yogi Berra used to phrase it, with his inimitable anti-intellectual eloquence,

“90% of baseball is half mental.” 

Why then is it so difficult to get business leaders to focus on their Mental Game? For too many years, the very idea of a senior executive’s enlisting the help of a coach was deemed a weakness. That was our fault; consultants too often fostered such a misconception with our approach to coaching and the skill sets we advertised. When the human resources VP suggests that a manager enlist the aid of a coach, the first thought that floats through that manager’s mind is still, too often, “What’s wrong with me?” “What are you saying about me and my ability? After all, I have an MBA from the Wharton School?” Clearly, that is old style thinking:  a sad Inlier attitude, to invert a metaphor  from Malcolm Gladwell. That credential, while impressive, is insufficient. These days, organizations only have the time and scarce resources to employ coaches to groom high performers. Those others…who have something “wrong with them”…are usually already gone. They have been victims of the very intense winnowing process of the last decade and have already been right-sized, down-sized, nudged aside, or asked to depart to “seek other opportunities.”

These days the game has changed. When employees hear about someone who has had a coach provided to them, they should think… “Wow, there is someone on the way up! Obviously she or he is being groomed for some higher position.” Oh, I admit, some supervisors and managers still require remedial coaching—you may think you work for one—and you no doubt occasionally observe leader behaviors that are inconsistent with your organization’s values. That is where human resources professionals really earn their pay, but increasingly coaches are brought in to help shave off a rough edge or two, or alert the leader to “best in show” leadership traits and behaviors with which she or he may not be familiar. Much like baseball,

90% of Leadership is half mental.

The leader needs to be focused on organizational success and have a clear mental picture of what that success will look like. A good coach should be singularly focused on the leader’s success. To be honest, sometimes the leaders I coach just need someone to listen, to bounce ideas off of, and to provide absolutely honest feedback. Too often they do not get that feedback from their immediate staff—heck they all want his or her job—or just because leaders do not want to ask, perceiving such a request to be a weakness. As a coach, I have no agenda other than my client’s success. If they do not like my advice, they are free to send me packing.

Think about the credentials of coaches you hire. I see RFPs in both the private and public sector every day asking for “certified” coaches or consultants with “coaching degrees.” These folks are often smart, well-meaning psychologists, sociologists, and academics who want to translate their academic degrees to the business world. Often they advertise themselves as “life coaches.” They truly want to help but, because they have never “done it themselves,” never spent a day in a production facility or a manufacturing plant, never worked on a production line on twelve hour shifts while the union was out on strike, or never defended a budget in the conference room of a Fortune 500 company, do not have the necessary organizational experience to be impactful. The lack the savvy that is spawned from both adversity and success.

This dilemma we face in developing high-performing organizational leaders is analogous to a related problem we observe in secondary school education, where we have a frightening growth in the number of high school teachers who have degrees in “education” but no degrees in science, math, history, chemistry, English, physics, or other primary subject areas. Oh, they are credentialed to know “how to teach,” they probably even know words like “affective and cognitive domains,” and can discuss Bloom’s Taxonomy with ease but have little knowledge of the specific subject matter outside the teacher’s edition of the required textbook or the requirements of the Common Core curriculum. They have no real skills to communicate to their students. No wonder our graduating high school seniors are ranked so low around the world in every subject matter metric. They have been taught by someone who has been certified by the education establishment to teach, but know nothing beyond the one method taught in the textbook or the scope of the test.

If I am a business leader in need of coaching or desirous of improving my skills, I do not want to be coached by someone who has just read a few more books than I have or someone with a coaching certificate decorating their office wall. I know this is organizational heresy, but I am an INTJ; should you really expect less?  I do not care if a good coach is “certified” or not. I don’t care what national or international coaching organization they belong to, what programs they have attended, or what courses they have taken.  Two of my company’s consultants are certified coaches (an ENFP and an INFP) and belong to the International Coaching Federation, and one (an ESFP) has a university degree in coaching, but the rest do not have such credentials; they are former senior executives and business and government leaders (predominately NT’s and SJ’s). All are superb coaches and in great demand.

What I look for in a professional coach is an experienced organizational leader who has “been there,” “done that,” succeeded, hired, been fired, failed, learned from mistakes, innovated, improved, led troops in combat, started new businesses, dealt with demanding customers, worked the midnight shift, negotiated agreements with foreign business leaders, presented to Wall Street analysts, and walked more than a mile in my shoes on the concrete manufacturing floor, the 28.2 km of hallways in the five rings of the Pentagon, or in the well-carpeted board room. I want a coach who can spot even small things I might be doing that can detract from my game—that can hinder my becoming Best in Class. As Mike Krzyzewski, the Duke Blue Devils basketball coach, puts it: 

“If you are going to teach it, you better be able to do it.”

That’s my ideal coach.

Choose your business coaches carefully. Leaders want to be coached by accomplished leaders, not academic dilettantes. And…when it is done right, no one even needs to know that a coach was on the scene. As Lao Tzu put it,

                A leader is best when people barely know he

               [she] exists; when the work is done, his aim

               fulfilled, they will say: “we did it ourselves.”

               Leadership is a mental game. First comes knowledge; next comes practice. Then…get a competent coach to help you improve your game.  


Bill Jeffries, INTJ

President and CEO ESI, Inc.

APTi IAC, for Management and OD