The Genesis of Affirmative Leadership: The Star Factor

 By William Seidman Several years ago, Rick and I sat across the table from the vice president of engineering for a large semi-conductor manufacturing company. We had been brought in to examine the project management practices being used to develop a critical new product. The project was substantially behind schedule, over budget and torn apart by conflicts. The problems were due to dysfunction in the actual leadership structure. The real leaders of the project—six star performers—were completely overloaded. The other 650 people working on it were waiting for them to make decisions. The company wanted us to discover what made these six stars so effective and transfer that knowledge to others so overall productivity could increase. Top management knew that raising everyone to the level of their star performers would have huge financial benefits. They also said they really disliked consultants and loved systems and tools. They asked us to create a system that gathered their experts’ expertise and then design software tools that efficiently transferred it to others. It took us more than two years to do it, but eventually we developed a system that specified what made these stars so good at what they did. After another five years, we developed a repeatable, cost-effective system for raising others to their level. This work was the genesis of the Affirmative Leadership process. We worked for years with organizations in industries as diverse as fast food companies, government agencies, insurance companies and high technology manufacturers. We studied emerging neuroscience research on learning. We came up with Affirmative Leadership to develop more and better leaders in all parts of an organization and in any country or culture faster than people thought possible. These leaders transform their organizations into high performing machines and their organizational cultures into astoundingly great places to work.  ]]>

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