Adapted from Predictable Success — McKeown

Leadership Balancing Act

I like to study lifecycles. Lifecycles of organizations, movements and companies are my real passion. I have recently read Les McKeown’s Predictable Success and like the way he presents the stages of an organization along the normal bell curve used to illustrate lifecycles. (See Above) He gives us permission to think about a lifecycle that is not bound by time on the X-axis. The idea is that organization can run back and forth on the curve and change and adapt over time.

In this model the organization always wants to remain at the top of the curve in Predictable Success. Most intriguing about this idea is how leadership is the fulcrum of the balancing act between the left side and the right side of the curve. He places the leadership into four categories to help explain the leadership through the stages of his lifecycle. The four categories are Visionary, Operator, Processor and Synergist as described by McKeown.

· Visionary — Most Visionaries possess similar traits: big-thinkers turned on by ideas, they’re easily bored with minutia and are consumed by the need to create and to achieve.

· Operators — Operators are the ‘do-ers’ in any enterprise — they’re the practically-minded folks that get stuff done.

· Processor — Processors have an innate desire to bring order to any situation — they focus not only on what they’ve been asked to do, but also on the underlying systems and processes that will make doing it more consistent and repeatable — and if those systems and processes don’t yet exist, they’ll begin by designing and implementing them.

· Synergist — The Synergist brings a primary focus on what is best for the enterprise as a whole, and they choreograph and harmonize team or group interactions to produce high-quality decisions. Adding the Synergist style to a VOP (VisionaryOperatorProcessor) group releases it from the gravitational pull of gridlock and compromise, and transforms it into a high-performance team.

So now, look at the organizations, companies and teams you are a part of in light of these categories of leaders. Can you recognize them? Do you have all of the categories represented? If not, is that affecting the success of your team?

If you are missing a Visionary, empower someone on your team to be the creative, dreaming part of your team. Let them give you context for decision making from the left side of the curve. And the same holds for a missing Processor. Empower someone on the team to start building processes into your team so things do not slip through the cracks.

Leadership just like everything else in life is a balancing act.

Read Predictable Success by Les McKeown for the full story.