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OBM Applied! Sponsors

Role of the Sponsor Before the Real Work Begins

  • Provide a list to Florida Tech of the team members who will participate in the certificate course. Full names, contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, and work address), and position titles are required.
  • Monitor the team members to complete the required courses; providing them the time to do so is important.
  • Submit the OBM Applied! Proposed Project  form to FIT. As sponsors, you will serve an ongoing role throughout the project. For participants working together on one project submission, only one project application form is required.
  • Set expectations for course participants to hold time on their calendars for the online meetings.
  • Ensure course participants have access to individual computers and Internet access. The group may participate together in the course using a single computer interface; however, for optimal experience, using their own interface (computer and camera) is strongly recommended.

Expectations for Participating in OBM Applied!

The following expectations of participants for this course will be described in detail during the orientation meeting. This is intended to help the sponsors understand what the participants will be doing as part of the final course in the certificate program, OBM Applied!

  • Attendance at all online meetings: This is not a self-paced course. The unit materials and meetings for each unit are not repeated. Each meeting will be recorded for participants who miss the meeting; however, participants may only miss two live online meetings to still earn the certificate.
  • Submission of work as assigned throughout the course: Each unit (10 units total) will have specific assignments to be completed based on the unit content. These assignments will support the implementation of the project, as well as be the basis for the participant’s presentation during the online meetings.
  • Data collection: Participants are expected to begin and maintain data collection throughout the course. The data (results and behavior measures) will be used to make decisions with participant’s key stakeholders on whether or not to introduce, change or withdraw an OBM solution.
  • Present progress of the project during the online meetings: The online meetings are the opportunity for each participant to discuss project development, ongoing progress using data and troubleshooting with the co-instructor.
  • Complete case study by the end of the course: At the conclusion of the project course, students will submit a case study. The case study will be a write-up of their OBM project. Students are advised to write their case study throughout the course as they complete various components of their OBM project.

Sponsors' Behaviors to Enable Success

In growing high performing and long lasting organizations, the area of leadership often comes up. There is an abundance of material on leadership behaviors that make a difference—often more spin than science. There are several (data-based) work that stand out for those interested:

  • Measure of a Leader (Aubrey Daniels and James Daniels) This book turns conventional leadership wisdom on its head, showing how to focus on the behavior of followers to craft a powerful leadership style.
  • Preparing CEOs for Success (Leslie Braksick and James Hillgren) The purpose of this research was to provide unvarnished advice based on the real experiences of sitting CEOs to assist in preparing future CEOs, executives, and leaders.
  • Good to Great (Jim Collins) study that identified and described leadership behaviors in sustained growth companies (“Where are they now?” we asked)
  • Extraordinary Leaders (Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman) study drawing data from over 25,000 leaders using multi-rater behavioral feedback tools
  • Leading the Way (Robert Gandossy and Marc Effron) research linking financial data and talent management practices and identifying top 20 high-performing companies for Leaders
  • Results-Based Leadership (David Ulrich, Jack Zenger, and Norman Smallwood) for its laser sharp focus on leadership as results and behaviors
  • The Engaging Leader (Ed Gubman) for its easy distinction of “driver” leaders and “builder” leaders

After reviewing each of these and other materials, several focus points can be extracted for the sponsor.

  1. Leadership behaviors really do matter. They are an integral part of how strategy is executed at every level in nearly all high growth companies. They are not just top-down.

  2. Leadership behaviors correspond to an organization’s particular business strategy, challenges, and goals. There are some common sets of leadership behaviors (competencies or attributes) that correlate to high growth, yet they are distinctly executed in companies to align with specific strategy, culture, issues and markets. Begin by asking, “What are our greatest business challenges?” Then, “What do our leaders need to do to solve them?”

  3. Companies with the most successful track records are relentless in their focus on leadership development. Senior executives do more than sponsor leadership behaviors, they constantly work to develop and reinforce leaders with targeted behaviors and build systems that drive talent development. Selecting talent comes before setting strategy.

  4. Companies create value leveraging leadership behaviors to create a leadership brand. Senior executives market this brand internally and externally—often with passion and stories. (Think GE, Procter & Gamble).

  5. Effective approaches focus on strengths, not weaknesses. More important than bringing execs up to standard in weak areas may be a requirement to strengthen the most critical leadership behaviors to the highest levels of fluency. Changes in a few critical leadership behaviors affect the bottom line’s growth.

  6. In a more complex, competitive global environment, leaders who can motivate and coordinate teams across boundaries are providing important strategic value. This may include geographical or functional boundaries within a company.

  7. Behaviors that address character and integrity issues also are getting more attention in the advent of SOX. Increasingly, these behaviors are becoming part of more formal assessment processes and the purview of boards.

  8. Another trend was the finding that leadership is not just a top-down activity, but also needs to be built from the ground up. Several companies viewed supervisors and all employers as front-line leaders. Nucor had a unique culture of high personal ownership and commitment and engagement to the company’s success, with few management layers.

  9. Differentiation (in pay, career opportunity and training) is practiced in many firms, yet it is balanced with skill building focused on motivating others and succeeding through teamwork. Leaders may be measured by their impact and ability to motivate and develop others.

  10. Flexibility and adaptability, are also critical in the high-performing organizations where ambiguity and uncertainty are commonplace. One study of 56 successful growth companies, for example, found that leaders who could change strategy on the fly using future-focused data and feedback mechanisms were better able to monitor progress towards goals and adjust as needed. Moreover, homegrown measures were found to be the most useful (Ivey Business Journal, Jan. 2005).

  11. Best practice companies are taking a talent-systems strategic approach to leadership behaviors. Integration of these behaviors into selection, assessment, promotion, pay and developmental opportunities.

  12. Growth companies also tend to be stronger at operationalizing their leadership behaviors. In other words, a leader’s line manager will be engaged in developing and coaching leadership behaviors and observing them in real time (versus trying to train in classroom).

In short, what leaders really do well, and what we recommend the sponsors do to play a critical role in the success of the participants for this course, are highlighted through these seven leadership behaviors:

  1. Make and lead choices to be in the right markets (#1 or #2 generally) or have the vision to get there and stay there though being the best. Have a clear, crisp and compelling vision of what success looks like—and get others to see it.

  2. Always be highly tuned in to the market, patterns and trends in the external environment. The best are able to affect that environment.

  3. Have constant focus on developing others, judge on results and focus on your ability to develop and motivate. “It’s not the leadership you exercise, but the leadership you evoke that counts.” Development of others and walking the talk of values outrank charisma.

  4. Reinforce creativity and innovation, defined through people and ideas. This goes beyond products and services to creative relationships, synthesizing diverse insights, driving customer and business process innovation, and sea-change thinking.

  5. Demonstrate an action mindset drives decision making, problem solving and risk taking. Speed and aggressiveness combine with analytical thinking.

  6. Be, and encourage others to be, collaborative, which goes beyond simple teaming. It means working across traditional boundaries (functions, geography and markets) to create partnerships, teams and relationships that break through barriers.

  7. Be adaptive, have a capacity to learn, including through self-reflection, action learning and focus on their environment and industry. They create a culture of addressing reality head on and the flexibility to deal with difficult truths.