Order Description
Write a 2 page report that summarizes and analyzes the two articles attached. One section of the report should summarize the articles, and then another section of the report should be used to draw connections between the concepts in the articles and the work experiences of a manager.
Spotlight Artwork Jessica Snow
Curly Words, 2011, acrylic on paper
17″ x 21″
Spotlight on Influence
Connect,
Then Lead
To exert influence, you must balance
competence with warmth. by Amy J.C. Cuddy,
Matthew Kohut, and John Neffinger
Amy J.C. Cuddy is an
associate professor of
business administration at
Harvard Business School.
Matthew Kohut and John
Neffinger are the authors
of Compelling People: The
Hidden Qualities That Make
Us Influential (Hudson
Street Press, August 2013)
and principals at KNP
Communications.
hbr.org
July–August 2013 Harvard Business Review 55
Is it better to be loved or feared?
employee with outmoded skills in a rapidly evolving
industry).
To be sure, we notice plenty of other traits in
people, but they’re nowhere near as influential as
warmth and strength. Indeed, insights from the field
of psychology show that these two dimensions account
for more than 90% of the variance in our positive
or negative impressions we form of the people
around us.
So which is better, being lovable or being strong?
Most leaders today tend to emphasize their strength,
competence, and credentials in the workplace, but
that is exactly the wrong approach. Leaders who
project strength before establishing trust run the
risk of eliciting fear, and along with it a host of dysfunctional
behaviors. Fear can undermine cognitive
potential, creativity, and problem solving, and cause
employees to get stuck and even disengage. It’s
a “hot” emotion, with long-lasting effects. It burns
into our memory in a way that cooler emotions
don’t. Research by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman
drives this point home: In a study of 51,836 leaders,
only 27 of them were rated in the bottom quartile in
terms of likability and in the top quartile in terms
of overall leadership effectiveness—in other words,
the chances that a manager who is strongly disliked
will be considered a good leader are only about one
in 2,000.
A growing body of research suggests that the way
to influence—and to lead—is to begin with warmth.
Warmth is the conduit of influence: It facilitates
trust and the communication and absorption of
ideas. Even a few small nonverbal signals—a nod, a
smile, an open gesture—can show people that you’re
pleased to be in their company and attentive to their
concerns. Prioritizing warmth helps you connect
immediately with those around you, demonstrating
that you hear them, understand them, and can be
trusted by them.
Niccolò Machiavelli pondered that timeless conundrum
500 years ago and hedged his bets. “It may
be answered that one should wish to be both,” he
acknowledged, “but because it is difficult to unite
them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than
loved.”
Now behavioral science is weighing in with research
showing that Machiavelli had it partly right:
When we judge others—especially our leaders—we
look first at two characteristics: how lovable they are
(their warmth, communion, or trustworthiness) and
how fearsome they are (their strength, agency, or
competence). Although there is some disagreement
about the proper labels for the traits, researchers
agree that they are the two primary dimensions of
social judgment.
Why are these traits so important? Because they
answer two critical questions: “What are this person’s
intentions toward me?” and “Is he or she capable
of acting on those intentions?” Together, these
assessments underlie our emotional and behavioral
reactions to other people, groups, and even brands
and companies. Research by one of us, Amy Cuddy,
and colleagues Susan Fiske, of Princeton, and Peter
Glick, of Lawrence University, shows that people
judged to be competent but lacking in warmth often
elicit envy in others, an emotion involving both
respect and resentment that cuts both ways. When
we respect someone, we want to cooperate or affiliate
ourselves with him or her, but resentment can
make that person vulnerable to harsh reprisal (think
of disgraced Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski, whose
extravagance made him an unsympathetic public
figure). On the other hand, people judged as warm
but incompetent tend to elicit pity, which also involves
a mix of emotions: Compassion moves us to
help those we pity, but our lack of respect leads us
ultimately to neglect them (think of workers who become
marginalized as they near retirement or of an
About the
Spotlight Artist
Each month we illustrate
our Spotlight package
with a series of works
from an accomplished
artist. The lively and
cerebral creations of these
photographers, painters,
and installation artists are
meant to infuse our pages
with additional energy and
intelligence to amplify what
are often complex and
abstract concepts.
This month’s artist
is Jessica Snow, a San
Francisco–based abstract
painter. “The most interesting
pieces are those in
which something has been
left unresolved,” she says.
“Its reason for being has not
been entirely spelled out
for the viewer or even for
the artist.” View the artist’s
work at Artspace.com and
galleriurbane.com.
Photography: klea mckenna
56 Harvard Business Review July–August 2013
Spotlight on Influence
When Strength Comes First
Most of us work hard to demonstrate our competence.
We want to see ourselves as strong—and want
others to see us the same way. We focus on warding
off challenges to our strength and providing abundant
evidence of competence. We feel compelled to
demonstrate that we’re up to the job, by striving to
present the most innovative ideas in meetings, being
the first to tackle a challenge, and working the
longest hours. We’re sure of our own intentions and
thus don’t feel the need to prove that we’re trustworthy—
despite the fact that evidence of trustworthiness
is the first thing we look for in others.
Organizational psychologists Andrea Abele, of
the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Bogdan
Wojciszke, of the University of Gdansk, have documented
this phenomenon across a variety of settings.
In one experiment, when asked to choose between
training programs focusing on competence-related
skills (such as time management) and warmth-related
ones (providing social support, for instance),
most participants opted for competence-based
training for themselves but soft-skills training for
others. In another experiment, in which participants
were asked to describe an event that shaped
their self-image,
most told stories about themselves
that emphasized their own competence and self-determination
(“I passed my pilot’s license test on
the first try”), whereas when they described a similar
event for someone else, they focused on that person’s
warmth and generosity (“My friend tutored his
neighbor’s child in math and refused to accept any
payment”).
But putting competence first undermines leadership:
Without a foundation of trust, people in the
organization may comply outwardly with a leader’s
wishes, but they’re much less likely to conform privately—
to adopt the values, culture, and mission
of the organization in a sincere, lasting way. Workplaces
lacking in trust often have a culture of “every
employee for himself,” in which people feel that
they must be vigilant about protecting their interests.
Employees can become reluctant to help others
because they’re unsure of whether their efforts will
be reciprocated or recognized. The result: Shared
organizational resources fall victim to the tragedy of
the commons.
When Warmth Comes First
Although most of us strive to demonstrate our
strength, warmth contributes significantly more
to others’ evaluations of us—and it’s judged before
Idea in Brief
THE PROBLEM
Typically, leaders emphasize
their strength or competence
in the workplace, which can
alienate colleagues and direct
reports.
THE ARGUMENT
Decades of sociology and
psychology research show
that by first focusing on
displaying warmth—and then
blending in demonstrations of
competence—leaders will find
a clearer path to influence.
THE LESSONS
This is difficult to do but not
impossible, depending on
your chemical and dispositional
makeup. The authors
offer specific guidelines on
how to project warmth and
strength in various situations.
How will people react
to your style?
Research by Amy Cuddy, Susan Fiske, and Peter Glick
suggests that the way others perceive your levels of
warmth and competence determines the emotions
you’ll elicit and your ability to influence a situation.
For example, if you’re highly competent but show only
moderate warmth, you’ll get people to go along with you,
but you won’t earn their true engagement and support.
And if you show no warmth, beware of those who may try
to derail your efforts—and maybe your career.
LOW HIGH
HIGH
Competence
WARMTH
ACTIVE
HARM
PA SSIVE
HARM
ACTIVE
Engagement
PITY
ADMIRAT ION
ENVY
CONTEMPT
PA SSIVE
support
hbr.org
July–August 2013 Harvard Business Review 57
Connect, Then Lead
competence. Princeton social psychologist Alex
Todorov and colleagues study the cognitive and neural
mechanisms that drive our “spontaneous trait
inferences”—the snap judgments we make when
briefly looking at faces. Their research shows that
when making those judgments, people consistently
pick up on warmth faster than on competence. This
preference for warmth holds true in other areas as
well. In a study led by Oscar Ybarra, of the University
of Michigan, participants playing a word game identified
warmth-related words (such as “friendly”) significantly
faster than competence-related ones (such
as “skillful”).
Behavioral economists, for their part, have
shown that judgments of trustworthiness generally
lead to significantly higher economic gains. For
example, Mascha van ’t Wout, of Brown University,
and Alan Sanfey, of the University of Arizona, asked
subjects to determine how an endowment should
be allocated. Players invested more money, with
no guarantee of return, in partners whom they
perceived to be more trustworthy on the basis of a
glance at their faces.
In management settings, trust increases information
sharing, openness, fluidity, and cooperation. If
coworkers can be trusted to do the right thing and
live up to their commitments, planning, coordination,
and execution are much easier. Trust also facilitates
the exchange and acceptance of ideas—it allows
people to hear others’ message—and boosts the
quantity and quality of the ideas that are produced
within an organization. Most important, trust provides
the opportunity to change people’s attitudes
and beliefs, not just their outward behavior. That’s
the sweet spot when it comes to influence and the
ability to get people to fully accept your message.
The Happy Warrior
The best way to gain influence is to combine warmth
and strength—as difficult as Machiavelli says that
may be to do. The traits can actually be mutually reinforcing:
Feeling a sense of personal strength helps
us to be more open, less threatened, and less threatening
in stressful situations. When we feel confident
and calm, we project authenticity and warmth.
Understanding a little bit about our chemical
makeup can shed some light on how this works. The
neuropeptides oxytocin and arginine vasopressin,
for instance, have been linked to our ability to form
human attachments, to feel and express warmth,
and to behave altruistically. Recent research also
The primacy of warmth manifests in many interrelated ways
that powerfully underscore the importance of connecting
with people before trying to lead them.
Why Warmth Trumps Strength
The Need to Affiliate
People have a need to be included,
to feel a sense of belonging. In fact,
some psychologists would argue that
the drive to affiliate ranks among
our primary needs as humans. Experiments
by neuroscientist Naomi
Eisenberger and colleagues suggest
that the need is so strong that when
we are ostracized—even by virtual
strangers—we experience pain that is
akin to strong physical pain.
“Us” Versus “Them”
In recent decades, few areas have
received as much attention from social
psychology researchers as group
dynamics—and for good reason: The
preference for the groups to which
one belongs is so strong that even
under extreme conditions—such as
knowing that membership in a group
was randomly assigned and that the
groups themselves are arbitrary—
people consistently prefer fellow
group members to nonmembers.
As a leader, you must make sure
you’re a part of the key groups in
your organization. In fact, you want
to be the aspirational member of the
group, the chosen representative of
the group. As soon as you become
one of “them”—the management,
the leadership—you begin to lose
people.
The Desire to Be
Understood
People deeply desire to be heard
and seen. Sadly, as important as
perspective-taking is to good leadership,
being in a position of power
decreases people’s understanding of
others’ points of view. When we have
power over others, our ability to see
them as individuals diminishes. So
leaders need to consciously and consistently
make the effort to imagine
walking in the shoes of the people
they are leading.
suggests that across the animal kingdom feelings of
strength and power have close ties to two hormones:
testosterone (associated with assertiveness, reduced
fear, and willingness to compete and take risks) and
cortisol (associated with stress and stress reactivity).
One study, by Jennifer Lerner, Gary Sherman,
Amy Cuddy, and colleagues, brought hundreds of
people participating in Harvard executive-education
programs into the lab and compared their levels of
cortisol with the average levels of the general population.
The leaders reported less stress and anxiety
than did the general population, and their physiology
backed that up: Their cortisol levels were significantly
lower. Moreover, the higher their rank and the
more subordinates they managed, the lower their
cortisol level. Why? Most likely because the leaders
had a heightened sense of control—a psychological
factor known to have a powerful stress-buffering effect.
According to research by Pranjal Mehta, of the
University of Oregon, and Robert Josephs, of the University
of Texas, the most effective leaders, regard-
58 Harvard Business Review July–August 2013
Spotlight on Influence
less of gender, have a unique physiological profile,
with relatively high testosterone and relatively low
cortisol.
Such leaders face troubles without being troubled.
Their behavior is not relaxed, but they are relaxed
emotionally. They’re often viewed as “happy
warriors,” and the effect of their demeanor on those
around them is compelling. Happy warriors reassure
us that whatever challenges we may face, things will
work out in the end. Ann Richards, the former governor
of Texas, played the happy warrior by pairing her
assertiveness and authority with a big smile and a
quick wit that made it clear she did not let the roughand-
tumble of politics get her down.
During crises, these are the people who are able
to keep that influence conduit open and may even
expand it. Most people hate uncertainty, but they
tolerate it much better when they can look to a
leader who they believe has their back and is calm,
clearheaded, and courageous. These are the people
we trust. These are the people we listen to.
There are physical exercises that can help to
summon self-confidence—and even alter your
body’s chemistry to be more like that of a happy
warrior. Dana Carney, Amy Cuddy, and Andy Yap
suggest that people adopt “power poses” associated
with dominance and strength across the animal
kingdom. These postures are open, expansive, and
space-occupying (imagine Wonder Woman and Superman
standing tall with their hands on their hips
and feet spread apart). By adopting these postures
for just two minutes prior to social encounters, their
research shows, participants significantly increased
their testosterone and decreased their cortisol levels.
Bear in mind that the signals we send can be ambiguous—
we can see someone’s reaction to our presence,
but we may not be sure exactly what the person
is reacting to. We may feel a leader’s warmth but
remain unsure whether it is directed at us; we sense
her strength but need reassurance that it is squarely
aimed at the shared challenge we face. And, as we
noted earlier, judgments are often made quickly, on
the basis of nonverbal cues. Especially when facing
a high-pressure situation, it is useful for leaders to
go through a brief warm-up routine beforehand to
get in the right state of mind, practicing and adopting
an attitude that will help them project positive
nonverbal signals. We refer to this approach as
“inside-out,” in contrast to the “outside-in” strategy
of trying to consciously execute specific nonverbal
behaviors in the moment. Think of the difference
between method acting and classical acting: In
method acting, the actor experiences the emotions
of the character and naturally produces an authentic
performance, whereas in classical acting, actors
learn to exercise precise control of their nonverbal
signals. Generally speaking, an inside-out approach
is more effective.
There are many tactics for projecting warmth and
competence, and these can be dialed up or down as
needed. Two of us, John Neffinger and Matt Kohut,
work with leaders from many walks of life in mastering
both nonverbal and verbal cues. Let’s look now at
some best practices.
How to Project Warmth
Efforts to appear warm and trustworthy by consciously
controlling your nonverbal signals can backfire:
All too often, you’ll come off as wooden and inauthentic
instead. Here are ways to avoid that trap.
Find the right level. When people want to
project warmth, they sometimes amp up the enthusiasm
in their voice, increasing their volume and
dynamic range to convey delight. That can be effective
in the right setting, but if those around you have
done nothing in particular to earn your adulation,
they’ll assume either that you’re faking it or that you
fawn over everyone indiscriminately.
A better way to create vocal warmth is to speak
with lower pitch and volume, as you would if you
were comforting a friend. Aim for a tone that suggests
that you’re leveling with people—that you’re
sharing the straight scoop, with no pretense or emotional
adornment. In doing so, you signal that you
trust those you’re talking with to handle things the
right way. You might even occasionally share a personal
story—one that feels private but not inappropriate—
in a confiding tone of voice to demonstrate
that you’re being forthcoming and open. Suppose,
for instance, that you want to establish a bond with
new employees you’re meeting for the first time. You
might offer something personal right off the bat, such
as recalling how you felt at a similar point in your career.
That’s often enough to set a congenial tone.
Validate feelings. Before people decide what
they think of your message, they decide what they
think of you. If you show your employees that you
hold roughly the same worldview they do, you demonstrate
not only empathy but, in their eyes, common
sense—the ultimate qualification for being
listened to. So if you want colleagues to listen and
agree with you, first agree with them.
Before people
decide what
they think
of your
message,
they decide
what they
think of you.
hbr.org
July–August 2013 Harvard Business Review 59
Connect, Then Lead
Imagine, for instance, that your company is undergoing
a major reorganization and your group is
feeling deep anxiety over what the change could
mean—for quality, innovation, job security. Acknowledge
people’s fear and concerns when you
speak to them, whether in formal meetings or during
watercooler chats. Look them in the eye and say,
“I know everybody’s feeling a lot of uncertainty right
now, and it’s unsettling.” People will respect you for
addressing the elephant in the room, and will be
more open to hearing what you have to say.
Smile—and mean it. When we smile sincerely,
the warmth becomes self-reinforcing: Feeling happy
makes us smile, and smiling makes us happy. This
facial feedback is also contagious. We tend to mirror
one another’s nonverbal expressions and emotions,
so when we see someone beaming and emanating
genuine warmth, we can’t resist smiling ourselves.
Warmth is not easy to fake, of course, and a polite
smile fools no one. To project warmth, you have to
genuinely feel it. A natural smile, for instance, involves
not only the muscles around the mouth but
also those around the eyes—the crow’s feet.
So how do you produce a natural smile? Find
some reason to feel happy wherever you may be,
even if you have to resort to laughing at your predicament.
Introverts in social settings can single out
one person to focus on. This can help you channel
the sense of comfort you feel with close friends or
family.
For example, KNP worked with a manager who
was having trouble connecting with her employees.
Having come up through the ranks as a highly analytic
engineer, she projected competence and determination,
but not much warmth. We noticed, however,
that when she talked about where she grew up
and what she learned about life from the tight-knit
community in her neighborhood, her demeanor relaxed
and she smiled broadly. By including a brief
anecdote about her upbringing when she kicked
off a meeting or made a presentation, she was able
to show her colleagues a warm and relatable side of
herself.
One thing to avoid: smiling with your eyebrows
raised at anyone over the age of five. This suggests
that you are overly eager to please and be liked. It
also signals anxiety, which, like warmth, is contagious.
It will cost you much more in strength than
you will gain in warmth.
How to Project Strength
Strength or competence can be established by virtue
of the position you hold, your reputation, and
your actual performance. But your presence, or
demeanor, always counts, too. The way you carry
yourself doesn’t establish your skill level, of course,
but it is taken as strong evidence of your attitude—
how serious you are and how determined to tackle
a challenge—and that is an important component of
overall strength. The trick is to cultivate a demeanor
of strength without seeming menacing.
Feel in command. Warmth may be harder to
fake, but confidence is harder to talk yourself into.
Feeling like an impostor—that you don’t belong in
the position you’re in and are going to be “found
out”—is very common. But self-doubt completely
undermines your ability to project confidence, enthusiasm,
and passion, the qualities that make up
presence. In fact, if you see yourself as an impostor,
others will, too. Feeling in command and confident
is about connecting with yourself. And when we are
connected with ourselves, it is much easier to connect
with others.
Holding your body in certain ways, as we discussed
above, can help. Although we refer to these
postures as power poses, they don’t increase your
dominance over others. They’re about personal
power—your agency and ability to self-regulate. Re-
Are You Projecting Warmth?
How you present yourself in workplace
settings matters a great deal to how
you’re perceived by others. Even if you’re
not feeling particularly warm, practicing
these approaches and using them in
formal and informal situations can help
clear your path to influence.
When standing,
balance your weight
primarily on one hip
to avoid appearing
rigid or tense.
Tilt your head slightly
and keep your hands
open and welcoming.
Warm Cold
Avoid standing with your
chin pointed down.
Don’t pivot your body
away from the person
you’re engaging with.
Avoid closed-hand
positions and cutting
motions.
illustrat ion: colin haye s
60 Harvard Business Review July–August 2013
Spotlight on Influence
cent research led by Dacher Keltner, of the University
of California, Berkeley, shows that feeling powerful
in this way allows you to shed the fears and inhibitions
that can prevent you from bringing your fullest,
most authentic and enthusiastic self to a high-stakes
professional situation, such as a pitch to investors or
a speech to an influential audience.
Stand up straight. It is hard to overstate the
importance of good posture in projecting authority
and an intention to be taken seriously. As Maya Angelou
wrote, “Stand up straight and realize who you
are, that you tower over your circumstances.” Good
posture does not mean the exaggerated chest-out
pose known in the military as standing at attention,
or raising one’s chin up high. It just means reaching
your full height, using your muscles to straighten
the S-curve in your spine rather than slouching. It
sounds trivial, but maximizing the physical space
your body takes up makes a substantial difference in
how your audience reacts to you, regardless of your
height.
Get ahold of yourself. When you move, move
deliberately and precisely to a specific spot rather
than casting your limbs about loose-jointedly. And
when you are finished moving, be still. Twitching,
fidgeting, or other visual static sends the signal that
you’re not in control. Stillness demonstrates calm.
Combine that with good posture, and you’ll achieve
what’s known as poise, which telegraphs equilibrium
and stability, important aspects of credible
leadership presence.
Standing tall is an especially good way to project
strength because it doesn’t interfere with warmth
in the way that other signals of strength—cutting
gestures, a furrowed brow, an elevated chin—often
do. People who instruct their children to stand up
straight and smile are on to something: This simple
combination is perhaps the best way to project
strength and warmth simultaneously.
If you want to effectively lead others, you have to
get the warmth-competence dynamic right. Projecting
both traits at once is difficult, but the two can be
mutually reinforcing—and the rewards substantial.
Earning the trust and appreciation of those around
you feels good. Feeling in command of a situation
does, too. Doing both lets you influence people more
effectively.
The strategies we suggest may seem awkward at
first, but they will soon create a positive feedback
loop. Being calm and confident creates space to be
warm, open, and appreciative, to choose to act in
ways that reflect and express your values and priorities.
Once you establish your warmth, your strength
is received as a welcome reassurance. Your leadership
becomes not a threat but a gift.
HBR Reprint R1307C
Lean inward in a nonaggressive
manner to signal interest and
engagement.
Place your hands comfortably
on your knees or rest them on
the table.
Aim for body language that feels
professional but relaxed.
Warm Cold
Try not to angle your body
away from the person you’re
engaging.
Crossing your arms
indicates coldness and a
lack of receptivity.
Avoid sitting “at attention”
or in an aggressive posture.
hbr.org
July–August 2013 Harvard Business Review 61
Connect, Then Lead
“For the plaintiff in this case, your honor, the product’s bold assertion—
‘easy-opening lid’—was a cruel and vicious lie.”
Cart oon: Nick Downes
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Published: September 3, 2012
Business Literature: Author’s Choice
Four Traits of Collaborative Leaders
Zachary Tumin and William Bratton, coauthors of Collaborate or Perish! Reaching across Boundaries in a Networked
World, introduce an excerpt about how managers can become collaboration catalysts from The Collaboration
Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential, by Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese.
Hum an beings hav e been collaborating since the first m astodon hunt, but
today there is m ore collaboration than ev er. From the m arketplace to the
battlefield, no one’s going it alone.
The difference now is that we are where Marshall McLuhan and Alv in Toffler
said we’d be — the world is an electronic v illage in which the power of sm all
groups to disrupt the status quo is soaring and response tim es are fast
approaching zero. Digital technology has changed ev ery thing.
Or has it? Technology is an essential elem ent of collaboration, but it’s no silv er
bullet. It can take out the friction, but in this era of big data, there are still
plenty of big collaborativ e failures.
What m akes collaboration so hard? It necessitates reaching across boundaries,
building trust quickly , joining the assets of m ultiple networks, and m aking
ev ery thing work together. All in an env ironm ent where y ou m ay hav e little or no form al authority , y et face the
challenge of ov ercom ing legacy sy stem s, slow-m ov ing bureaucracies, and m ind-sets that fav or collaboration only as a
last resort.
In short, successful collaboration requires leadership. This excerpt from a book by Cisco executiv es Ron Ricci and Carl
Wiese explains the key behav iors that leaders m ust exhibit to support and enhance collaboration. Ev ery leader looking
to unpack the riddle of collaboration and chart a sure path forward should read it.
— Zachary Tumin and William Bratton
An excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Collaboration Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your
Organization’s True Potential
In order to becom e a chief cataly st for collaboration, y ou will hav e to m odel behav iors that em body the way y ou’d like
y our em ploy ees to work. For 1 50 y ears, corporations, gov ernm ents and m ilitaries were built for up-and-down
leadership, with incentiv es and rewards that discouraged cross-organization thinking and, in m any cases, actually
created or encouraged internal com petition. Your challenge is to dev elop and m odel the behav iors required to inspire
people and team s to genuinely break through organizational silos and m ake collaboration a com petitiv e adv antage.
How y ou lead y our people has a direct im pact on y our ability to elim inate or m itigate the ty pes of hum an behav iors
that slow organizations down. In our experience, both inside Cisco and with our custom ers, highly collaborativ e
leaders share four leadership traits. They :
Focus on authentic leadership and eschew passiv e aggressiv eness
Relentlessly pursue transparent decision m aking
View resources as instrum ents of action, not as possessions
Codify the relationship between decision rights, accountability and rewards
Focus on authentic leadership and eschew passive aggressiveness. For collaboration to succeed, leaders need to be
authentic. Cisco studied which characteristics of leaders on collaborativ e team s are m ost im portant, and we found
that the m ost critical attribute was a leader’s willingness to follow through on com m itm ents. This inv olv es two
elem ents.
First, as a leader of a team , departm ent or business unit with people, budgets and resources under y our control, y ou
m ust follow through on organizational com m itm ents. Unfortunately , people don’t alway s do what they prom ise.
Passiv e aggressiv eness is a subtle, nuanced form of hum an behav ior in which people find way s to underm ine others.
They often giv e tacit agreem ent in a m eeting, for exam ple, but then proceed to take counterproductiv e action once
the m eeting is ov er. Or they m ight agree to help another team , but then are slow to follow through or put an underperform
er on the assignm ent. Think of how m uch organizational inertia is created because leaders don’t alway s do
what they say they will do.
Second, when there is disagreem ent about a decision — one m ade by y ou or som eone else — fight the instinct to m ake it
personal. Ultim ately , m ost disagreem ents are not personal in nature, but rather result from differing approaches to
m aking a decision. The m ore y ou focus on com m unicating what driv es y our decision m aking, the m ore tim e y ou can
spend m aking good decisions instead of arguing a choice with a peer. This leads us to the next leadership trait.
Relentlessly pursue transparent decision making. Decisions are alway s about m aking choices; it’s critical that y ou are
clear about how y ou m ake them . Tell people y our sty le and thought process for nav igating tricky , or ev en ev ery day ,
decisions. In our experience, and this is backed up by research, there’s a direct relationship between the agility and
resilience of a team and the transparency of its decision-m aking processes. When y ou’re open and transparent about
the answers to three questions — who m ade the decision, who is accountable for the outcom es of the decision, and is
that accountability real — people in organizations spend far less tim e questioning how or why a decision was m ade.
Think of how m uch tim e is wasted ferreting out details when a decision is m ade and com m unicated because the people
who are affected don’t know who m ade the decision or who is accountable for its consequences.
… As a leader, y our responsibility is to docum ent the key decision paths of y our organization and com m unicate them
to y our team as often as y ou can. There was a tim e in business when hoarding inform ation was a source of
organizational power. Today , the inv erse is true if y ou want to m otiv ate a team that is increasingly m obile, global
and socially driv en.
Explain the guiding principles of y our decision-m aking sty le at each stage of y our organization’s decision paths. Share
y our biases and tell war stories of how y our successes and failures shaped these biases. We often hear the phrase
“intelligent risk taking” — nothing em powers people to take good risks m ore than understanding the conditions for
taking the risk in the first place. Transparent decision m aking is critical to em powering y our people.
View resources as instruments of action, not as possessions. The prom ise of flexibility and agility as an organization,
inspired by establishing shared goals across organizational boundaries, is only attainable if y ou back it up by sharing
resources as well.
It’s hardly a new observ ation that people som etim es stockpile resources around their business unit or departm ent, or
are slow — perhaps ev en hesitant — to share those resources with other departm ents. There m ight ev en be incentiv es
in place that discourage sharing. For as long as com panies hav e pursued profits, the size of one’s organization has
defined the size of one’s financial opportunity . But are y our resources truly applied as optim ally as possible to y our
m arket opportunities in a way that best serv es the total business? By unlocking these trapped resources, organizations
can m ore quickly and successfully pursue em erging m arket opportunities.
Hav ing a com m on approach to assess and com m unicate resource decisions is critical to creating a transparent
env ironm ent am ong leaders. The m ore transparent the env ironm ent, the m ore willing leaders will be to share
resources in support of the shared goals of the entire business, and the harder it will be for resisters to hoard them . This
shift in approach is not an easy one for leaders to m ake and requires a balancing act between clear expectations,
patience and follow through. Ultim ately , it’s as m uch a m indset as it is a process. The fundam ental enablers of
collaborativ e leadership are v iewing resources as instrum ents of action rather than as possessions and aligning y our
com pany ’s larger shared goals to an accountability sy stem that includes rewards and incentiv es for working together
effectiv ely .
Codify the relationship between decision rights, accountability and rewards. Modeling the desired collaborativ e behav iors
— showing y our em ploy ees that y ou walk the talk — is the goal. But what happens when y ou’re not around? The m ore
these behav iors are codified into an end-to-end sy stem across y our organization, the greater the odds of collaboration
succeeding when y ou’re not there to reinforce cultural norm s. As y ou define the decision paths of y our organization
and build a com m on v ocabulary to m ake those decision paths as transparent as possible, take the tim e to establish
clear param eters. Who gets to m ake decisions? Are all decisions tied to funding? These are the ty pes of questions to
which ev ery one m ust know the answers. Publish the param eters for these decision rights and tell people which leaders
hav e these rights — that inform ation is crucial to breaking through any consensus logjam ; decision-rights holders
should hav e 51 percent of the v ote when collaborativ e team s can’t reach natural agreem ent.
Hav ing published decision rights is just one elem ent of an accountability sy stem . While it’s nev er pleasant to talk
about the consequences of poor decisions, the reality is that to succeed, collaboration dem ands m ore distributed and
em powered actions across y our organization. With that em powerm ent com es not only m ore good outcom es but also
the increased potential for bad ones. You will need to consider new way s of gaining input from team s on the quality of
collaborativ e decision m aking and reward people who consistently m ake good decisions in a collaborativ e
env ironm ent.
As part of their ov erall perform ance m anagem ent, ev ery Cisco em ploy ee is m easured by peers and their m anagers on
their collaboration factor, the result of which directly im pacts how their perform ance is rated and, ultim ately , the
size of their total com pensation. Other factors that determ ine the size of bonuses are tied to how well em ploy ees
collectiv ely perform in achiev ing certain shared goals that Cisco establishes annually , such as custom er-satisfaction
m etrics and financial results. Collaborativ e cultures not only foster team work, they also reward it. Perform ance
m easures m ust strike a balance between how well em ploy ees carry out their indiv idual roles and how m uch they
contribute to collectiv e outcom es.
— Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese
Reprinted with perm ission of the publisher. Copy right ©2 01 2 Cisco Sy stem s Inc.
THE REVIEWERS
Zachary Tumin is the coauthor, with William Bratton, of Collaborate or Perish! Reaching across Boundaries in a Networked World (Crown
Business, 2012). He leads the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ project in Information and Communications Technology and
Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and directs the Harvard component of a joint Harvard–MIT initiative in cybersecurity.
William Bratton is chairman of Kroll Inc., a leading security and risk consultancy owned by Altegrity, Inc. Previously, Bratton was police
commissioner of Boston and New York City, and police chief of Los Angeles. He is also the coauthor of Turnaround: How America’s Top Cop
Reversed the Crime Epidemic (with Peter Knobler, Random House, 1998).
THIS BOOK
The Collaboration Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential (Cisco Systems, 2011), by Ron Ricci and Carl
Wiese
Ron Ricci is vice president of corporate positioning at Cisco Systems Inc. He is also the coauthor of Momentum: How Companies Become
Unstoppable Market Forces (with John Volkmann, Harvard Business School Press, 2003).
Carl Wiese is senior vice president at Cisco Systems Inc., and leader of its multibillion-dollar global collaboration business. He is a veteran
computer, data, and telecommunications industry executive with more than 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, services, and product
management.