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People once stood in awe of electricity, writes Dale Zand, until scientists identified and harnessed its three basic variables: voltage, current, and resistance. Likewise, people marvel at the achievements of successful leaders, such as Lee Iacocca at Chrysler or Jack Welch at GE, and wonder how they do it. In this superb volume, Zand dispels the mystery surrounding leadership so that managers at all levels - from the CEO to the shop supervisor - can develop the skills needed to lead effectively. Zand highlights the three elements required for leadership in today's information-driven organizations: kwledge, trust, and power. Kwledge, Zand argues, is essential to decision making: Leaders must be able to tap information about customers, products, and processes found throughout the organization. The book brims with suggestions about how to tap this kwledge. The author demonstrates, for instance, how a leader's attitudes and behavior can release (or repress) the flow of kwledge in a corporation (he shows how at one failed home-appliance company managers suppressed information about customer complaints and reprimanded factory workers for suggesting changes, fatal mistakes); he outlines how the skillful use of questions can draw out and highlight the kwledge managers and workers possess; and he discusses how to avoid subtle obstacles (such as the complacency of success) to improve the link between kwledge and action. Trust, the second element of the triad, helps a leader achieve open, collaborative communication. Indeed, Zand shows that the degree to which people trust a leader determines how much access they will give him or her to their kwledge. The book explores the key elements in the development of trust (a leader must disclose relevant information, share influence, live up to the spirit of agreements, and t abuse power) and also illustrates some basic laws of trust - mistrust drives out trust; trust stimulates productivity; and mistrusting groups self-destruct. Zand then considers power, showing how the leader must set the agenda for the firm; select, develop, and motivate the people who will implement the agenda; and examine and adjust individual performance. Equally important, he shows that in today's kwledge-driven corporation, the effective leader rarely issues directives, but instead acts more as a consultant or a client. At Chrysler, for example, CEO Robert Eaton, senior managers, and project leaders all meet when a new car model is to be created or redesigned. After the objectives are worked out, the team is turned loose to organize itself and get the job done. Freed from constant second-guessing by top bosses, teams work harder and take greater pride in their work. By the mid-1990s, this design-consignment process at Chrysler was so effective that the companys speed to market and reduction of development costs far exceeded its U. S. competitors. Masterfully written, Triadic Leadership is a down-to-earth, powerful guide. Full of examples-many from the author's consulting experience-of companies from General Motors, Wal-Mart, and American Express to electronics, manufacturing, and health care organizations, it offers a wealth of practical information to managers at all levels, and to anyone who aspires to a leadership position.
Dale E. Zand, the author of the highly acclaimed Information, Organization, and Power, is Professor of Management and Organizational Behaviour at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and a management consultant to major corporations.