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Damian D. Skipper Pitts

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9TH Floor Leadership
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LeaderShaping People and Team Intelligence
By Damian D. Skipper Pitts   
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Last edited: Sunday, February 24, 2008
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008

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Who is better to train future leaders than the leaders of today? The business world is quickly realizing potential leaders are a major asset – the drivers of systems, management, and business process. Taking that potential and developing it is highly desirable. Team Intelligence is the tool that must be integrated if to achieve the difference between winning or losing in competitive situations.

Team Intelligence

Is there such a thing as Team Intelligence or “TI?” If there was, it would revolutionize the study and the practice of business. Our research shows that there is such a thing, that we can identify, describe, measure and develop it and that this has measurable business outcomes in terms of enterprise profitability, growth, and development. This has major implications for leadership development and talent management, to mention just two areas.

Idiots Savants and PhDs?

Traditionally psychologists defined intelligence as IQ, the intelligence quotient notably popularized by Binet and others. These days it is recognized that IQ is but one measure of intelligence, broadly defined. The working theory is that there are multiple intelligences, each of which is separate and defines a different form of cognitive performance. Thus we can talk about emotional, artistic, and kinesthetic intelligence. But no-one has even identified an entity such as Team Intelligence? Yet if these others exist, why should not TI?

Popular culture identifies and discusses capabilities that could well be seen as direct reflections of Team Intelligence. These include business acumen and a nose for driving people, process, profit, and profitability. We sometimes talk of people being a “leadership genius.” Thus the popular wisdom acknowledges something that would be like Team Intelligence. It’s just that the academics and psychologists haven’t caught up yet since they are usually not in a position to have direct, as distinct from indirect, experience of it in the field in a real business. Simply, Team Intelligence should be constructed as a significant discipline in our business schools and development programs.

Another IQ! But Why?

That is where the work of The Bison Group comes in – a team of United States Marines turned business professionals and industry specialists, providing business acumen assessment and development program that focuses on people, process, and the disciplines of transformational leadership and organizational behavior. Our research shows that we can identify specific Team Intelligence at the level of the individual, which encapsulates successful environments at the organizational level. We can formally model that intelligence, measure it, and show what its impacts are on the team performance aspect of the individual and organization they are a part. Some of this work is introduced in the release of our latest book, “Building Great Teams: Charting the Path of Organizational Politics” (BookSurge, 2008), see www.amazon.com and our essential guidebook for building your transformational resilience, providing the needed coaching to your people, and driving performance management for business results – HumanSigma.Net.

Rather than use the all too familiar term IQ, we approach this discipline with another term, “LeaderShaping People and Transformational Change.” With the current economic downturn and its impact on leadership development practices and programs, organizations must remain on task with developing their people and systems and there’s no better time than now to get it done. The book and the guidebook combined examines people and organizational leadership using business acumen and United States Marine Corps strategy and tactical-philosophy as a multi-dimensional approach to creating an environment with significant HumanSigma to affect proactive change. Together, they argue that while recessions typically bring discouragement and fear to the workplace at all levels, there are good reasons for it to be different this time, as long as HR and leadership development professionals take the initiative.

Essentially, they examine, explain, and introduce strategy-execution and team intelligence.

Our definition of team intelligence, however, is not just or even mainly about team building. It is really about value creation in people. We identify the criticality of an individual or team to create capital and that means in any level of an organization and system. Team Intelligence currently uses organizational behavior as the stimulus that seeks to understand, explain, and improve human behavior in organizations. Team Intelligence identifies profit intelligence, the propensity to create human capital as measured in successful workplace behaviors and environments.

Leaders Today

Who is better to train future leaders than the leaders of today? The business world is quickly realizing potential leaders are a major asset – the drivers of systems, management, and business process. Taking that potential and developing it is highly desirable. Team Intelligence is the tool that must be integrated if to achieve the difference between winning or losing in competitive situations. Using it wisely and as a significant applicable resource, Team Intelligence becomes the stimulus to initiate and maintain the relationship necessary to create leaders from leaders. With dedication from both the mentor and the protégé, the discipline guides participants through various steps to ensure it follows the right path that will benefit all parties. Team Intelligence models a value-add and results-oriented perspective that will help the leaders of today develop the leaders of tomorrow.

Most organizations focus their efforts on improving two aspects of human behavior:

- Job performance: the degree to which individuals perform the behaviors needed for the organization to achieve its goals; and
- Organizational commitment: the degree to which employees remain loyal to the organization rather than withdrawing from their work.

Using Team Intelligence, you can learn how to guide the integration of an adaptable model that seeks to explain these two areas of organizational behavior. That model is shown below and will serve as the organizing framework for integrating Team Intelligence into any existing system and/or organization.

Team Intelligence is measured using online assessment instruments. The instruments also measure the actual behavior of an individual and show how this differs from their values and workplace motivators. These show whether the individual or team is likely to under- or out-perform other people in terms of creating profitable environments to their organizations (and higher market value). Our instruments also measure the leadership signature or culture of an organization and reveal what the type of team culture means for the ultimate market value of the company.

Recessions and economic downturns normally see a reduction in transformational leadership and development program spending since companies typically do not have confidence that these programs can provide short-term solutions to the financial issues that must be addressed. This is a significant misnomer and can produce a detachment for employing creative and innovative ways of achieving significant growth.

However, companies have an unparalleled opportunity to transform both leadership development programs and the way that they introduce creative programs to modify the financial behavior of their organization, including business acumen programs. These have the potential for rapid financial impacts to help in the short and long-term and to position them better as they come out of the stalling economy.

LeaderShaping the Future

Our work comes up with some surprising and, for many, counter-intuitive conclusions. Being one of the best leader types does not correlate with having the best Team Intelligence; in fact the reverse is more likely to be the case. The possession of a higher degree or an MBA is not correlated with high Team Intelligence. In fact, business outcomes may be worse with an MBA because the holder incorrectly assumes that they have the right business acumen for the assigned task. This over-confidence leads to rash decisions based on a lack of real-world experience – a model that the U.S. Armed Forces learned the hard way during the Vietnam War.

Simply placing new officers in command of troops already in country caused discontent, disharmony, and loss of life due to rash decisions and mistakes – hence the development of the “Mustang” program. They quickly learned that creative methods and a non-traditional approach was necessary, as a model within itself, to overcome the challenges faced by following the traditions that worked in the past. Just as time changes, so should the ways in traditional thinking.

The concept of Team Intelligence has some revolutionary implications for business. If it is correct, we are routinely selecting the wrong types of people as leaders and managers, which is probably why we get recurrent business and organizational past crises such as those during the fall of the countries largest companies including Enron, Adelphia, WorldCom, and others.

Secondly we have completely the wrong development regimes and programs for managers and emerging leaders, since we might be measuring and managing the wrong things.

Third, our business education both at university and in business is based on the wrong skills since we are confusing business literacy and business acumen, which are completely different things. One is based on theory, and the other is based on experience.

We routinely select for business literacy, which is not the same thing as business acumen and therefore suffer the consequences when holders of these often-atmospheric qualifications, apparently unaccountably, fail to deliver the right P&L results.

This is where we come in again. A great way to learn the discipline of Team Intelligence, individuals can employ our program, “LeaderShaping the Future – Organizational Behavior: Harness the Potential of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today!”

This is a 40-hour intense business program that introduces “The Five Paragraph Order” concept as a significant tool within Team Intelligence. The Five Paragraph Order, otherwise known by its short name and acronym “SMEAC,” follows a set of well disciplined campaign precepts to build the foundation for integrating Team Intelligence. If these campaign precepts are followed correctly (they are applicable to any situation in any industry), your chances of success will gain valuable resources to win in any environment.

- Situation (Manage by mind, lead by heart),
- Mission (See what all see; think what no other thinks),
- Execution (Master transition; develop the discipline of managing the unexpected),
- Administration/ Logistics (Link leadership to legacy! Exploit the dynamic within, develop it without), and
- Command and Signal (Hunt for great behavior; become a teacher of dignified coaches – ensure progression of authority)

Counting on the Multiples

So what does this all mean to the theory-based findings of multiple intelligence? Well, our work supports and extends it even further. As outlined in our first book, “The Art of Detachment: Breakthrough Principles to Transformational Leadership” (Kendall Hunt Publishing Co, 2007) see www.amazon.com, Team Intelligence is aligned with the art of employing democracy in leadership. Team Intelligence most importantly demonstrates an understanding of excellence through performance management that realizes a state where people come into a single way of thinking, without losing their individuality, creating a “shared-vision” that achieves a predetermined objective.

It shows that glorious entity called the human psyche and how it is even more multi-faceted and powerful than we had imagined. Team Intelligence deconstructs types of influence, stratagem, and execution that require a response to the demand contribution and persuasion on policy and practice. It eliminates opportunities of enlisting archaic perspectives, offering a body of knowledge that channels enthusiastic initiatives without stifling potential for greater human and operational endeavors. It offers a collective commitment for winning, using educational leadership as an everyday event; a state with “fluidity,” ongoing and always in motion and the “vitality” within a system through its vision (and common orientation point) that finds a “voice.”

Not only does it have some far reaching capabilities in the analytical, emotional, artistic and kinesthetic areas, but it also has unsuspected abilities in the strictly financial area that also differentiate us as beings and people. It emphasizes the criticality of strategic leadership, strategy formulation and implementation, technology management and innovation.

It helps individuals to drive fundamental change, achieving communal commitment, and unified frameworks that employs an intense, custom learning experience for enabling team leaders and their associates to increase their leadership ability – personally and professionally. It is at that point that they are equipped to apply the knowledge paradigms and tools across team-centric environments to win.

Team Intelligence is definitely, “not” business as usual and once we harness the abilities comprehended in this newest form of intelligence, we can leverage people to improve as human beings – the journey from ordinary people to extraordinary individuals.

But first we must recognize the existence of this new set of capabilities. It is important that we do not pass it off as a fad that will come and go. It is critical that we do not ignore this intelligence, but recognize that we have identified yet another facet of human ingenuity and power and, moreover, that it is unlikely to be the last.

Transition: Your Paradigm of Choice must Influence Your Paradigm of Change – Leadership that Is

The theory of Team Intelligence has far-reaching implications for talent management, leadership development and HR in companies everywhere. For a start, it implies that in using traditional personality and competency assessments to improve business outcomes and results, they have been barking up the wrong tree.

Traditional personality and competency assessments are simply measuring the wrong things so they cannot help improve business outcomes from a strictly team-centric perspective that immediately impacts the workplace. That is not to say they might not improve other outcomes such as the quality of leadership and project functioning.

But we cannot confuse leadership with business outcome, as is usually the case right now in most leadership development and talent management programs. This implies that most leadership development programs are simply not using their money wisely, or at the very least, claiming wrongly that they lead to results that they simply are not capable of.

Recommendations

- Using leadership and performance principles from the U.S. Marine Corps, explore what it takes to become a great leader in the workplace.
- Integrate business acumen and talent management protocol to overcome organizational and inter-office politics, outlining the six aspects of thinking politically in the exercise of leadership, team building and business.
- Demonstrates how ordinary women can move up in the corporate world by shaping their own attitudes about success, prejudice, oppression, equality, business and leadership.
- Educate C-Level executives, management and project teams in the discipline of Team Intelligence.

Web Site: The Bison Group Inc



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