Tag Archives: integrity

What Makes a Boss Great?

I came across an  HBR post by Robert Sutton, 12 Things Good Bosses Believe, and  thought it was a good companion to my previous post Employees Don’t Leave Bad Companies, They Leave Bad Bosses.

Here are 12 key beliefs of great bosses.

  1. I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.
  2. My success — and that of my people — depends largely on being the master of obvious and mundane things, not on magical, obscure, or breakthrough ideas or methods.
  3. Having ambitious and well-defined goals is important, but it is useless to think about them much. My job is to focus on the small wins that enable my people to make a little progress every day.
  4. One of the most important, and most difficult, parts of my job is to strike the delicate balance between being too assertive and not assertive enough.
  5. My job is to serve as a human shield, to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions, and idiocy of every stripe — and to avoid imposing my own idiocy on them as well.
  6. I strive to be confident enough to convince people that I am in charge, but humble enough to realize that I am often going to be wrong.
  7. I aim to fight as if I am right, and listen as if I am wrong — and to teach my people to do the same thing.
  8. One of the best tests of my leadership — and my organization — is “what happens after people make a mistake?”
  9. Innovation is crucial to every team and organization. So my job is to encourage my people to generate and test all kinds of new ideas. But it is also my job to help them kill off all the bad ideas we generate, and most of the good ideas, too.
  10. Bad is stronger than good. It is more important to eliminate the negative than to accentuate the positive.
  11. How I do things is as important as what I do.
  12. Because I wield power over others, I am at great risk of acting like an insensitive jerk — and not realizing it.

Toyota, Telecom and Trust

It doesn’t matter how good you think your product is. It doesn’t matter how much time you’ve spent developing it. Nor does it matter how much money you’ve spent getting it to market and building its brand profile. The only thing that matters is the current public perception of your brand and product.

When the public perception of your brand is severely wounded, like has happened globally with Toyota, and in New Zealand with Telecom, how that company responds to a crisis is a key driver in restoring trust.

The key elements of trust are:

  • Confidence – I have confidence that you will deliver what you promise.
  • Consistency – I believe that you will deliver it consistently and repeatedly.
  • Integrity – You will take responsibility for ensuring this happens.
  • Authority – You have the authority to make and implement these decisions.

Below is an excerpt from Toyota’s President, Akio Toyoda  in the Washington Post on 9 February.

“More than 70 years ago, Toyota entered the auto business based on a simple, but powerful, principle: that Toyota would build the highest-quality, safest and most reliable automobiles in the world. The company has always put the needs of our customers first and made the constant improvement of our vehicles a top priority. That is why 80 percent of all Toyotas sold in the United States over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

When consumers purchase a Toyota, they are not simply purchasing a car, truck or van. They are placing their trust in our company. The past few weeks, however, have made clear that Toyota has not lived up to the high standards we set for ourselves. More important, we have not lived up to the high standards you have come to expect from us. I am deeply disappointed by that and apologize. As the president of Toyota, I take personal responsibility. That is why I am personally leading the effort to restore trust in our word and in our products.”
 And here is an excerpt from TVNZ‘s interview with Telecom’s Chief Executive, Paul Reynolds, 0n 23 February.
“Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds has stated clearly that enough is enough at a media briefing following yet another outage on its XT Network. Reynolds openly acknowledged that the company has not kept its promises of a reliable world class service for many customers. He says the company is focused on restoring the faith of customers south of Taupo who have been impacted by the outages. One outage is too much, several are intolerable,” says Reynolds. He says there is no hiding from the fact that the XT service has not delivered so far. Reynolds says the four outages have quite different features but two involved failed operational processes and all involved the Christchurch network.
Actions have to speak louder than words, Reynolds says and he accepts that it is no longer enough to simply say sorry. He has outlined what he describes as significant changes to the operational team and he says Telecom’s XT network partner Alcatel-Lucent has been put on notice.”
So how do these excerpts rate in terms of restoring trust? Here’s my take:

Toyota: Confidence 7, Consistency 8, Integrity 10, Authority 10. Total: 35/40.
Telecom: Confidence 7, Consistency 6, Integrity 7, Authority 8. Total: 28/40.

Paul Reynolds is not taking personal responsibility for fixing the problems of the XT network, he is devolving that to “the company” and Alcatel-Lucent. He has also focused on solving a specific problem that has affected customers south of Taupo, rather than perhaps reassuring all customers that these problems will not re-occur.

Of course, all of this is just the first step. What really matters is how long it takes for Toyota and Telecom to deliver what they have promised, and whether it meets our expectations. After all, actions speak louder than words.

How would you rate your boss in terms of trustworthiness? What about your colleagues? And most importantly, how would others rate you?