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February 10, 2011

#7 - As a Leader, What Should You Be Tracking?

As we're sure you know by this point, this month's author series question is based on an article in the SF Chronicle that sparked our interest. It was about people who are using new technology to track their time. This theme undoubtedly relates to leadership and thus our February series question was born: "As a Leader, What Should You Be Tracking?" Check back every day for a new answer and make sure to share your own with us on Twitter and Facebook.


Today's response comes to you from Jossey-Bass author (and regular contributor to our blog!) Steve Denning:

"In traditional management, the role of leaders is often seen as that of a controller who develops a plan and then checks the progress of work against the plan. In today's rapidly workworkplace, however, fixed plans quickly become obsolete and constrain innovation. Moreover as all work is increasingly knowledge work, efforts to control those doing the work become counterproductive.

Today, leadership requires more agility. In effect, the shift in power in the marketplace from seller to buyer means that the customer becomes the effective boss of those doing the work. The leader's role becomes that of an enabler rather than a controller. The leader enables those doing the work (knowledge workers) to deliver more value to customers sooner. The goal is to delight the customers.The two most important things that a leader should be tracking therefore are (a) are customers are being delighted? and (b) what impediments to delighting the customer have been eliminated from the work?"

Stephen Denning is the author of The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century (Jossey-Bass, 2010), which has been selected by 800-CEO-READ as one of the best five books on management in 2010. He is also the author of The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling (Jossey-Bass, 2005) and The Secret Language of Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2007). A long-time executive at the World Bank, he now advises organizations around the world on leadership, storytelling and reinventing management.

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