More Fun with Ram Charan (In which Ram Charan becomes our modern day Ben Franklin)

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One of Ram Charan's recent attempts to change the world is entitled: Know-How: The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don't.

It's not just another one of those "I-worked-with-Jack-Welch- and-Larry-Bossidy-so-step-aside fool" books, but rather serves to create a modern day Ben-Franklin list of virtues based on performance.

Let's have some fun comparing the two lists:

RAM CHARAN'S LIST of VIRTUES for MODERN BUSINESS (2008)

1. Positioning and Repositioning: find ideas for the organization that meets customers' demands and makes money.
2. Pinpoint External Change: identify patterns that place the organization on the offensive.
3. Leading the Social System: get the right people with the right behaviors and the right information to make better decisions and business results.
4. Judge People: assess people based on their actions, decisions and behavior and match them to the job's non-negotiables.
5. Mold a Team: The ability to coordinate competent, high-ego leaders.
6. Set Goals: balance goals that give equal weighting to what the business can become and what it can achieve.
7. Set Priorities: define a path and direct resources, actions, and energy to accomplish goals.
8. Deal with Forces beyond the Market: deal with pressures you cannot control but which affect your business.

Charan also identifies personal traits of leaders that help (or hurt) these "know-hows".

1. Ambition:
the drive to accomplish something but not win at all costs.
2. Tenacity: The drive to search, persist and follow through, but not too long.
3. Self-confidence: The drive to overcome the fear of failure and response, or the need to be liked and use power judiciously but not become arrogant and narcissistic.
4. Psychological Openness: The ability to be receptive to new and different ideas but not shut other people down.
5. Realism: The ability to see what can be accomplished and not gloss over problems or assume the worst.
6. Appetite for Learning: The ability to grown and improve know-hows and not repeat the same mistakes.

Well, what's not to like? This sort of checklist is usually what the HR people hand out in those 360 degree-assessments which are supposed to separate the good leaders from the bad leaders. The problem is - it's too easy for a bad manager to do well on these things, by using some old-fashioned fear and coercion on his subordinates.

Now let's take a look at Ben Franklin -

BEN FRANKLIN'S LIST of CLASSIC AMERICAN VIRTUES (c. 1776)

Personal Virtues
The seven personal virtues relate to your attitudes toward activities and their challenges. Good personal character traits will better your chances of success in achieving your goals.

1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
3. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
4. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
5. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
6. Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

Social Virtues
These six "social virtues" concern your attitudes toward people with whom you have dealings. Good social character traits result in other people wanting to do business with you or to just hang out with you.

8. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
9. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
10. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
11. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

I think I like old Ben's virtues a bit more. Looks like Ram Charan's been reading up on Ben Franklin, though, doesn't it?

Let me venture to add two more virtues of our age: greed + laziness. Get as much as you can with as little effort as possible (right, Richard Koch?)

Which reminds me - what happened to Dr. Deming's 14 points?

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This page contains a single entry by Christian Sarkar published on February 11, 2008 1:35 AM.

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