Disclaimer: This blog is a way of expressing my personal opinions thoughts and anecdotes, as well as my personal understanding of the scriptures, and conference addresses. It is not meant as a statement of doctrine, and may not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, or doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

20 April 2014

Enoch and Cain: Two Eternal Leadership Styles

This was a paper that I worked on for a class recently. There are a few areas for improvement on it, but overall, the work has some good messages.

Let me know what you think!


Throughout history, a variety of leadership styles have been broached and implemented. As they continue to do so at a seemingly ever-expanding rate, it is important to focus on what has worked in the past. There have been leaders who have gained a reputable level of followers by implementing core components into their organization. The values and primary principles of the organization, including the original vision of its founder, should be omnipotent in the leader who seeks to perpetuate the goals of that organization. Two historical studies from ancient record will illustrate how this can take place. The leaders, Enoch and Cain, held values that were drastically different from one another. Their ideaologies were on different sides of the spectrum, and while some of their methodologies could be seen as similar, it will be shown that the values held by the leader will permeate the values of the organization. The varied styles of followers must also be addressed, along with the challenges that face a mutli-cultural organization. What values followers look for are generally the key factor in why they choose to be a part of the organization.    

Enoch and Cain: Two Eternal Leadership Styles

Leadership and management are a perpetually discussed subject, and rightfully so. In almost any organization, there are leaders and followers. In order to maximize success, the leader must work as effectively as possible to motivate, inspire, coerce, condone, reshape, or—put simply—lead. How it is to be done and what best suits the needs of the organization are obviously necessary steps to success. It is refreshing to see a stronger emphasis on what it takes to be a successful follower as well, since all leaders were and continue to be followers in their respective organizations. A recent article discusses what a follower looks for in belonging to an organization, as well as the motivation, attitudes and thought process that accompanies him or her.  (Bjuhstad, et al, 2006).

Equally important to the organization, in addition to the leaders and followers, are the values of the organization. Scott Lichtenstein discusses the power of values that a leader holds and how that can be implemented into the organization, as well as how those values can act as a filter in the executive decision-making process (2012). Recognizing the values that a leader holds is a way to notice what is important to that leader, and how well the original mission and purpose of the organization is exemplified through that leader.

Two examples will bring in to sharp relief the power of a leader, how the values of that leader influences the organization, and how and why followers choose to belong to such an organization. Though the two figures are ancient and historical, the patterns are still prevalent today, and are of concern to the modern leader. One (Enoch) will generally lead to a synergy of values, a stronger work ethic, and an outward focus; while the other (Cain) will often lead to an aggrandized, toxic, inward (or self-centered) focus. Enoch was a religious leader who’s major responsibility was to establish a Zion society. 

R. Quinn Gardner, then managing director of Church Welfare Services for the LDS church, further elaborates on what tools and values Enoch implemented to create Zion. Showing love, service, work, promoting self-reliance, understanding the power of consecration, and upholding the importance of stewardship, are six key values that he recognizes in how Enoch was able to lead this society (1979). According to leadership styles that are presented by Daniel Goleman (2000), the principles that Enoch sought to establish in Zion were closely related to Affiliative, Coaching, and Authoritative leadership approaches.

The affiliative leader will understand those who are led and strengthen unity in the organization. Empathy, healing, emotional understanding and an outward love towards those he served strengthened his followers and provided them with the trust and familial bond necessary to continue to be a part of Zion. To see a leader incorporate the six principles laid out above will further enhance the authentic relationship that Enoch had with his followers. This recognition of value incorporation is crucial to a successful followership (p. 307, Bjugstad, et al, 2006). Understanding the values of a variety of cultures and experiences, such as those mentioned by Bordas (2007) allows for mutual respect of any who desire to be a part of the organization. It is critical for a leader to be able to take one from any walk of life and transform a unique follower into an intergral part of the organization.

The society that Enoch sought to establish was also involved in the coaching style of leadership, in that those who were a part of Zion were always looking to develop and were focused on the future. That Enoch was a prophet, and one who, of necessity, must preach repentance, is part of the coaching mentality as well, which helps the follower improve, restructure and recommit. Both of these leadership models, according to Goleman, will produce positive results.

Inherent also in the leadership role that Enoch held, was an Authoritative model. As a prophet and one who received revelation which would incorporate vision, creativity, and  implementation of new procedures, his message was to be received willingly and with a recognition of where his authority lay. He would provide clear direction, and not just have a vision, but share it and accomplish it utilizing the whole unit. He would lead from the front as a true leader, and not from the back as a mere manager. In addition, and in utilization of the other three leadership traits that Goleman has recognized, lies the Democratic (P. 81-82, 2000). Active participation is inherent in the Zion society, and although high standards are set, there is always opportunity to grow, repent, and develop.

Treating others with respect, recognizing the values of personal responsibility, sacrifice, obedience, and forgiveness are all part of a Zion society as well, and at the core of what Enoch sought to bring about. Kim B. Clark, former dean of Harvard Business School and president of BYU-Idaho discusses the awareness that comes from those who sought the organization for which Enoch sought. In a devotional for BYU-Idaho, he continues that theme by encouraging leaders today to seek for those same principles for which Enoch was known, and involve them in a daily basis. He mentions prayer, reaching out to those who need help, sharing core values, and involving as many as possible into the reachable goals for which Enoch sought (2009).

As Enoch developed and perfected the leadership styles mentioned, a successful leader is presented. Mastery of four of Goleman’s management styles has led Enoch to fulfill the mission of the organization of which he was a part. He implemented a society that is still sought by many today.
In contrast to Enoch, another powerful figure from that time period, and relatively contemporaneous, was Cain (the son of Adam). While one of the ultimate acts of Cain are not recognized as a value-led leader (killing his brother, Abel), many of the leadership principles that he espoused are still prevalent today. Cain was one who sought to do things with as little effort as possible. He knew the value of hard work, but could not always see the end from the beginning. Lacking in long-term vision, he would typically be led to recognize the short-term value of things. Shortly after his brother’s death, he recognized the benefits that can come from a “hostile takeover” and would gain the value of his brothers property after his passing.

Opposite from the principles of Enoch, Cain would lead by coercion, force, and false authority. He did not recognize the ability to be transparent in his reports, and is most known for his utter lack in brotherly compassion. “Am I my brother’s keeper” is unfortunately still a technique used by some leaders and followers alike. A successful leader today can still lead with authority and office, just as Cain did for a time. He can still necessitate a high standard of performance, demand immediate results, and give necessary rewards when earned.

The inward thinking of the leader is what makes him most toxic. It is at odds with the principles of Zion, yet still garners a wealth of followers who are seeking the same values as the leader – Money. When a price tag is associated with anything and everything, worth, value and cost are taken in a different context. It is no longer a symmetry of recognizing strengths for the greater good, but what can be gained through exploitation of goods. Gaining the most profit from the least amount of effort and means can lead to shortcuts, shoddy workmanship, and distrust in the accounting department. Both leaders would lead through covenant-making and commitment, but the values of the leader are truly where the efforts would see ultimate results. Enoch would go on to lead a city to ultimate unity and success, while Cain and his mentality would create leaders who lead by fear, results without compromise, and a price on the worth of a soul.    

Bjugstad, K., Thach, E. C., Thompson, K. J., & Morris, A. (2006). A Fresh Look at           Followership: A Model for Matching Followership and Leadership Styles. Journal Of   Behavioral & Applied Management, 7(3), 304-319.
Bordas, J. (2007). How salsa, soul, and spirit strengthen leadership. Leader To Leader, 2007(46), 35-41.
Clark, Kim B. (2009, September 15). Building Zion Together. Brigham Young University Devotional. Retrieved from http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2009_09_15_Clark.htm
Gardner, R. Quinn. (1979). Becoming a Zion Society: Six Principles, Ensign, February, 31-35
Goleman, D. (2000). LEADERSHIP THAT GETS RESULTS. Harvard Business Review, 78(2),             78-90.
Lichtenstein, S. (2012). The Role of Values in Leadership: How Leaders' Values Shape Value      Creation. Integral Leadership Review, 12(1), 1-18.

18 April 2014

Conversion, Attrition, and Retention

Not sure if anyone will enjoy this one, but I recently submitted it as my homework for an assignment as to what is needed for a sustainable organization.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome, as always.

This one was fun because I chose to use some patterns of spiritual and religious organizations and put them into a corporate context.

It also fit fairly well into my blog context: Why do we do what we do, and how can we do better?

If this is you too, Leave me a comment of ideas for other posts, or thoughts that you have!



Sustainability: Conversion, Activation, and Retention

In thinking about what makes a sustainable organization, my mind was drawn towards a broadcast that I have viewed and studied multiple times and contains great insight into what makes an organization sustainable. I have seen the necessary process is the business world, as well as in a religious setting, in which this broadcast was made. I firmly believe that the principles of conversion, activation, and retention are crucial to a sustainable organization. In my current employment, I seek to ensure that this process is covered. Too often, managers are concerned only with making the numbers, reaching the goals, filling the seats, or other similar terms. The ultimate struggle for sustainability can be overcome by understanding the mantra “Any investigator worthy of baptism becomes a convert worthy of saving” (Hinckley, 1999). In a business setting this has similar connotations to saying any client worthy of having becomes a long-term relationship worthy of retaining. If businesses focused on retention and attrition as much as finding and meeting, real growth can occur. In the same vein, a manager must have sustainable employees to ensure a compatible and sustainable future.

In the broadcast, there are three points that the speaker makes to ensure an able retention of the individual, and though they are given in a religious context, I feel them to be most agreeable to a business setting with minor renditions. He mentions three aspects of making sure that one who enters the covenant or partnership, or organization needs three things. A friend, a responsibility, and nourishment from the good word of God (Hinckley, 1999).

Again, in a business setting, these can be seen very similar.

A Friend: To be a leader who seeks sustainable growth, one must have the strengths of friendship: Humility (Collins, 2005), seeking for the interests of others or reducing self-interest (Duska, 2004), valued relationships and high levels of trust (Saunders, 2007), and directing compassion towards difficult conversations (Engels, 2007). The value of a true friend knows of the necessity of having these.

A Responsibility: A leader who seeks to understand the responsibilities of the profession and act accordingly is the epitome of professionalism. If a leader can envision in his or her staff an acceptance that the work that they are doing holds real value, and that they are truly a part of the organization, this will bring about true results. Being professional is not only a way to avoid ethical breakdowns (Duska, 2005) but is a way to have your career as an extension of who you are and part of your moral code. If that leader can then ensure that the products or services offered can truly benefit those they service, they are holding true to the responsibility given to that organization. A majority of businesses have some sort of responsibility to give to the world, no matter how insignificant it may seem. As the manager brings that responsibility to the employees, and the organization brings it to the world, it creates a pattern for sustainability. As individuals of the organization realize the crucial part that they can play as they are given the opportunity, they become vibrant and not stagnant, which is a force of sustainability.

Nourishment from the good word of God: Hear me out on this one. This can mean various principles in the model of what I am discussing. But on even the most basic level of life, to create sustainability, there must be nourishment— a source of vital nutrients that provide the object what it needs. In the business context, it can mean at least two things.

Relating to the last one, one must have nourishment in the sense of understanding that he or she still has purpose in the organization. Having love, trust, and responsibility are good. In order to go further in the step of sustainability, one must have constant nourishment. This can come in the way of communication, feedback, feedforward, counseling, heeding instructions, or hearing and understanding the words of those above us. It can also be seen as the hard part in both religious and business settings - Calling someone to repentance or change. Nourishment can be uncomfortable and helpful at the same time.  

Another way of receiving nourishment is ensuring that the right nutrients are coming from the right sources and sustaining the right things. Eating to be full and eating to be nourished and sustained are two different processes that receive two different results.
There are different types of learning: Informal and formal, developed vs. Ad Hoc, and learner-driven vs. organization-driven (Pannoni & Ricketts, 2010). All of these may provide certain needed guidance at certain needed times, but a sustainable-seeking leader will ensure that the right nourishment is given at the proper times. The dosages of discipline, the measurements of mercy, the recipes of responsibilities, and the conditions of counseling all rest on the sustainable leader.

I believe that a leader who constantly seeks the attributes of a friend, understands the power of responsibility, and knows the sources of nourishment and how to deliver them will be able to create true, sustainable growth.

Collins, J. (2005). Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve. (cover story). Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 136-146.

Duska, R. F. (2004). SIX CURES FOR CURRENT ETHICAL BREAKDOWNS. Journal Of Financial Service Professionals, 58(3), 23-26.

Engels, J. J. (2007). Delivering Difficult Messages. Journal Of Accountancy, 204(1), 50-52.

Hinckley, Gordon B. (21 Feb, 1999). Satellite Broadcast “Find the lambs, feed the sheep”. Retrieved from: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1999/04/find-the-lambs-feed-the-sheep?lang=eng

PANNONI, R., & RICKETTS, G. (2010). A New Taxonomy for Learning. Chief Learning Officer, 9(8), 32-35.

Saunders, D. (2007). Create an Open Climate for Communication. American Salesman, 52(11), 25-29.

Trunk, O. (2014). Conversion, Attrition, and Retention Creating a sustainable organization