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Learning Style - Part 3 of 7
Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4   Par 5   Part 6   Part 7

The Engineer has a PHD in the third law of Thermodynam­ics. The Marketing manager skydives for a hobby. The Production Planner started as an assembler. The purchasing lady is concerned about partnerships and long-term relationships. These people are all going to work together to better serve customer needs, cut time to market in half, and make designs more buildable. How?

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Leadership Styles

Peter Drucker, in a precursor article to leadership styles, articulated the following:

Top management tasks require at least four different kinds of human being:

• The people man
• The thought man
• The action man
• The front man

Yet these four temperaments are almost never found in one person.

Leadership styles can be defined in a manner similar to the perception/process learning style model as shown in Fig­ure 1. We can lead people and manage products and things. We can lead and manage through alignment or action. Combining these four qualities defines the four following leadership styles:

Type One leader leads through empowerment. A type one leader seeks alignment between personal and organiza­tional values.

Type two leader leads through conceptualizing. A type two leader seeks alignment between people and procedures.

Type three leader leads through coaching. A type three leader seeks alignment between goals and output.

Type four leader leads through envisioning. A type four leader seeks alignment between what is and what. might be.

The four leadership styles align nicely with Drucker's four different kinds of human being:

• The people man leads through empowerment
• The thought man leads through conceptualizing
• The action man leads through coaching
• The front man leads through envisioning

How Do Learning Styles Work?

Organizations Learn 'New Tricks' Through Teams

Companies need to improve earnings, their use of time, and asset returns and to build Customer Advantage to advance their competitive position in markets served.

To be successful, companies must change how they serve customers, do work and achieve objectives. If the old ways of doing business can't work, then changing organizations is a process of "teaching old dogs new tricks."
How many dogs? How many tricks?

We need to change the complete organization and all the business processes. Companies who successfully improve performance recognize new learning as the critical enabler of change. These companies establish themselves as learn­ing organizations. Learning organizations approach change as a process of acquiring and applying a critical mass of knowledge.
How do we create a learning organization? Let's start with teams. Why teams?

We need teams because teams outperform collections of individual contributors or departmental groupings. In the successful company, the team is the unit of performance. The team is also the unit of change. We can change the organization by teaching teams of people "new tricks," such as solving problems based on fact finding, brainstorming, analytical methods and team based implementation, and process innovation.
A team is defined by Katzenbach and Smith in the Wisdom of Teams as:
A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

Team based learning organizations approach change as a process of acquiring and applying a critical mass of knowl­edge for each team and for all teams.

The Role of Learning Styles in Acquiring Team Skills

The successful team must acquire and use the proper mix of problem solving, technical and interpersonal skills. It is unlikely that such a team can be assembled at the onset. This means that the right mix of skills must be taught. In our example, the engineer with the PHD in the third law of thermodynamics, our analytical learner, is an excellent candidate for learning or teaching problem solving skills. To successfully teach the whole team, however, the methods must be expanded from the traditional analytical approach to the following:

1. Allow dynamic learners (marketing) to analyze prob­lem solving tools for relevance and to apply problem solving tools to new and complex situations.
2. Provide common sense learners (manufacturing and engineering) the opportunity to practice with these tools in real life situations.
3. Create and analyze a problem solving experience for the imaginative learners (purchasing).

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4   Par 5   Part 6   Part 7

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