The Leadership Behavior Inventory from Excel measures leadership
styles by assessing individual approaches to leadership tasks.
Once the concepts of learning styles and leadership styles are known
and understood, individuals can supplement their knowledge of their
own and others' styles by comparing scores on the assessments and
seeking peer confirmation concerning learning and leadership style
opinions and observations.
Concurrent Product Development
Markets and competition are demanding an ever changing array of
customer pleasing products. Companies in increasing numbers are
turning to Concurrent Product Development as the vehicle for
meeting this challenge. Concurrent Product Development integrates
all of the requirements, design, manufacturing and support efforts
involved in developing a product. The cross functional, Concurrent
Product Development Team, supported by analytical methods and shared
databases, is the vehicle for achieving this integration.
Since Concurrent Product Development Teams are being entrusted with
the company's ability to compete in the future, these teams usually
start with a sense of high purpose. Where these teams and Concurrent
Development programs tend to stumble is in being able to integrate
people with diverse backgrounds and lifetimes of functional
experience into a balanced cross-functional team.
The changes the teams need to learn are the following:
• Technical: Each team member must acquire and learn to use core
customer/market, product and process design knowledge.
• Cross-functional: The team members need to learn and understand
the challenges and problems faced by each of the functions involved.
• Process: The team must learn to consider themselves as a product
development process and think in a process context. This means
shedding the functional orientation where functions were responsible
for a part of a product development, but there was no sense of
everyone being responsible for a successful new product.
Teaching and incorporating learning styles into the team dynamic can
help the team learn these new skills. Leadership styles can help
the teams achieve a sense of mutual accountability.
Using learning styles can help in the choice of team members or
outside resources to be used to lead the team to acquire the
required skill learning. In our prior example, the engineer PHD from
Engineering was eminently proficient in problem solving techniques.
To teach these techniques to the remainder of the team, however,
requires knowledge and understanding of fellow team members'
learning styles. This knowledge of team learning styles can be used
to design and deliver technical education that leverages similar
learning styles for reinforcement and leverages different learning
styles for insights.
Learning to think as a process and shed functional orientation
means building a mutual responsibility for achieving the team
purpose. To build this mutual accountability is to ask every
Concurrent Product Development team member to be a leader. Building
this accountability involves engaging all four of the leadership
styles shown in Figure One as follows:
• Type One leader seeks alignment between personal and group values.
The type one leader relies heavily on consensus and support in
decision making. Appropriately, this leadership style is extremely
important as the team starts, since personal and group alignment
establishes a functional balance among team members.
• Type Two leader seeks alignment between people and procedures.
Theory and data are primarily relied upon for decision making. This
style helps the team get down to work, establish clear product
vision and objectives, think problems through and make fact-based
• Type Three leader seeks alignment between goals and output.
Results are the prime basis for decision making. This is the
leadership style that drives us to metrics and performance measures.
We want the team to measure where we are versus promised output—
where we are between commitments and progress.
• Type Four leader seeks alignment between what is and what might
be. This leader primarily makes decisions based on intuition. This
leadership style provides the inspiration to attack the problem
after next. We need this leadership style to have the team view this
product development in the light of a complete product line.
The team is capable of accepting mutual and individual
accountability once the alignments required by all four of the
leadership styles are understood and satisfied and each team member
understands the decision making mode of fellow members.