How important are excellent leaders to organizations? If you were to ask 3M CEO George Buckley, he’s say extremely important. But he’d also say that excellent leaders don’t just pop up out of nowhere. A company has to cultivate leaders who have the skills and abilities to help it survive and thrive. And like a successful baseball team with strong performance statistics that has a player development plan in place, 3M has its own farm system.
Except its farm is designed to develop company leaders.
3M’s leadership development program is so effective that in 2009 Chief Executive magazine and Hay Consulting Group named the company the best at developing future leaders. What is 3M’s leadership program all about? About eight years ago, the company’s former CEO (Jim McNerney, who is now Boeing’s CEO) and his top team spent 18 months developing a new leadership model for the company. After numerous brainstorming sessions and much heated debate, the group finally agreed on six “leadership attributes” that they believed were essential for the company to become skilled at executing strategy and being accountable.
Those six attributes included the ability to “chart the course; energize and inspire others; demonstrate ethics, integrity, and compliance; deliver results; raise the bar; and innovate resourcefully.” And now under Buckley’s guidance, the company is continuing and reinforcing its pursuit of leadership excellence with these six attributes.
When asked about his views on leadership, Buckley said that he believes there is a difference between leaders and managers. “A leader is as much about inspiration as anything else. A manager is more about process.” He believes that the key to developing leaders is to focus on those things that can be developed—like strategic thinking. Buckley also believes that leaders should not be promoted up and through the organization too quickly. They need time to experience failures and what it takes to rebuild.
Finally, when asked about his own leadership style. Buckley responded that, “The absolutely best way for me to be successful is to have people working for me who are better. Having that kind of emotional self-confidence is vital to leaders. You build in those people because you admire what they do. Having built respect, you build trust. However, hokey it sounds, it works.” And it must be working as the company was named the number one most admired company in the medical and other precision equipment division of Fortune’s most admired ranking for 2009.
1. What do you think about Buckley’s statement that leaders and managers differ? Do you agree? Why or why not? Explain in detail in at least three paragraphs per question.
2. What leadership models/theories/issues do you see in this case. List and describe in detail in at least four paragraphs.
3. Take each of the six leadership attributes that the company feels is important. Explain what you think each one involves in at least one paragraph each. Then discuss how those attributes might be developed and measured in at least one paragraph each.
4. After reading this case, what are the implications of transformational leadership? Explain in at least four paragraphs.
5. What did this case teach you about leadership? Explain in at least five paragraphs listing examples.
Guidelines for the Research Project Management Case
1. Students are the review the course research project management case information provided above. Students are to create a cover page and executive summary using the information and format above.
2. Each student will prepare, present, and turn-in a typed research paper project. It is the responsibility of the student to receive approval for the research project topic before beginning work on the project.
3. Students are to prepare and submit a typed research project management case using the information provided above. The font should be easy to read and consist of ARIAL 12 characters per inch and use 1-inch margins top, bottom, and both sides of the paper.
The paper will be 1.5 spaced between all sentences and paragraphs.
4. Students are to answer each Discussion Question on a separate page in full sentences and listed number of paragraphs per question. A full paragraph will consist of at least six (6) sentences each.
5. Proofread your paper carefully. You are expected to use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Present your subject matter in an orderly manner. Ensure continuity in the development of your company research project. Word-process the paper to facilitate a clean, professional image.
6. Students are to submit their course research project management case by e-mail, as a WORD ATTACHMENT to the instructor. Late submission of the course research management case WILL NOT be accepted. The research project will count as 20 percent of your overall course grade.
7. Plagiarism results in an automatic “F” and referral to the Honor Board. Plagiarism consists of copying, summarizing or paraphrasing an author’s phrase, sentence, or passage and not crediting or citing that author. Plagiarism also includes buying term papers and handing them in as your own work.