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The Navigator
Charting a Path to Leadership Excellence
Volume: # 8January/February 2011
President's Message


Mark your calendars to hold Friday, September 16, 2011 to join OSI and our strategic partner, Loichinger Advantage, for a high powered day of talent management presentations, workshops, and networking. After a 2010 hiatus, the Midwest Forum on Talent Management (MFTM) returns to the world-class American Family Insurance conference facility in Madison, Wisconsin. The one day conference features a premium blend of national speakers and local contributors with this year's keynote provided by Marc Effron, founder of the New Talent Management Network. The 2011 Forum is co-sponsored by all of the Wisconsin ASTD Regional Chapters, The Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence and the New Talent Management Network. While primarily targeted for senior talent management professionals in the Midwest, all are welcome to join us for a high value day of learning and exchange. 

 Bruce Griffiths  


Bruce's signature

   Bruce Griffiths
The Polaris Big Six
This month, the featured article in The Navigator is the final in our series on the Big Six competencies necessary for exceptional performance as a leader. In this edition we're going to focus on Communication. 
Communication is a collection of skills generally defined by the medium you use to deliver your message. And while the grand eloquence of a superb leader's speech, such as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream," is often used to define the epitome of communication competence, the actual definition of good leadership communication is much simpler.

In his classic book Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge, Warren Bennis notes that in his study of 90 exceptional leaders, the true differentiator was not necessarily being good in a particular medium (i.e., public speaking, informal conversation or writing) but in how the leader is able to frame the message. For example, a proficient leader might describe an acre of land in terms of square yards, or hectares, while a true leader would describe an acre as "about the size of a football field". Leaders, then, look for ways to construct their message in a much more accessible way for all potential followers. They tell compelling stories and use parables and images to convey meaning.
Of course, having all media available for communicating a compelling story can amplify your effectiveness as a leader. Our research has isolated five distinct facets to effective leadership communication:

1. Active Listening: Giving full, proactive attention when others speak. This includes being aware of the importance of all the nonverbal cues that are expected, plus paraphrasing, summarizing and questioning to ensure full understanding.
2. Communicativeness: The frequency, volume and choice of medium that exceptional leaders choose for a message. For example, good leaders know that during times of dramatic change, it is almost impossible to over-communicate. They match most effective medium to a message and make sure it is transmitted enough times for understanding and ownership. They also convey eagerness to receive messages from others. They invite communication.
4. Presentation Skills: Being able to deliver an engaging formal speech to a large gathering. This skill lets you get a message to a multitude quickly.
5. Written Communication: Writing clearly and concisely. While it is sometimes a neglected skill, good writing represents good thinking, and being able to craft a persuasive argument in written form can help frame a persuasive message delivered later in person.

Most people rate communication skills as only moderately difficult to acquire. Even presentation skills (which in some polls appear as the most feared item by general population, even more than death!) can be mastered with practice. Our experience has shown, however, that it is not poor communication skills that often derail good leaders, buth rather their vanishing motivation to communicate. The hubris that comes with power will often diminish the perceived need to communicate, and the leader will become isolated and less effective. Good leadership requires constant dialogue, and those at the top of an organization must be particularly aware of the general fear of speaking truth to power. They must work hard to stay in touch and remain approachable.

Copyright 2011, Organization Systems International, San Diego, CA, USA

Upcoming Events
On April 20th, Bruce will be speaking at the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD San Diego Chapter) progam's April chapter meeting in Mission Valley, California. The program will cover our successful simulation-based leadership development programs used to develop critical leadership competencies. Bruce will also identify the benefits of learning competencies using a large scale behavioral / computer model simulation versus classic classroom or virtual training. Participants in the program will also experience sample simulations and examples of how this approach has been used to successfully build knowledge and change behavior which positively impact business results.

On Friday April 22nd, OSI will be holding the quarterly Polaris Certification Workshop. This one day workshop will be for certified coaches and/or HR professionals interested in the OSI Polaris Competency Model and its supporting applications, especially the 360 degree developmental assessment. If you are intersted in further information or to register please contact Crystal Matsuura at OSI; email: cmatsuura@orgsysint.com phone: 858-455-0923.

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President's Message
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OSI 30 Years
At Organization Systems International, we are celebrating 30 years of quality, service, and innovation. We deliver client success with a high-performance approach designed to enhance occupational relationships, improve operational efficiency, and sustain customer relationships.

OSI Clients Include:

American Greetings 
Blizzard Entertainment
Bowling Green State University
Dow Corning Corp.
GE Capital
Insurance Company of the West
Limited Brands
Nike, Inc.
Northwest Pipe
Portland State University
Schneider Trucking Company
Standard Insurance Company
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
State Auto Insurance
The Walt Disney Company
Wendy's International Inc.