I recently moved my work materials out of the cubicle that I’ve had for about four years. I’ve accumulated a lot of junk, but also, a lot of great learning materials. One that I found and reread this past weekend is “Tipping Point Leadership” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne from 2003. Much of the Harvard Business Review article can be found in the book Blue Ocean Strategy. The main focus of the article is on Bill Bratton, the man who changed NYC in the ’90s from a city with fearful citizens to one considered very safe. The article outlines the steps Bratton takes to achieve his goals. The writers also employ what they call a Strategy Canvas to compare the relative level of investment against the different areas of concentration in Law Enforcement. They compare what was happening before Bratton arrived to after he came in. The improvements are amazing.
What most impresses me about Bratton is the survey results of his indirect subordinates. These are people that he theoretically is making their job more difficult. The results show that his people were very fond of him. I think it is because everyone knew what was expected of them and was accountable (they took ownership) for their areas. Once people feel empowered to make things better and feel like no one else is going to, then they will do all they can to make it so. When there is no safety net, people tend to make their jumps worth it, because they don’t know if they will get another chance.
The two authors also highlight John Kotter’s publications. I wrote about his most recent book in an earlier blog entry called “ Using Fables.”