“The most useful book about leadership.” That is what we hope you and your team will say after finishing Power Score.
Other books promise this.
That’s true, but three things make this one unique.
First, it’s based on the largest body of research of its kind. Over the past 20 years, we have conducted in-depth interviews (four hours in length) of more than 15,000 leaders, producing more than 9 million data points.
That’s a lot of data!
It is. If you think listening to the advice of one leader is helpful, imagine having fifteen thousand leaders giving you their best advice!
The Wall Street Journal has called our database “coveted.” Research teams from top universities have helped us analyze the data. And the leadership advisors at ghSMART have reflected upon our clients’ biggest challenges, and how they have led to success or failure.
We have distilled this research and advice into a simple score that you can calculate with your team. It highlights exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals. We truly believe you will come to see this as the secret formula for success.
What’s the second reason this book is useful and different?
We designed this book in “Q&A” format to make it easy and fun to read. You talk in bold.
I talk in bold?
That’s right, you talk in bold, and we respond. This book is a conversation. We’ll tell you what we know and what you need to know, and we’ll share some amazing stories—-people who turned their companies, their teams, and even their lives around by using the Power Score.
That’s a big claim.
It is, but we know that we can back it up.
These ideas have been battle tested for nearly two decades in thousands of big companies, entrepreneurial ventures, and even social service agencies. They work. We have even put them into practice ourselves. We’ll tell you about times when we have failed and learned so you can avoid our mistakes with your own team.
So what is this book about?
That brings us to the third reason this book is so useful.
We provide a simple formula called the Power Score that enables you and your team to identify ways to improve your results.
When your team achieves better results, you will have a more positive impact on the world. You will make a bigger difference for your cause, whatever that might be. And you will enjoy more career success.
My team and I want those things. So what is this “Power Score?”
It’s our “grand unified theory of leadership” boiled down to one number, your Power Score.
When you make changes that drive your Power Score up, your results will improve. If you let your Power Score go down, your results will suffer.
How do we calculate our Power Score?
Pull your team together for a Power Conversation—we provide a how-to template at the end of the book to use as a reference. Begin the conversation by asking them, “Are we running at full power?”
Listen to what they say. Their observations will be vague at first, but pay close attention to their comments because they will be your first indication of what you can do differently.
Then ask them to think about three things: P, W, and R.
P stands for priorities—-Do we have the right priorities?
W stands for who—-Do we have the right who?
R stands for relationships—-Do we have the right relationships?
Ask each team member to rate all three variables on a 1--to--10 scale, with 10 being the top score. Then have them multiply the three numbers together—-calculators are allowed!—-and hold up their answers.
P × W × R = Power Score
PWR spells “power.” I get it.
Bingo. We made the formula PWR spell “power” to make it easy to remember.
Holding up the scores sounds like a nerve--racking moment! What is a good score?
A perfect score, of course, is 1,000: 10 × 10 × 10 = 1,000. But that is nearly impossible. More realistically, a score of 729 or higher means your team is running at full power.
Why only 729?
Because perfection is not a useful goal. You should never feel bad for not achieving perfection, because nobody can do it. We doubt that even Warren Buffett scores a perfect 1,000.
But if your P is a 9, your W is a 9, and your R is a 9, you are doing extremely well.
9 × 9 × 9 = 729
If your team achieves a PWR Score of 729 or higher, we say you are running your team at full power. Congratulations! Great job! Pat yourselves on the back, and keep doing what you are doing. Only about one in ten teams runs at full power at any given time.
If your PWR Score is between 500 and 700, you are still doing pretty well. 8 × 8 × 8 = 512. You are not too far off the mark, and chances are you will find that just a few tweaks will get you to full power. About 30 percent of teams run at this level.
Everybody else falls below 500 and runs well short of full power. If that happens to you, then you have to figure out what or who is dragging your score down and take action to get back to 729 or above.
What do I do with my Power Score once I calculate it?
Once all the people on your team have shared their overall numbers, discuss why they rated each element—P, W, and R—the way they did. This is a critical part of the Power Conversation.
Listen to their ideas to improve the score on each dimension. When you do those things, your
Power Score will improve and so will your results.
Who are you three authors? And why should I trust you?
Hi, nice to meet you. We are Geoff, Randy, and Alan. We are business leaders, bestselling authors, and social entrepreneurs.
We are not academics. We are not retired CEOs, and this is not a memoir. We are not self--proclaimed gurus or TV evangelists.
We are three guys who love the topic of helping leaders amplify their positive impact on the world. That is why we write books. We are humbled that so many people have read our previous two books, Who and Leadocracy, making them bestsellers and helping them win awards.
We work at ghSMART, a leadership consultancy.
We have the privilege to serve as the trusted advisors to leaders who own or run large institutions. For two decades, these leaders have called ghSMART to help them hire and develop talented teams that achieve results.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some other people who have said our approach to leadership has merit:
Harvard Business School wrote two business school cases titled “ghSMART & Co: Pioneering in Professional Services”
Atul Gawande praised our disciplined approach to leadership in The Checklist Manifesto
Tom Peters in The Little Big Things called our approach to hiring leaders “A BIG damned deal”
George Anders in The Rare Find concluded that, of all approaches to evaluating and selecting leaders, the princples practiced by ghSMART appear to be the most effective
Maureen Broderick gave us props for being a top firm in The Art of Managing Professional
Services: Insights from Leaders of the World’s Top Firms
Okay, so you seem to know what you are talking about. But does the PWR Score actually work?
How much more successful are the leaders who run their teams at full power?
Twice as successful.
Leaders who run their teams at full power are twice as likely to have succeeded in their careers as the average leader. And they are a whopping 20 times more likely to have succeeded than people whose Power Scores are in the bottom 10 percent.
Are you making that up?
Nope. Every number in this book comes from that database and research we mentioned.
Tell me more about your research.
Each of our 15,000 assessments was a semistructured interview that lasted between four and five hours. It covered a leader’s entire educational and career history, including jobs held, key accomplishments, failures, strengths, weaknesses, relationships that worked and didn’t work, leadership styles, thought patterns, personality traits, and motivations. All told, we collected more than 600 data points per person—more than 9 million data points in all.
Just over a third of those we assessed were CEOs, and the vast majority of the remaining ones were their direct reports or other senior executives. We have also interviewed nonprofit leaders, military generals, school principals, and head surgeons, to give you a sense of the variety of people we have met. PWR is a universal framework for leadership.
After each assessment, we analyzed the data to identify patterns of success and failure. In one assessment, for example, we saw that the candidate had trouble with his father as a child and problems with authority figures throughout the rest of his career. In another, a hard--charging candidate dropped out of school to work in the oil patch and ended up building a massively successful oil services company through a combination of scrappiness, hard work, and exceptional ingenuity. For every assessment we do, patterns emerge that underscore results leaders achieved, behaviors they demonstrated, and motivations that drove them.
All told, we estimate that our team has spent more than 300,000 hours interviewing and analyzing leaders.
Working with Steve Kaplan and his team at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, we coded more than 3,000 of these assessments to make it easier to study broad longitudinal patterns that apply to leaders across the board.
Working with this data, we began to ask questions such as “What makes a leader successful?” and
“What key strengths or weaknesses tend to relate to one another?”
What did you find?
The statisticians crunched the numbers and three distinct groupings of strengths and competencies popped out.
The first included things such as setting vision, devising strategies, and being creative. Not every leader had every one of these strengths, though. That was a surprise at first, but then we discovered something extremely important: It wasn’t the activity that mattered, but rather the result. In this case, whether a leader was deductive or inductive, strategic or more intuitive, each of the successful ones got to the same place: Every one of them set clear priorities.
The same goes for the second grouping, which included things such as hiring well, removing underperformers, and developing people. Not everybody did all of these things well, but all the successful ones got to the same result: Each one built a team of A Players mapped against the top priorities. In our language, they were intensely focused on getting the who right.
And the final grouping included a wide range of traditional leadership behaviors that forge strong teams—things such as motivating others, following through on commitments, and communicating transparently. The successful leaders didn’t set out to practice their leadership skills in a vacuum, though, but rather to foster relationships that achieved goals and produced meaningful results.
What’s the bottom line?
The key to great leadership is to have the right priorities, the right people on your team, and the right relationships that achieve results: priorities, who, and relationships.
These are the three most important outcomes of leadership—what you must accomplish to succeed. Other factors may also contribute to your success, such as luck, interest rates, and the price of tea in China. But of the things leaders control directly, these three matter the most.
PWR is your formula for leadership success. Leaders running their teams at full power, with a top PWR Score, are always more successful than everybody else.
Do I have to do all three to succeed?
You do if you want to run your team at full power. Prioritizing, who, and relationships—PWR—have to work in unison.
Leadership is like a triathlon. Where do you think you will end up if you cannot swim?
At the back of the pack?
Or the bottom of the ocean. You might like running and biking, but you won’t win a triathlon if you can’t swim.
Good point. So where are leaders weakest?
The most common failure is not having the right people on your team—the W, or who. Fewer than 14 percent of all leaders excel at this. The leaders who do it well are skilled at hiring, removing nonperformers, and developing their teams, and they invest a lot of time in getting it right.
Just under 24 percent of all leaders excel at setting priorities. These leaders tend to be strategic, organized, and decisive. Their priorities connect to their missions, and their teams consider them to be correct and clear.
What about the R, relationships? I thought leadership was mostly about building relationships and inspiring followership, that sort of thing. That’s what most leadership books are all about.
Relationships are important. And yes, that is what most leadership books are about. However, building relationships is the most common strength of leaders—47 percent of those in our database excel at it. These leaders ensure that their teams are coordinated, committed to success, and challenged to be their very best.
If you want to be common, just focus on relationships. But if you want to be uncommonly successful, you have to focus on priorities and who is on your team as well.
How many leaders are great at all three—priorities, who, and relationships?
Not many. Only 1 percent of leaders excel in all three—P, W, and R—on a sustained basis throughout their careers. That is a tough standard to achieve week after week and month after month. The good news is that this isn’t about being a perfect leader yourself; rather, it’s about bringing out the best in your team. Approximately 10 percent of leaders run their teams at full power at any given point in time.
So I want to be in that top 10 percent to operate at full power?
Yes, you do. We’ll show you how. But you have to realize that you can’t just do the one or two aspects of leadership that you like and skip the rest. You have to do all three.
So let’s get started by helping you and your team calcu-late your Power Score by accurately rating your P, your W, and your R.
Then let’s look at some of the most useful ideas for how you can improve each area.
And finally, let’s explore what some of the most successful leaders we have met have done—people with ultrahigh Power Scores—-and how you can achieve the same supernova of success when you run your teams at full power.
Ready to dive in?