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Side By Side Leadership



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Side By Side Leadership the Book: Proven Knowledge (P142-144)


There are times when it is especially important for you as a leader
to do your homework and increase your knowledge.


  • When your current organization is under financial stress,
  • When reductions and layoffs are likely just around the corner,
  • When going to work for a new organization,
  • When getting a new job assignment or a promotion, or
  • When major changes have occurred in your field of knowledge or business climate.

Your goal is to learn how to perform the role with greater efficiency and with greater impact on the organization overall. Regardless of your role or position in the organization, you can drive stronger results from simple changes that you can make in your own behavior.


Keep a Skeptical Eye on New Information

It’s important to acquire and use knowledge selectively. Even when trying to keep up with rapid changes in the business environment has you stressed out, don’t let desperation
drive you to accept information uncritically. Knowledge is highly variable in quality. Don’t be swayed by fads and trends that have not been shown to make a real difference. Look for high-quality, proven knowledge that has measurably improved performance when applied.


Where should you look?

You’re more likely to uncover useful knowledge if you focus your search in certain areas:


Industry-leading organizations:

Visit the top companies; observe their processes; see how their people apply their knowledge and skills. (You can contact these leading organizations through your local chamber of commerce or the industry trade association.) Which parts of the process are most responsible for the company’s outstanding results? This kind of evaluation is known as benchmarking. Many American executives laughed when visiting Japanese business leaders benchmarked American industries in the ’60s and ’70s, carrying cameras and snapping pictures as fast as they could wind the film. They finally stopped laughing in the ’80s when the companies the Japanese led surpassed their U.S. counterparts. (Think Sony and Toyota.)



Most of the knowledge creators in any field are only three phone calls or e-mails away. First, ask anyone in the new field you are interested in to name someone he knows who is a top expert. Then call the expert and ask who has had the best success using the knowledge. This gets you your third contact — an expert who knows how to apply the knowledge.


Hard-Data Research:

Technical journals and proceedings in university libraries, especially up-to-the-minute online versions, can put you at the cutting edge of knowledge. Sometimes professors who conduct or keep track of research projects can be of help. Check university web sites for the names of experts in your area of specialized knowledge. Once when Side By Side, Inc. was helping Motorola develop a training course in goal setting, we discovered “Mr. Goal Setting” himself — Professor Edwin Locke of the University of Maryland, who had conducted more hard research on corporate goal setting than anyone. We called him, and he consulted with us on his yet-to-be-published findings, which we used to create a successful goal-setting course.



Create the knowledge on your own by comparing, combining, and analyzing the results of other people’s research studies and by performing your own experiments. You will then become a knowledge leader, and others will share their knowledge in exchange for yours. Whatever method you use to acquire proven knowledge, always keep in mind your personal, team, and organizational goals and let them steer your learning. Then apply the knowledge with the goals firmly fixed in your mind.


Action You can Take Today

If you recognize an opportunity to strengthen your performance for an upcoming more or even within your current organization, you may find the award winning book Side By Side Leadership helpful. It describes a thoroughly tested and effective model for improving personal performance, interpersonal relationships, improving personal and group motivation, and greatly helps to explain differences in individual values that are at the heart of most conflicts. At a minimum, we hope that you will give us your thoughts and comments. We are always excited to hear what people think. Here at Side By Side, Inc, we are committed to delivering leadership training and materials that deliver real bottom line results.