Have you bought a roll of film in past year? If your answer is yes you are among a small minority. During a workshop I attended this past week at the annual conference of the International Coach Federation (ICF) that same question was asked in a room of about two hundred people and only one man raised hand. Surprised? Of course not, we all have digital cameras nowadays, don’t we? Film’s gone the way of the buggy-whip.
More fascinating than the question, though, is the one who asked it, Jeff Hayzlett who recently served as Chief Marketing Officer at none other than Kodak the world’s most famous and largest producer of film. Hayzlett who led the workshop had been one of the leaders instrumental in saving Kodak in what some have called the biggest turn-around in business history, and here’s one of his secrets. “No one is going to die,” he kept reminding the people working in his division, inspiring them to take risks, be creative and innovative, to experiment; and when mistakes are made, “no one is going to die.”
Jeff Hayzlett’s leadership style is a great example of what Liz Wiseman refers to as a “multiplier” in her book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. Here’s what she observed about them: “They applied their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capability of people around them . . . Ideas grew, challenges were surmounted, hard problems solved. When these leaders walked into a room, light bulbs started going off over people’s heads. . . These leaders seemed to make everyone around them better and more capable. . .” In contrast some leaders are “diminishers” who “. . . drain intelligence and capability out of the people around them. Their focus on their own intelligence and their resolve to be the smartest person in the room had a diminishing effect on everyone else,” explains Wiseman.
The bottom line is this, according to Wiseman’s research: people who work for multipliers are statistically 2.1 times more productive than those who work for diminishers – over twice as productive in other words. So if this is true, and if it worked to turn around a company like Kodak, just imagine what “multiplier” leadership can do for your organization! Even better, “no one is going to die.”