Emotional Leadership

Noel Tichy

Dr. Relly Nadler: One of the things that we are focusing on these days is top performers and what do they do in the moment, and how they manage the moment?

Cathy and I are working on our new book, Emotional Brilliance, and we have an all-star guest that we will introduce today. We want to help you in those moments to expand, improve, and select the best emotional competencies and strengths to master the moment.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I’m very excited today to revisit one of my favorite thought leaders in the entire world, Dr. Noel Tichy.

What can we say about our guest today, Dr. Noel Tichy? He is one of the father’s of leadership, one of the most present and prevalent voices from the subject. Dr. Tichy is a Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He is the director of the global business partnership, and for over a decade he ran the global leadership program, a 36-company consortium of Japanese, European, and North American companies partnered to develop senior executives and conduct action research on globalization in China, India, Russia, and Brazil.

If you do not know Dr. Noel Tichy, he is, in fact, one of the leaders on the subject of leadership. His books include so many wonderful titles. I know he is going to talk to us today about a new book that he is working on. Many of you may recognize Noel’s name because between 1985 and 1987, Dr. Tichy was the manager of Management Education for General Electric where he directed his worldwide development effort at Crotonville, which is one of the founding, if you will, templates for leadership development around the world.

Prior to joining Michigan faculty, he served on the Columbia University Business School faculty for nine years. As I said, so many books and articles. We’ll get into some of those, I’m sure, as we interview him today.

But his most recent book is Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls, 2007 with Warren Bennis.  He’s also authored some of these books that you might have read: The Ethical Challenge: How to lead with unyielding integrity, The Cycle of Leadership: How great leaders teach their companies to win, and The Leadership Engine: How winning companies build leaders at every level.

Relly, anything else you would like to say before we bring our esteemed guest on?

Dr. Relly Nadler: No. I think that’s good. We’ll let Dr. Tichy do the talking from here on in. Noel, hope it’s okay to call you Noel.

Dr. Noel Tichy: Absolutely. I wouldn’t answer to Dr. Tichy.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Okay. Good. Because it’s been a while since we’ve had you on the show and just so you know, we’ve had numerous downloads of the interview we did with you years ago. Tell us what you are up to these days, what you are most excited about, because even your bio is probably a little dated and you are pretty prolific. What kinds of things are you up to these days?

Dr. Noel Tichy: Well I just wanted to; Cathy you missed one book that came out. The book called Succession: Mastering the make-or-break process of leadership transition.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Oh yes, I did, thank you for reminding me.

Dr. Noel Tichy: That’s okay. It’s probably the most relevant for this discussion because it really looks at successful and failed succession across 1970’s to 2010 and it is all ones that I have been personally involved in. The batting average is probably less than 300. Most fail. We can talk about why.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I just wanted to say that you have long-been regarded as a staple on the subject of management literacy. You are one of the top, I’d say, 5 management gurus in the world. You’ve been listed as Top 10 by Business Week and Business 2.0, but I was fortunate enough to tag along with you on a couple of these ventures to Business Week, and Bloomberg and some of your other favorite haunts there in New York. You are just a treasure and we are so excited to have you on the show today.

Dr. Noel Tichy: Well, thank you. I’m delighted I can be with you and hopefully we can add some value to your listeners and help them begin to continue their journey to be better leaders every day.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Noel, we are focusing on emotional leadership. This is going to help Cathy and I with our book Emotional Brilliance. We certainly want to tap into you and your expertise. Before we get into any of that, I know you are traveling; what kinds of things are you still doing? Consulting, writing? Where are you, what are you doing today?

Dr. Noel Tichy: I am…a number of things. I am working with—when Bob McDonald took over Secretary of the VA after being CEO of Proctor and Gamble, he called me in. We are working with a very, very important, 7 years in, 1100 VA hospitals. I don’t have to tell anybody from all the news that comes out on it, but the reality is that they are an extraordinarily important support to our veterans and as a system, it needs to get better and better. So I spend a fair amount of my time with all 1100 VA hospitals. I work with the head of the hospitals, head of medicine and head of nursing.

Then I continue to be Chairman of the CP Leadership Institute in Thailand; the company is called CP and was founded about 40 years ago by a chicken farmer who now has a 330,000 person organization with chickens, ducks, pigs, rice farms, 7/11 stores, a TV network; a huge global conglomerate. He visited GE’s Crotonville about 10 years ago and heard about me and I got one of these calls that I often get, “Jay, we want to talk with you.” It’s one of these, yah. I said, here’s the deal. I’ll come over to Thailand for 2 ½ days, I will run a workshop for you and your senior team at the end of which if you don’t like me, pay me my consulting fee and we’ll say goodbye.

At the end of 2 ½ days he invited me to his house, which was about the size of the White House. He’s a delightful guy. Afterward, he said, here’s a little gift, and here’s your payment. He paid me in cash so I can probably be turned in because I did not report it when I came into the United States. I’m in the back of chauffer driven Mayback going to the airport and there was my wife, and she got a little present too and she opens hers and there’s a strand of black graduated pearls. Mine was a gold Omega watch.

What were we going to do? I said, I’m going to wear the watch and you are going to wear the pearls. I sure as hell hope that’s not the way he thinks he is going to pay us when we start working with him. He knows how to do a global money transfer.

That was the beginning of a very close partnership to 250 bedroom facility, nicer than GE’s Crontonville, or IBM’s facility, and I’m the Chairman for that which means designing all the programs from off-campus hires, to new managers, to functional programs, to senior leadership. Every single program is action learning. If you are a 22-year-old kid coming into CP from a school in Thailand or China or Japan, or wherever they are hiring from, they go through a program where they have to have a real project, bring an idea to the company that is going to add value and work to implement it. It’s something I did years ago at GE. Some of them succeed and some of them fail, but they begin to learn that they are there to add value.

So anyway, that’s one of my really big projects. The VA is the number one.

Listen to the entire interview, above.


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