Thursday, June 16, 2011

Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections In The Smallest Of Moments (J-B Warren Bennis Series) By Douglas R Conant, Mette Norgaard

TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments (J-B Warren Bennis Series)

TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments (J-B Warren Bennis Series)
By Douglas R Conant, Mette Norgaard

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Product Description

A fresh, effective, and enduring way to lead—starting with your next interaction

Most leaders feel the inevitable interruptions in their jam-packed days are troublesome. But in TouchPoints, Conant and Norgaard argue that these—and every point of contact with other people—are overlooked opportunities for leaders to increase their impact and promote their organization's strategy and values. Through previously untold stories from Conant's tenure as CEO of Campbell Soup Company and Norgaard's vast consulting experience, the authors show that a leader's impact and legacy are built through hundreds, even thousands, of interactive moments in time. The good news is that anyone can develop "TouchPoint" mastery by focusing on three essential components: head, heart, and hands.

TouchPoints speaks to the theory and craft of leadership, promoting a balanced presence of rational, authentic, active, and wise leadership practices. Leadership mastery in the smallest and otherwise ordinary moments can transform aimless activity in individuals and entropy in organizations into focused energy—one magical moment at a time.

Q&A with Co-Authors Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard

What are TouchPoints?
Some days it feels like the information age has morphed into the interruption age. But what if you could step back and look at all of those interactions with a fresh perspective? What if, instead of seeing them as interfering with your work, you were to look at them as latent leadership moments? What if these moments were the answer to leadership in today's busy world?

In our experience, that is precisely what they are. Each of the many interactions you have during your day is an opportunity to establish high performance expectations, to infuse with greater clarity and more energy, and to influence the course of events. Each is a chance to transform an ordinary moment into a TouchPoint.

So, what does a TouchPoint look like in practice?
Each day is an elaborate sequence of TouchPoints: interactions with one other person, a couple of people, or a group that can last a couple of minutes, a couple of hours, or a couple of days. Those TouchPoints can be planned or spontaneous, casual or carefully choreographed. They take place in hallways, on factory floors, in conference rooms, on the phone, and via e-mail or instant messaging. Some deal with straightforward, relatively minor issues, while others involve complex challenges with wide-ranging effects.

Sadly, leaders often see these interactions as distractions that get in the way of their real work: the important work of strategizing, planning, and prioritizing. Only, these touch points are the real work. They are the moments that bring your strategies and priorities to life, the interactions that translate your ideas into new and better behaviors. How do you do that? By infusing each TouchPoint, no matter how brief, with greater clarity and genuine commitment.

You talk about the importance of listening. Why is that so critical for a leader?
Listening is one of the most amazingly efficient things you can do as a leader. But listening can be very hard to do. One reason is that most leaders have a bias for action, and when they are listening, it does not feel like they are doing anything. Listening is even more difficult in today's interruption age, where we have become so accustomed to the constant stimulation that many of us have developed ADT (attention deficit traits). Consequently, after trying to pay attention for a couple of minutes, your mind starts drifting, your fingers start twitching, and you reach for your PDA.

But, in a TouchPoint, listening with your head and with your heart is critical if you are to get a good understanding of the issue. Without that understanding, you can easily waste everyone's time by solving the wrong problem or by merely addressing a symptom, not the underlying disease.

Can you discuss the TouchPoint 'Triad'?
The TouchPoint Triad is simple: Listen, Frame, Advance. Asking the magic question, "How can I help?" gets you started. Listening intently helps you to figure out what is really going on and what others need from you; it is a way to tangibly demonstrate that you care. Framing the issue ensures that everyone in the TouchPoint has the same understanding of the issue. Advancing the agenda means deciding what next steps to take and who will take them. After the TouchPoint is over, following up with a question such as, "How did it go?" or "Is there anything else you need from me?" is a reminder that you care; it also lets you know how things worked out and whether you were genuinely helpful.

And, that's it. You master the touch by listening intently, framing the issue, and advancing the agenda. So as you engage in TouchPoint after TouchPoint, all you need to remember is "listen-frame-advance," "listen-frame-advance." And you do it dozens of times each day, day after day.

You advocate using your heart when making decisions. That seems to run counter to the idea that all leadership decisions should be logical ones. Can you clarify?
Some leaders say, "It's not personal, it's just business." Don't buy it! What these leaders mean is that they believe that to show strength you need to be tough-minded and tough-hearted. But the opposite is the case. What takes real courage is to make your work intensely personal; to care about your work and about the people you work with. We believe that when you use your heart, you will make better judgments concerning the issue; you'll make stronger connections with the other people; and you will develop your personal authority as a leader.

Some of the decisions you need to make in a TouchPoint are clear-cut. You simply get the best data, analyze it, and make the call. Yet in most cases you need to consider more than the numbers. There are even times when the numbers reveal one course of action as the smart thing to do, yet you know it is not the right thing to do. In such cases, you need to trust your intuition and connect to your principles. You need to use both your head and your heart to make a wise decision.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #30 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-05-17
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 208 pages
Editorial Reviews

"Tremendous! Doug Conant and Mette Norgaard have written a literal masterpiece on leadership in TouchPoints. Simultaneously filled with profound wisdom and practical application, this book demonstrates how our moment-to-moment interactions with others are really two-way opportunities to listen, learn, teach, and understand the pulse of our people and organization. This remarkable book will forever change how we view the work of leadership."
Stephen M. R. Covey, Author of The New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book, The Speed of Trust

"TouchPoints treats the intersection between leadership and interactions in a new, innovative way. Throughout his impressive career, Conant has driven results and culture by adhering to a set of core values. In this leadership perspective, with co-author Norgaard, he offers an impatient call to action and lessons to learn for all leaders and aspiring leaders."
Charles H. Moore,  Executive Director, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy

"Great books on leadership can be inspirational or instructive in a highly practical way. TouchPoints is both, and enormously entertaining, to boot. If you aspire to have a highly positive impact on any kind of organization – whether it's big or small, private or public – you must read this book."
Jeffrey E. Garten
Professor and former dean, Yale School of Management

"TouchPoints is a vivid reminder that leadership is a 24/7 role. Every human contact is an opportunity for leadership. This book is required reading for current and aspiring leaders. It will make you rethink how to approach the most demanding role of the CEO."
Carlos Gutierrez, Former Secretary of Commerce and Former Chairman and CEO, Kellogg Company

"Conant and Norgaard have captured the essence of great leadership by emphasizing the importance of what happens every day in both formal and informal interactions. All too often, leaders fall short of their potential because they focus more on time efficiency than personal impact. This book will convince you that the latter is what matters most – and can help you make it happen."
Jon Katzenbach, Senior Partner, Katzenbach Center at Booz & Company

"Leadership at the top is tough, and getting it right really matters. Every leader today struggles with the question, "How can I have more impact in the midst of increasing demands and uncertainties?" As Conant and Norgaard know, you do it by managing your TouchPoints well – moment upon moment, day upon day. Everyone who aspires to great and sustainable performance must master this discipline."
Saj-nicole Joni, Confidential CEO advisor, and author of The Right Fight

"As I read the book, I couldn't help but remember a mentor who guided my development, and while he never used the term TouchPoints, his advice was all about TouchPoints, how to make the most of them and how they, in turn, helped you make the most out of your team. He would say, "It doesn't matter how trivial the associate's question may seem… the fact that they asked it means it is important to them. Take the time to work it. Walk all three shifts on the factory floor; you will learn more from that than what you read in the productivity reports. Make yourself available 24/7. Care about people; they are the business." And so on. This book is all about effective leadership, and effective leadership is what drives shareowner value and career progression. It's a read for all."
Bill Perez, Retired President and CEO, William Wrigley Jr., Former President and CEO, Nike, and Retired President and CEO, SC Johnson

From the Inside Flap

Leadership is tough. You must hit your marks – despite back-to-back meetings, endless emails, and chance encounters in the hallway.

Most leaders feel that these inevitable demands keep them from doing their "real work." But in this groundbreaking book, authors Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard argue that these interactions are overlooked opportunities to expand your influence and deliver measurably better results.

Through untold stories from Conant's tenure as CEO of Campbell Soup Company and Norgaard's consulting experience, TouchPoints shows how a leader's impact and legacy are in fact built through hundreds, even thousands, of interactive moments in time.

The good news is that everyone can attain greater "TouchPoint" mastery. Conant and Norgaard show how by delving into three essential assets – your head, heart, and hands. As the authors explain, one of the greatest investments you can make is constant attention to your mental model, your emotional maturity, and your bias for action. Then inquiry, reflection, and practice all combine to help you make the most of your TouchPoints, no matter how planned or incidental they may seem at the time.

TouchPoints speaks to the theory and craft of leadership by promoting a rational, authentic, active, and wise approach. With greater skill and energy, you can start transforming otherwise ordinary interactions into powerful leadership moments—one TouchPoint at a time.

From the Back Cover

Praise for TouchPoints

"A profoundly relevant book on the fundamental power of human connections—and how it drives lasting change for every leader, every time."
Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me

"Being an effective executive in today's over-scheduled, fast-paced 'interruption age' is not mutually exclusive with being an accessible and engaged leader. Indeed, recognizing that everyday 'TouchPoints' represent opportunities to teach and to enhance corporate culture is a prerequisite for success."
Duncan Niederauer, CEO, NYSE Euronext

"Doug Conant has proven himself to be a very disciplined CEO – focused, able to let go of what doesn't fit, building greatness step-by-step, laying foundations for decades down the road while delivering results today. His example shows how effective business leadership can be quiet and bold, studious and decisive, disciplined and creative. He and Mette Norgaard make a great team for bringing these leadership lessons to the world."
Jim Collins, author, Good to Great

"Like much of the best advice, TouchPoints makes immediate good sense; and taking it won't even add to your workload."
Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP

"Leave it to Conant and Norgaard to define the future of leadership. In this brilliant new view, they uncover hidden opportunities we each have to turn everyday 'warm moments' into powerful venues for breakthrough thinking in your organization. This book makes all the rest seem old and tired."
Faith Popcorn, CEO of BrainReserve, futurist, and bestselling author

"Conant and Norgaard reveal the secrets of great leadership. Yes, hard skills count, but soft skills – deftly managing a conversation, caring about the people around you, posing the perfect question in a crisis – make all the difference. This practical and insightful book shows how to transform the behaviors and results around you."
Daniel H. Pink, author, Drive and A Whole New Mind

"A superb leadership guide."
Bill George, author of True North

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
5Leadership Wisdom in Action
By Raymond A. Britt
Doug Conant and Mette Norgaard's " Touchpoints" is a powerful reminder of the greatest strength of an organization...its people. Through numerous anecdotes Conant and Norgaard share their leadership wisdom, gained through experiences both positive and not so positive. Truly transformational effective leadership comes when leaders at all levels of an organization meaningfully engage with their fellow workers. Conant and Norgaard illustrate that often the effective application of the " soft" leadership skills is truly more difficult than of the so called "hard" skills. Daily,constant leadership using Head, Heart and Hands will transform any organization by releasing the power within...the expertise and collected wisdom of its people. I would recommend this book highly for anyone who wishes to be the best personal leader they can be.

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
5An Inspiring Read
By Jon Vegosen
TouchPoints, by Campbell Soup Company President and CEO, Doug Conant, and consultant Mette Norgaard, isn't simply "Mmm, Mmm Good." It's brilliant. In our hectic, high-tech, light-speed world, the authors provide insightful guidance for connecting with and motivating others, one person at a time. TouchPoints should be required reading for all leaders and those who aspire to lead.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Top-notch leadership book
Excellent book on what it means and what it takes to be an effective leader. No wonder the authors are as successful as they are.


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