Way back in 1955 Dr. Thomas Gordon wrote a book called Group Centered Leadership that contained many of the ideas and skills in the present day L.E.T. book. It didn’t sell very well because it wasn’t a particularly easy read but mostly because the ideas presented were years ahead of the readiness of business leaders to share decision making, which is one of the things the GCL book advised them to do.
However, the Japanese were ready. With their industries in ruins at the end of World War II they had no choice but to start over. So they imported the ideas of W. Edwards Deming, Douglas McGregor, Frederick Herzberg and others to help them structure a new industrial empire that, within a few years was closing in on the productivity output of the United States and every other industrial nation in the West.
Their secret? Not high wages. Not incentives. Not performance evaluations. Instead, they instituted various forms of employee involvement. They flattened the pyramid, implemented group centered decision making and, for a while, nearly displaced the U. S. as the number one industrial power in the world.
Not all western companies have adopted this American-inspired Japanese model but many have and there are hopeful signs for the future.
2015 marks the 18th consecutive year that W. L. Gore ranked as one of the “Top 100 Companies to Work for In America” by Fortune Magazine. Gore elected to teach everyone of their Associates (as employees are known), more than 6000 worldwide, the communication and problem-solving skills needed in order to handle problems without resorting to ineffective tactics or having to take the problem to a third party, their sponsor or a group leader.
The program they chose to accomplish this was our Leader Effectiveness Training. One of their in-house L.E.T. trainers said, “It is expected that each Associate can think and confront independently to reach win-win outcomes. People build credibility at Gore through developing relationships and making contributions to the enterprise.”
Gore is one of more than 100 major companies from to to that utilize our training program to create open, honest and productive corporate climates. The skills we teach are linked to increased employee engagement and help people express empathy in the workplace in an appropriate and effective manner. And that collaboration stuff? L.E.T. can show you how.