Cesar Milan and Organizational Leadership

“I rehabilitate dogs; I train people.”  -Cesar Milan

I must admit that I am a great fan of the tv series, The Dog Whisperer.  Actually, if truth be known, I am addicted.  But then I am in good company since the show is one of the most popular on the tube and everywhere I go in the US, and even in the UK, it is easy to strike up a conversation about Cesar and how he is able to change the behavior of unruly dogs.

One day, after watching the program religiously for weeks, the light bulb suddenly flashed on in my head.  What we initially see as abnormal dog behavior, excessive barking, biting, attacking other dogs, pooping in the hall, hiding under the bed, chewing up pillow and sofas is simply the result of poor leadership on the part of their human owners.  The dogs are normal, it’s the owners that are defective!

And immediately my mind went from canine behavior to corporate culture and a very familiar leadership principle popped into my mind:

“Organizations are shadows of their leaders; that’s the good news and the bad news!”

Employees tend to take on the positive or negative behavioral characteristics of the leadership team.  If the leadership team is not aligned, complaining and blaming, then that behavior is magnified down into the organization and departments tend to not get along, are defensive and non-trusting.  It is the responsibility of those in leadership positions to manage their behavior in ways that match the espoused and declared leadership values.

After watching The Dog Whisperer for many weeks it became obvious that neurotic behavior in dogs is nearly always a shadow of the undisciplined, neurotic behavior of their owners.  Cesar shows us that timid and fearful owners tend to have dogs that act overly aggressively.  Owners who are inconsistent with their commands to their pets tend to create dogs who are “un-trainable” and unruly.  Shadows of their Owners.

Now it is obvious the meaning of Ceasar’s opening line to his weekly show:  “I rehabilitate dogs; I train people!”

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

E | john@johnrchildress.com      T | +44 207 584 3774      M | +44 7833 493 999

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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