Friday, June 12, 2009

Using P&G's 3E Leadership Model for Interviews

When I was at P&G, they had an ingenious framework for looking at leadership that they called the 3E model. I've been using this model as a lens through which to evaluate new hires and I find it quite effective.

Let me first layout the model. The 3Es stand for Envision, Energize and Enable. Envisioning is about setting a vision for the business -- and one that can ideally change the game for your company. Energizing is about rallying a team to stand behind that vision. Enabling is about providing the team with the capabilities to accomplish that vision once they are enthusiastic about doing it.

I am always amazed at what a comprehensive leadership model the 3Es model is. I know that GE has a variant on the model (see Jack Welch and The 4 E's of Leadership: How to Put GE's Leadership Formula to Work in Your Organization). GE's 4Es are: positive Energy; the ability to Energize others; Edge, or the ability to make tough decisions; and, Execution, the ability to get the job done. GE's model covers some aspects that P&Gs does not, namely Execution. And I do think this is a very important area to dive into that P&G misses in their leadership model (though it is captured in their "What Counts" Factors). By contrast, I believe that P&G's Envision is sorely missing from the GE model.

As I said, I use the 3E model as an interview lens. This is mostly because by the time a candidate is in front of you, if they haven't spent a lifetime of practicing Leadership, I do not believe that they are not likely going to get good enough at it to make a difference to your team. I have found that my strongest folks had very clear stories about how they had Envisioned, Energized and Enabled well before they came to the interview. In most cases, in fact, my top performers had these skillsets in high school or elementary school.

GE's missing "Envisioning" criteria is a particularly stunning difference between my star performers and my average performers. My star Product Managers can quickly tell you how they created a long-lasting transformative vision for organizations that they were a part of. Oftentimes from a very early age. My average performers have that missing. What also makes questions about this so powerful is that they can be heard and fairly accurately assessed in an interview, as opposed to other skill-sets (such as the vital skill of coaching) which are really difficult to assess except through observation and in-depth reference interviews where oftentimes the interviewees are guarded and biased.

So I would highly recommend giving a question to your next interviewee about their history of having envisioned something great for a team or organization or business that they were a part of. And for more fun, ask it again and again. The great folks shine in these situations and have so many that they come off their finger tips in seconds. Snatch them up because, based on my experience, they are absolute gems.

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