5-E Leadership Model As A Diagnostic Or Planning Tool

Ed Head ShotLeadership is not wielding authority it’s empowering people.

Quote attributed to Becky Brodin

Leading can be a challenge, whether it is in regard to leading people or leading a project. In some respects leading is like casting with a fly rod. The basics can be learned reasonably fast, but mastery takes a lifetime.

It helps to have a model you can rely on as guidance to help ensure success. With a fly rod, the 10:00 to 2:00 casting arc is a model I use routinely. In leadership, I rely on the 5-E Leadership model to fill that role.

The genesis of the 5-E Leadership model is Jack Welch’s 4E’s of Leadership book. He created this leadership formula to help guide General Electric to superior market performance. A.G. Lafley, retired CEO of Procter & Gamble, added the fifth E in recognition that a great strategy without flawless execution is useless.

It has been my experience the 5-E Leadership Model can be effectively used to either diagnose a business problem or create a proactive strategic plan that avoids business problems. In either case, the process starts with creating a table to capture pertinent information (each E becomes a row).

In the situation where you are looking to diagnose an existing problem, simply ask probing questions of the team about tactics they have already been executed for each “E” , and fill out as much of the table as possible. Typically, you will discover the root causes of the problem in either the Envisioning or Enrolling steps of the model. In my experience, the gaps are generally and quickly evident.

When you use the model as a planning tool, complete the table by describing the specific action steps you will execute for each step of the leadership model.


ACTION PLAN (Planning Mode)

ENVISION – Defining a clear vision for what you are trying to accomplish. Ideally the vision is inspirational and includes a description of why you believe achievement is important.

ENROLL – Sharing the Vision with key people and Organizations that will be helpful to moving it from concept to reality. Try to always identify the “skin” each has invested in success. If there is no “skin”, then you may have false enrollment.

ENERGIZE – Exciting the people and Organizations enrolled in delivering the vision so they make it a priority in their own Action Plans.

ENABLE – Removing barriers and ensuring the conditions for success exist. This is a good step to leverage the Galbraith Star as a supportive evaluation tool.

EXECUTE – Creating efficient Action Plans that are strategically robust and adequately resourced to successfully move the vision to reality.

Try and use the model on a project you are currently leading. Describe what you did to address each step. Do you have a vision? Did you share your vision with the people you need to support the project? Do they have any skin in the game, or are they simply by-standers rooting you on? Are they genuinely energized by the upside business potential your project represents? Do you know what the barriers to success are, and do you have plans to break down those barriers? Are your project tracking and communication processes robust? Do you have appropriate contingency plans in place?

Hopefully you will find the 5-E Leadership model a useful tool in your journey to becoming an outstanding leader.

You may also find these posts helpful:

Tips on Earning the Right to Lead

Compendium on Leadership Lessons

12-Part Leadership Series




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