The Leader Letter, from Jim Clemmer: Keynote Speaker, Workshop/Retreat Leader, and Management Team Developer The Leade#anchortter, from Jim Clemmer: Keynote Speaker, Workshop/Retreat Leader, and Management Team Developer The Leader Letter, from Jim Clemmer: Keynote Speaker, Workshop/Retreat Leader, and Management Team Developer The Leader Letter, from Jim Clemmer: Keynote Speaker, Workshop/Retreat Leader, and Management Team Developer The Leader Letter, from Jim Clemmer: Keynote Speaker, Workshop/Retreat Leader, and Management Team Developer
The Leader Letter, from Jim Clemmer: Keynote Speaker, Workshop/Retreat Leader, and Management Team Developer

Jim Clemmer's Leader Letter

December 2006, Issue 45
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Check Your Balance with the Performance Triangle

The terms "management" and "leadership" are often interchanged. In fact, many people view them as basically the same thing. Yet management is as distinct from leadership as day is from night. Both are necessary, however, for a high-performance organization. By contrasting them and understanding their differences, we can better balance and improve these essential roles.











Position Power

Persuasion Power



Problem Solving

Possibility Thinking



Doing Things Right

Doing the Right Things





Light a Fire Under People

Stoke the Fire Within People

Written Communications

Verbal Communications



Both management and leadership are needed to make teams and organizations successful. Trying to decide which is more important, is like trying to decide whether the right or left wing is more important to an airplane's flight. I'll take both please!

In The CLEMMER Group's consulting and training work, we often add a third element -- technical -- to management and leadership to form what we call a "Performance Triangle." This adds another dimension to the question, "how should the organization's focus be allocated to each area?"

The triangle depicts the balance between the three critical success factors. Imagine a pendulum swinging in the center of the triangle. It's very difficult to keep the pendulum in a state of equilibrium. In some cases, organizations may need to swing the pendulum in one direction because that's where it's weakest. For example, entrepreneurial start-up companies often have strong vision, passion, and energy (leadership) and may also have good technological or technical skills. But their lack of systems and processes or poor management discipline leads to a lot of errors, poor service/quality, and frustration for customers and people in the organization.

Below is an exercise from The Leader's Digest: Practical Application Planner that I use in most workshops and management retreats to help participants do a balance check. Each person independently allocates the percent of time they feel their team is devoting to each of the three areas. Since the group isn't athletes giving "110 percent" and our time and resources are a zero sum game, it must add up to 100 percent. Next, participants complete what they feel the team's time allocation should be. Participants then compare scores and use this as the beginning point for a lively discussion in their roles, team balance, and how they use their time.

While apparently simple, the exercise is often much more difficult than it first appears. There is no universal formula that applies to all organizations. Some need more technical skills or better technologies. Others need the discipline of better systems and processes. Most need a lot more leadership.

Finding the Right Balance

Is Now %

Should Be %












For more in-depth reading about balancing management and leadership, review the first chapter of The Leader's Digest at Or you can browse through a selection of excerpts and articles at

Thoughts that Make You Go Hmmmmm...
on Balancing Management and Leadership

"Managers manage within paradigms. Leaders lead between paradigms."
Joel Barker, author and consultant

"Management is getting people to do what needs to be done. Leadership is getting people to want to do what needs to be done. Managers push. Leaders pull. Managers command. Leaders communicate...
Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right. Both roles are crucial, and they differ profoundly....many an institution is well managed yet very poorly led."
- Warren Bennis, An Invented Life: Reflections on Leadership and Change

"....while improving their ability to lead, companies should remember that strong leadership with weak management is no better, and is sometimes actually worse, than the reverse. The real challenge is to combine strong leadership and strong management and use each to balance the other."
- John Kotter, "What Leaders Really Do," Harvard Business Review

"The good-to-great companies built a consistent system with clear constraints, but they also gave people freedom and responsibility within the framework of that system. They hired self-disciplined people who don't need to be managed, and then manage the system, not the people."
- Jim Collins, Good to be Great

"Reason only discovers the shortest way: it does not discover the destination."
- George Bernard Shaw

"People with high levels of personal mastery... cannot afford to choose between reason and intuition, or head and heart, any more than they would choose to walk on one leg or see with one eye."
Peter Senge, author, Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Founding Chair of the Society for Organizational Learning

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Steps to Work-Life Balance

Another perennial balance issue is juggling our personal and professional lives. That's why I wrote Growing The Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success. Over 100,000 copies of this book have been sold since it was published in 1999. I continue to be very gratified by the ongoing feedback I receive from readers, such as Darrell's contribution below. You can read many other comments and a number of very personal and touching letters and application stories at Scroll down this page and pay special attention to some of the longer letters/stories. You'll come away with a few ideas for your own juggling act. Or the stories will help you put your own challenges in perspective.

Growing the Distance is the first of two of Jim's books I have read. As a Fire Chief, father, and a husband, I need all the help I can get!

I have struggled through management with the tools I had at hand and with my home life as well. Growing the Distance provides tools that are easy not only to read, but also to live.

I participated in one of Jim's workshops at an Executive Development seminar for senior management at the Ontario Fire College. I was extremely impressed with the session and later found much wisdom between the covers of his book. Growing the Distance is extremely insightful. I found myself relating to the stories and points mainly because Jim has such a knack for writing sidebar stories and adding personal experiences. This makes his book into a travel guide for your professional and personal life.

The book is short enough to not be intimidating yet detailed enough to help you find direction for living a better life. It's filled with the wisdom to bridge the gap between home, family and work. I have read a number of books and articles, attended courses, classes and seminars on management and leadership. But few explain and define leadership, and as an integral fit with overall management skills. Growing the Distance then takes it to the next step of living it!

Growing the Distance is well worth the read and is much more than a once-through-and-forget-it book. I have read it twice and keep a copy in my office for reference.
- Darrell Reis, Fire Chief, Perth East Fire Department

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Permission to Reprint: You may reprint any items from The Leader Letter in your own printed publication or e-newsletter as long as you include this paragraph:

"Reprinted with permission from The Leader Letter, Jim Clemmer's free e-newsletter. For over 25 years, Jim's 2,000+ practical leadership presentations and workshops/retreats, five bestselling books, columns, and newsletters have been helping hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. His web site is"

Courageous Leadership for Health and Safety

There are very few strictly "safety problems." But there are many leadership and organization effectiveness problems that become apparent in accidents, sickness, and other symptoms of organizational ineffectiveness. Like incompetent doctors, ineffective managers often make people sicker. Research shows that workers are three times more likely to experience accidents in a depressing workplace. Workers involved in accidents or with higher levels of sickness, have lower levels of job and organizational involvement and input. And a high stress workplace correlates with higher levels of sickness and injuries. The quality of supervision and leadership is a key factor in determining workplace stress levels.

This was clearly where Don Ritz at Barrick Gold was coming from when he read The Leader's Digest over two years ago, and contracted with The CLEMMER Group to customize a two-day health and safety leadership development workshop around it. We designed the program for Barrick, then trained their own managers and trainers to deliver it to thousands of supervisors and managers around the world. They even translated and printed The Leader's Digest in Spanish and Russian. Click here to go to the July 2006 issue of the newsletter to read about some of this work with Barrick Gold.

The central paragraph below in Mark's excellent review of The Leader's Digest (in my totally unbiased opinion), hits a key point that applies to customer service, innovation, quality, and many other organizational goals, in addition to better health and safety.

A good friend of mine, Craig Ross, Safety Director for Barrick Gold Corporation, lent me a copy of a book he recommended entitled The Leader's Digest, by Jim Clemmer. I found this book very different from other leadership books on the market. The book is written in a true digest format. This unique aspect makes it easy to read. After reading just a fourth of the book, I was online ordering a copy for myself. Clemmer states, 'One of my goals in writing The Leader's Digest was to distill all the information on leadership down to its essentials -- to provide a series of executive summaries or briefings on the key elements of leading people.'

The principles outlined in the book are truly timeless. Thus, they are not new leadership principles. Through a wide range of examples and comparisons, Clemmer describes ways in which these principles are proven effective. Clemmer encourages, 'We need to continually rediscover and repackage them for today's circumstances.' One of the key comparisons made in the book is management versus leadership. In short, Clemmer defines management as 'pushing employees toward a goal' and leadership as 'pulling employees toward a goal.' In my experience, I have seen a lot of strong managers fail from lacking the ability to lead. More so now than ever, today's workforce demands not only strong management but also strong leadership, especially when it comes to safety and health compliance. Companies must respond and produce managers with strong leadership qualities if they are to succeed in their goals. The Leader's Digest is a great tool that can assist all managers in any industry with understanding the principle difference between management versus leadership and the importance of leadership in the workplace.

The Leader's Digest does not directly address safety and was not written specifically for the safety professional. However, a safety professional can turn to any page in it, read an excerpt and be able to apply any one of the "timeless principles" Clemmer has collected to the safety profession. I greatly enjoyed this book. The Leader's Digest will not collect dust on my shelf. It will be a book that I will refer to quite frequently throughout my career. I highly recommend it for all safety professionals—as we are not only managers of safety but also leaders of our workforce in our endless challenge to achieve and maintain a proactive safety culture."
- Mark Chavez, Jacobsen Construction Company, ASSE News (October 2006), reprinted courtesy of the Utah Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers

The CLEMMER Group Seeks a Marketing Director


  • Internet marketing
  • Media relations
  • Expanding alternate distribution channels
  • New product development


  • Experience with pay-per-click, search engine optimization, copywriting, split or A/B testing, mass e-mailing, and database mining a definite plus
  • Broad knowledge of current technologies, the Internet, and skilled with technology -- but we're not looking for a programmer or technical expert

Personal Characteristics:

  • Preferably located in Southern Ontario
  • Self-starter who can balance working alone with being a team player
  • Passionate about the personal, team, and organization development field
  • Looking for a ground floor opportunity to build and grow both the position and company

We offer competitive salary, benefits, and profit sharing package. We're committed to training and developing the right person.

Go to for more details. If you know someone who may be interested, please pass this along. I'd also appreciate having your help posting this message on appropriate sites, or your experience and advice about the most successful advertising opportunities.

Special "Leading @ the Speed of Change" Presentation in Calgary on March 8, 2007

The Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS), is hosting an evening featuring my most popular keynote presentation, "Leading @ the Speed of Change", followed by a special overview of The CLEMMER Group's business model. This interactive presentation will be from 7 p.m. until 8:45 p.m. at the Sandman Inn, 25 Hopewell Way NE (at the corner of Barlow & McKnight). After a short break, I'll continue with a 45-60 minute overview of how my career has evolved in this industry and how we currently run The CLEMMER Group. This section is designed for current or aspiring professional speakers, trainers, and facilitators, however, anyone is welcome to join us.

Registration begins at 6:30 pm. I will have copies of my books and other leadership resources available at deep discounts. For more details and to register, go to the Calgary CAPS web site at

I do very few public sessions like this. I did one in Halifax last year and one in Winnipeg earlier this year. No others are planned. Since I'll be touching on both personal and professional aspects of leadership, change, and dealing with adversity, you'll want to bring friends, family, and colleagues with you.

Favorite November Improvement Points

Improvement Points is a free service providing a key thought or quotation from one of my articles, provided three times per week, directly to your e-mail inbox. Each complimentary Improvement Point links directly into the full article on our web site that spawned it. If you'd like to read more about that day's Improvement Point, you can choose to click through to the short article for a quick five-minute read. This is your opportunity for a short pause that refreshes, is an inspirational vitamin, or a quick performance boost. You can circulate especially relevant or timely articles or Improvement Points to your team, Clients, or colleagues for further discussion or action.

Here are my personal three choices of the Improvement Points we sent out in November.

"Technomanaged organizations have things backwards. They manage the organization from the inside out. People serve the systems or processes. Customers are made to fit the organization. Technology drives behavior."
- from Jim Clemmer's article, "Technomanagement: A Deadly Mix of Bureaucracy and Technology"
Read the full article now!

"Sometimes we'll hear people say "he's not living in the real world" or "that's not reality." But whose view of "reality" are we talking about? Philosophers have argued for centuries that there is no objective reality, only perceptions. There's my reality, your reality, and someone else's reality."
- from Jim Clemmer's article, "Choice More than Chance Determines Our Circumstance"
Read the full article now!

"Many people give up just as they're about to achieve success. They often stop digging when they're inches from their vein of gold. Then they decide to prospect for silver, start digging in new places, get discouraged and give up just before they're about to reach their dreams."
- from Jim Clemmer's article, "Persistence Goes the Distance"
Read the full article now!

"Leading @ the Speed of Change" Public Workshop

For the past twenty-five years, I have been helping thousands of managers and management teams apply the practical leadership principals and practices that catapult them to peak personal and professional performance. I have taken that experience and the research from writing five leadership and organization effectiveness books, and boiled it all down to a two-day, high energy and intense workshop that I call "Leading @ the Speed of Change." It's jammed full of practical tips, tools, and techniques on how to align people, processes, and personal effectiveness for continuous success.

We only have one public session scheduled for 2007 (most of my work is internal to organizations). Please join me for my one and only two-day public session, right here in my hometown, Kitchener, Ontario, on May 30 - May 31, 2007. You (and possibly your colleagues) will be inspired to action and provided with practical 'how-to' steps that dramatically boost personal, team, and organization results. Each day is packed with practical guidelines, powerful systems, and personal growth strategies.

Check out the session or download a PDF workshop brochure at There are special discounts for bringing colleagues along so you can learn and apply these principles together.

This workshop includes four valuable no extra cost. You'll receive signed copies of my recent bestsellers, Growing the Distance and The Leader's Digest as well as the extensive 'how-to' workbooks, Practical Application Planner and Personal Implementation Guide, with hundreds of practical application ideas.

You can read other participant comments here.

I deliver many half, one, and two-day customized versions of this "Leading @ the Speed of Change" workshop. Contact me if you'd like to explore this option for your own organization at


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Feedback and Follow-Up

"I really enjoy your monthly newsletter. Each one is timely, relevant and thoroughly thought- provoking. The Leader Letter has enhanced my interactions with colleagues, superiors and staff. I look forward to the next month's issue once I have completed reading the current copy. Keep up the excellent work in promoting better management skills in our business world."
- King Wan, Audit Consultant, City of Vancouver

I am always delighted to hear from readers of The Leader Letter with feedback, reflections, suggestions, or differing points of view. Nobody is ever identified in The Leader Letter without their permission.

I am also happy to explore customized, in-house adaptations of any of my material for your team or organization. Drop me an e-mail at

Keep learning, laughing, loving, and leading -- living life just for the L of it!



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Copyright 2006, Jim Clemmer, The CLEMMER Group