TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments
May 2011, Jossey-Bass
Most leaders feel the inevitable interruptions in their jam-packed days are troublesome. But in TouchPoints, Conant and Norgaard argue that these—and every point of contact with other people—are overlooked opportunities for leaders to increase their impact and promote their organization's strategy and values. Through previously untold stories from Conant's tenure as CEO of Campbell Soup Company and Norgaard's vast consulting experience, the authors show that a leader's impact and legacy are built through hundreds, even thousands, of interactive moments in time. The good news is that anyone can develop "TouchPoint" mastery by focusing on three essential components: head, heart, and hands.
TouchPoints speaks to the theory and craft of leadership, promoting a balanced presence of rational, authentic, active, and wise leadership practices. Leadership mastery in the smallest and otherwise ordinary moments can transform aimless activity in individuals and entropy in organizations into focused energy—one magical moment at a time.
Editor's Note xvii
1 THE POWER OF TOUCHPOINTS: THE ACTION IS IN THE INTERACTION 1
2 THE COMMITMENT TO MASTERY: THE CHOICE IS YOURS 25
3 USE YOUR HEAD: THE COMMITMENT TO INQUIRY 47
4 USE YOUR HEART: THE COMMITMENT TO REFLECTION 73
5 USE YOUR HANDS: THE COMMITMENT TO PRACTICE 95
6 MASTERING THE TOUCH: HOW CAN I HELP? 123
Recommended Reading 151
About the Authors 157
Mette Norgaard is an expert on strategic leadership and learning. She advises executive teams around the world on how to create distinct learning solutions that advance their companies' strategies. She has worked with senior-level leaders from Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, GE Capital, Nucor Corp., Estée Lauder, Harley-Davidson, the U.S. Navy, and Pfizer. Previously Norgaard was a consultant for FranklinCovey Co.
—Stephen M. R. Covey, Author of The New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book, The Speed of Trust
“TouchPoints treats the intersection between
leadership and interactions in a new, innovative way. Throughout
his impressive career, Conant has driven results and culture by
adhering to a set of core values. In this leadership perspective,
with co-author Norgaard, he offers an impatient call to
action and lessons to learn for all leaders and aspiring
—Charles H. Moore, Executive Director, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy
“Great books on leadership can be inspirational or
instructive in a highly practical way. TouchPoints is both,
and enormously entertaining, to boot. If you aspire to have a
highly positive impact on any kind of organization – whether
it’s big or small, private or public – you must read
—Jeffrey E. Garten
Professor and former dean, Yale School of Management
“TouchPoints is a vivid reminder that leadership is
a 24/7 role. Every human contact is an opportunity for leadership.
This book is required reading for current and aspiring leaders. It
will make you rethink how to approach the most demanding role of
—Carlos Gutierrez, Former Secretary of Commerce and Former Chairman and CEO, Kellogg Company
“Conant and Norgaard have captured the essence of great
leadership by emphasizing the importance of what happens every day
in both formal and informal interactions. All too often, leaders
fall short of their potential because they focus more on time
efficiency than personal impact. This book will convince you
that the latter is what matters most – and can help you make
—Jon Katzenbach, Senior Partner, Katzenbach Center at Booz & Company
“Leadership at the top is tough, and getting it right
really matters. Every leader today struggles with the question,
“How can I have more impact in the midst of increasing
demands and uncertainties?” As Conant and Norgaard know, you
do it by managing your TouchPoints well – moment upon moment,
day upon day. Everyone who aspires to great and sustainable
performance must master this discipline.”
—Saj-nicole Joni, Confidential CEO advisor, and author of The Right Fight
“As I read the book, I couldn’t help but remember a
mentor who guided my development, and while he never used the term
TouchPoints, his advice was all about TouchPoints, how to make the
most of them and how they, in turn, helped you make the
most out of your team. He would say, “It doesn’t matter
how trivial the associate’s question may seem… the fact
that they asked it means it is important to them. Take the time to
work it. Walk all three shifts on the factory floor; you will learn
more from that than what you read in the productivity reports. Make
yourself available 24/7. Care about people; they are the
business.” And so on. This book is all about effective
leadership, and effective leadership is what drives shareowner
value and career progression. It’s a read for
—Bill Perez, Retired President and CEO, William Wrigley Jr., Former President and CEO, Nike, and Retired President and CEO, SC Johnson
In our overloaded age, the most common complaint is certainly about interruptions. And no one feels it more than those who are called to lead and manage companies. But one CEO and a leadership consultant say that those unplanned interactions are not only worthwhile, they are the key to becoming a great leader and creating a wonderful workplace.
In their new book, Douglas R. Conant, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company, and Mette Norgaard, a renowned leadership consultant, suggest that every planned and unplanned interaction is an opportunity to build engagement and promote the organization’s values, purpose and agenda. TOUCHPOINTS: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments (Jossey-Bass; hardcover; May 17, 2011) reveals the approach that helped Conant transform Campbell Soup Company.
Conant and Norgaard have distilled the approach into a method that everyone—from top executives to new managers—can master over time and with repeated practice. It revolves around three practices:
- Head: Take the patchwork of ideas and assumptions and transform them into a coherent set of ideas.
- Heart: Make your work intensely personal. Care about your work and the people you work with.
- Hands: Develop the skills so that you can be proficient in TouchPoint after TouchPoint. This requires continuous practice.
Conant and Norgaard say the approach means improving listening skills and understanding that leadership is not about you – it’s about the people you are leading. “The process,” say Conant and Norgaard, “is to listen intently, frame the issue and advance it. Truly, to better frame the problem and address it really begins with the magic question, ‘How can I help?’ The answer will allow you to understand the issue, frame it, and then move toward a solution.”
“The beauty of TouchPoints is that it is approachable and aspirational,” says Conant. If you pick just three TouchPoints a day – that adds up to more than 1,000 interactions a year. Each of these moments is a chance to remind those on your team about the mission, and to listen to the issues and ideas they may have.” The results of these connections speak for themselves-higher employee engagement, improved growth, increased revenue, and better relationships.
In short, TouchPoints produce a better and more productive organization. And, the concepts have worked over and over again in a wide range of businesses and industries.
“These interactions build commitment and clarity, rather than simple compliance,” says Norgaard. “There’s an intense focus on the relationship and the result. This approach is about people and performance. The action is in the interaction.”
Leaders who use the TouchPoints approach are spending their valuable time learning to relate to and engage every employee. And, each TouchPoint, no matter how small, can build a successful organization.
TOUCHPOINTS provides a new approach to leadership – a proven one that can transform both leaders and the people they lead.
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