August 27, 2012

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CEO of the Year

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The Business of Leadership

Sarah Cutler

August 27, 2012

Why do we continue to micro-manage people after they have the demonstrated ability to move beyond task level? This was one of many questions proposed by Timothy R. Clark, founder and chairman of TRClark LLC, during the Utah Tech Council’s Industry Luncheon last week.

“We learn how much capacity the person has. It’s a diagnostic to know exactly where they are,” answered Clark. “We get them right where we need them.” Clark, speaking in regards to leadership, names three levels of accountability: Task Level, Project Level and Outcome Level.

“What we are not doing in organizations as well as we should is moving people from task to project to outcome level accountability as fast as they are able, while appropriately managing risk,” Clark said.

If you are in a position of leadership or are trying to find a leader to fill a position, there are simple ideas that come in to play, according to Clark. The ability to rise through the levels of accountability is just a portion of what it takes to be a leader.

He noted that the human tendency is deny, blame, excuse. “One of the differentiating factors that you need to look for in finding leaders is to find people who want to be accountable,” said Clark.

Another distinguishing factor? People who want to create value. Leaders, according to Clark, have a deep emotional need to create value and a deep emotional need to be accountable.

“It comes down to creating value today versus creating value tomorrow,” Clark said. “While both are important to the success of an organization, higher levels of responsibility in the context of turbulence and acceleration put a higher emphasis on leadership.”

Possibly the point that stood out clearest during Clark’s presentation to the UTC crowd was that management and leadership are often separate roles. He included a diagram that listed the differences in the two:

  • Preserving
  • Value Today
  • Facts
  • Scripted
  • Lower Risk
  • Equilibrium
  • Tactical


  • Disturbing
  • Value Tomorrow
  • Possibilities
  • Unscripted
  • Higher Risk
  • Disequilibrium
  • Strategic

Clark asked, “Isn’t it interesting that high performers don’t mind being measured? It’s those who are not that mind being measured.”

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