What Does Your LPI Say About You?

Robert Tompson

Most people would agree that The Five Practices model and the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) are widely accepted as tremendous business tools. While he book has sold over a million copies from the "Business" bookshelf, I often think that it would fit just as well in the "Self Help" section of a bookstore. Moreover, after years of delivering The Leadership Challenge Workshop and coaching individuals using The Five Practices model (rarely held in anything other than a business setting), I can assure you that the biggest gain from the work for most everyone is personal. Of course, this personal growth tends to leak and often pours into their professional life. Here is a quick real life story that illustrates the point.

At a senior level TLC workshop some time ago, a Vice President came up to me rather forcefully at a break and complained about the efficacy of the LPI.

"This instrument that you just gave me shows that I am a control freak, and I know I'm not. So what does that mean?" he asked alarmingly close to my face.

"Having a score on the Enable Others to Act that is low may mean that you are perceived as being overly controlling and not good at delegation," I said stepping back to catch my breath from his arrogant approach. "It also shows that you are not necessarily concerned with growing your talent."

"Does this mean I am a control freak at home?" he scoffed while punching at his report.

"Go home and ask your wife," I responded, knowing what the answer might be.

He stomped off like a lion that evening, but early the next morning he slithered into the room a little more sheepishly.

"So, how did it go last night," I chuckled with a slight smirk.

"I told my wife that I was at this workshop and the 'yahoo' who was leading the seminar said I was a control freak based on my LPI scores. Was this true? She stared at me for a moment and then blistered me with her questioning eyes and verbally shrugged 'Hellooo'!"

"So, I asked her if this meant that I was over-controlling with our son. And," he relayed, after the longest pause, "she looked at me again with those piercing eyes and blurted with a more commanding tone 'Ya think'?"

He couldn't believe what he was hearing. So being the legendary "big-deal" executive of his imagination, he decided to check it out on his own. He did a mini focus group.

Heading off to his son's bedroom, he told his boy the story about the workshop and even defined the word "controlling" to his 12-year-old so there would be no mistake in the answer.

"As I was sharing the information with my boy and asking the question, I saw his eyes fill with tears as he muttered, 'Dad, you hurt me all the time'."

As a waterfall of emotion tumbled down his son's red cheeks, the father, with his head slumped into his palms, finally understood what the LPI was telling him. He was not helping his son grow and he realized his workmates were probably feeling like spare parts as well.

That day, the "big-deal" executive got it. Using The Five Practices model, he began to appreciate and nurture his relationships in all areas of his life. Today, keeping his updated LPI nearby, he has become a credible CEO as well as a more trusted father and husband at home.

Make the choice. Use The Five Practices and the LPI to get a true glimpse of how the frequency of your behavior is perceived in all of life's situations, not just the workplace. It might make all the difference in your world.

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