Jack Pankoff, Sr.
Founder and

Leadership and Operational Excellence

Leadership development is essential for a plant organization to use a Lean Manufacturing philosophy in achieving and sustaining Operational Excellence.

In order to understand the context of Leadership Development, we first must make the distinction between Leadership and Management.

John Kotter, Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School makes the distinction as follow:


  • Setting Direction
  • Aligning People
  • Motivating and Inspiring People


  • Planning and Budgeting
  • Organizing and Staffing
  • Controlling and Problem Solving

Based on the above universally accepted distinction, Leadership is much broader in focus than management.  Management activities are very specific.  Leadership is concerned with attitudes, emotions and feelings.  It is the bases to foster engagement and empowerment that is transferred into organizational learning, culture (value, beliefs, and behavioral norms), and thus “performance”.

Leadership Theory

Most process industry companies are proponents of Adaptive Leadership theory versus conventional leadership.  Adaptive Leadership is the ability of leaders at all levels to recognize changes in their work environment, identify critical elements of a new situation, and engage and empower employees to meet new organization requirements.  Adaptive leadership theory requires the use of Hybrid Leadership styles, practices and techniques.

Leadership Styles

Adaptive leadership requires that leaders learn several leadership styles.  The styles used are synergistically dependent on one another, based on the situation.  Leadership styles include:

  • Situational
  • Transactional
  • Transformational
  • Participative
  • Delegative
  • Authoritative

Who Should Receive Leadership Development

Leadership Development was once reserved for select employees at very specific levels in the organization.  However, today most process industry companies are advocates of Distributive Leadership practices.  That is, leaders must be developed at all levels of an organization.  In a process plant that would include hourly shift team leaders, front line supervisors, staff personnel, and members of the plant leadership team and their direct reports.

Leadership Development and Management Development are essential to process safety, change management and improving and sustaining Operational Excellence.