Remember that classic New Yorker cartoon with Rover sitting in front of a computer? The caption read, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” Well, on the web, no one knows you’re a senior vice president either. That’s why every leader is going to have to learn how to get things done in a world where authority is the reciprocal of followership.
As traditional hierarchies get supplanted by networked, or “social,” organizations, leadership will become less a function of “where you sit,” than of “what you can do.” Any company that strives to build a leadership advantage will need more than a celebrity CEO and a corporate university that serves up tasty educational morsels to the “high potentials.” It will need an organizational model that gives everyone the chance to lead if they’re capable; and a talent development model that helps everyone to become capable.
What does it take to dramatically enlarge the leadership capacity of an organization—and equip all of its people to lead without formal authority? Those are the questions behind the Leaders Everywhere Challenge, the second leg of the Harvard Business Review/McKinsey M-Prize for Management Innovation. And today we’re proud to announce the eighteen finalists—a robust collection of real-world case studies and courageous experiments in rethinking the work of leadership, redistributing power, and unleashing 21stcentury leadership skills.