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We need a new generation of leaders. And we need it now. We're in the midst of a Great Dereliction — a historic failure of leadership, precisely when we need it most. Hence it's difficult, looking around, to even remember what leadership is.
Excerpt from Umair's blog post:
We're surrounded by people who are expert at winning — elections, deals, titles, bonuses, bailouts, profit. And often, we're told: they're the ones we should look up to — because it's the spoils and loot that really matter.
But you know and I know: mere winners are not true leaders — not just because gaming broken systems is nothing but an empty charade of living; but because life is not a game. It isn't about what you have, and how much — but what you do, and why — if you're to live a life that matters.
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Here's a question (asked several different ways) every leader should be able to answer (and if you can't then perhaps this is something you need to think long and hard about).
What is your "why"? That is, "why" do you want to lead? What is your personal leadership purpose? What is your individual purpose in leading?
If you can't answer the question of your own "why", then you may find it extremely difficult to create the "why" of your organization or understand the individual "why" of each of your people.
(Hint: As a leader, try to answer the question without referencing yourself)
I collect gold nuggets on leadership/management, that I find useful, educational, and inspirational to others.
It is no longer a futuristic vision to talk about a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business environment. It is the reality that most leaders face every day. The way we work is fundamentally under pressure and it is evident that leaders must develop new responses and capabilities to navigate in the world and stay relevant. The purpose of this site - LeadershipABC - is to help leaders rethink, redefine, and reshape their organizations and themselves to meet the challenges of the future.
My personal aim is to provide you with stories you can learn and grow from. The kind of stories that provokes personal reflection and constructive action.
You're welcome to connect via:
When leaders want to create an open culture where people are willing to speak up and challenge one another, they often start by listening. This is a good instinct. But listening with your ears will only take you so far. You also need to demonstrate with words that you truly want people to raise risky issues.
Listening matters. But sometimes you’ve got to open your mouth too and make positive statements to generate the safety people need.
Most managers take it for granted that the world has become much more volatile and complex and that we need to constantly adapt. The days when we could simply plan and execute a strategy and hope to effectively compete are long gone.
In an age of disruption, the only viable strategy is to adapt.
Business education today is anachronistic in both how it is conducted and what its content focuses on. Our brick institutions have in no way caught up with what today’s technologies make possible in terms of virtual learning and individualized, customized instruction. More importantly, business education needs to evolve once again, revising its goals to educate leaders of the future who have a new set of skills: sustainable global thinking, entrepreneurial and innovative talents, and decision-making based on practical wisdom.
A shift in strategic thinking is underway as boards come to realise that they must respond faster to the changes shaping the global marketplace. The old notion of a set five-year plan has been transformed by the use of more emergent strategies, where assumptions about the future are tested more frequently and, if a new direction is needed, the business is fluid enough to be able to adapt quickly.
The future is emergent - agile business recognise this and change tack faster and with more empowerment.
Business Planning is so essential that those that don’t do this are doomed to failure. The greatest threat to a ship’s captain is not having detailed navigation charts to steer his ship through uncharted waters. Likewise, the greatest threat to a business owner is not having a plan on how to steer his business through difficult periods of economic slowdown or catastrophic market changes without suffering shipwreck. http://www.mjfgroup.biz/business-planning/
Throughout modern business history, CEOs have faced challenges and pursued opportunities tied to the times in which they led.
This StrategyQ article looks at the evolution of the chief executive officer from 100 years back to a quarter century ahead.
Many organizations, in pursuit of growth, understand the need to be agile in every aspect of their business—from faster decision making to more flexible operations to collaborative ventures. Yet, there is often a gap between that awareness and cohesive action. The Accenture study on agility explores the common characteristics of agile businesses.
Read Accenture’s research to understand how leaders act to become more agile.
Good article on the "Agile Organisation".
Social technologies with their inherent democratic, anti-hierarchical quality easily transcend internal and external boundaries, suddenly creating a powerful thrust for horizontal collaboration and participation. They give each and every member of an organization a creative voice and enable real-time virtual connectivity in a way we have never seen before. This makes them a great catalyst for the organizational principles that are required by the new leadership context of the 21st century.
Read also Roland Deiser and Sylvain Newton's article from McKinsey Quarterly February 2013: Six social-media skills every leader needs.
Everyday leadership integrates all modes of communications. 21st century leaders should leverage new social technologies to communicate strategy, ideas, news, and priorities. Unleashing communications from the email treadmill to extend and enhance face-to-face and other traditional communications methods is a force multiplier for organizational leadership.
In an increasingly global community this is critical. Collaboration across borders and in increasingly virtual work environments, a new playbook is in order.
In an increasingly virtual work environment and global community this is critical
Is Harvard Professor Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation terrorism? Or has the one-time assistant to Professor Porter confused the diagnosis with the disease?
Excellent article by Steve Denning!
See also my previous reference to Jill Lepore's article in the New Yorker here.
Read Clay Christensen's response to Lepore's article in Businessweek here.
A consensus is forming among thought leaders that shareholder primacy must give way customer primacy. Behold! The age of customer capitalism is dawning!
Interesting article about the demise of the concept that maximising shareholder value is a corporations' primary purpose.
Most companies' leadership models are missing a key element: inspiration.
What separates the best leaders from the rest? What do they have that trumps up their success? Is it knowledge? Motivation? Money?
Great leadership begins on the inside of every person. It begins with discovering our life’s purpose!
It is important to remember that ambition is a choice. Success cannot be forced upon those who do not seek it. Great leaders must choose to lead on their own accord.
Check out Talent Today, a really good tool for self-discovery:
If you are not fired up and energised about something you deeply care about, then people will not follow you.
Give me a great why and I will run with you
How corporate idioms got in the way of workers' and leaders' ability to see the severity of the company's problems in GM.
What is the future of management? Can management be reinvented to make it more effective as an agent of economic progress and more responsive to the needs of employees?
Leadership is a process of social influence: it is concerned with the traits, styles, and behaviours of individuals that causes others to follow them. Management is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals. Or to put it really simply, we all need to be leaders and managers. We need to be able to influence others through our ideas, words, and actions. We also need to be able to get work done through others on a day-to-day basis.
Future management from a different perspective
Digitization is rewriting the rules of competition, with incumbent companies most at risk of being left behind. Here are six critical decisions CEOs must make to address the strategic challenge posed by the digital revolution.
Digital engagement is not a trial-error tool ... you need to think seriously about how you will use the various strategies and tools ...
We know what makes companies prosper in the long term. They manage themselves as whole systems, look after their people, use targets and incentives with extreme caution, keep pay differentials narrow (we really are in this together) and treat profits as the score rather than the game. And it's a given that in the long term companies can't thrive unless they have society's interests at heart along with their own.
Good governance went out of the window when the Chicago school's reductive view of human nature took hold.
Top managers and shareholders on one side and employees on the other. Think it's past history (before the fall of the Berlin Wall) ? Wrong. We're still in it.
Our lives today weave between formal and social spaces, no longer defined by the four walls of the office or a clear distinction between technologies and communities. Social Leadership is a style suited to the Social Age: it’s about building reputation that leads into authority.
Excerpt from the blog post:
Within formal spaces, authority is hierarchical, often embedded in team and management structures and through official channels.
Social authority communicates through social channels and communities and is socially moderated: granted and removed contextually. It’s reputation based and often crosses into social technologies: that which sits within our pockets and plays by the rules of Facebook and Twitter.
#SocialCapital or #RelationshipCapital builds networked communities through technology, but only when underpinned by trustful behaviours. PS: @julianstodd a #mustfollow!!
Leadership Jim but not as we know it ...
Leading should occur on the boundaries (eco-tones) in organization. Anthony Bryk and others suggested the role of School leadership was to work on the boundaries between School and community rather than micro-managing what went on in School. That almost sounds like John Dewey.
Leaders tomorrow will succeed with a different skill set than that of today’s best. Smart leaders will spot the mid-career folks with greatest potential to become those outstanding future executives.
In the June 2014 Harvard Business Review hiring guru Claudio Fernández-Aráoz says to spot those with high leadership potential look for four abilities:
Daniel Goleman adds a few more distinguishing competencies that set star leaders apart from mediocre:
Nearly 60 percent of all companies fail at the double act of sustaining both results and investment year in and year out. That’s because most corporate leaders address the short-term–long-term tension by seeking the right balance between today and tomorrow. When the two are out of balance, this means taking less of one in order to get more of the other. And it inevitably leads to a kind of corporate schizophrenia, where companies switch between visionary, manic investment and aggressive, “performance-oriented” retrenchment — often with a leadership change marking the end of one phase and the start of the other.
How to navigate the twin demands of current performance and future investment.
The article is intended to provide the backdrop for the 2014 Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna. It deals with the challenges and opportunities for management in the face of the gigantic changes that we are experiencing in our society. Technology is a game changer - yet it will lead down the wrong path if not accompanied the appreciation of the essence of what it means to be human. Humanist leaders must provide the context and grounding for a society that is in danger to become increasingly technology obsessed. Hence the call for a 2nd Renaissance.
As Linda Hill sees it, innovation requires its own brand of leadership. The coauthor of the new book Collective Genius discusses what's been learned from 16 of the best business innovators.
"Innovation is a "team sport," not the act of a sole inventor. "Truly innovative groups are consistently able to elicit and then combine members' separate slices of genius into a single work of collective genius," the authors write.
Read also Collective Genius from HBR June 2014.
I would also recommend Clay Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations" for a different perspective of crowdsourcing and innovation.
Interesting thoughts from Tom Peters.
What if you could measure the intelligence of a group? What if you could predict which committees, assigned to design a horse, would end up with a camel, versus which would develop a thoroughbred - or a racecar?
In this presentation Jurgen Aleppo describes what the role of a manager is in an agile organization. I give a checklist of 12 topics that managers should concern themselves with.
l'agilité est au coeur des actions stratégiques aujourd'hui
great reminder of key concepts, inspiration...
Organizations everywhere are struggling to keep up with the accelerating pace of change - let alone get ahead of it.
Most people don’t feel the full rush going on around them, which is a part of the problem. But on almost every important business index, the world is racing ahead. The stakes - the financial, social, environmental, and political consequences - are rising in a similar exponential way.
In this new world, the big question facing business leaders everywhere is how to stay competitive and grow profitably amid this increasing turbulence and disruption.