“If passion is not aroused, not much is going to happen, and responsibility will never has a chance.” Harrison Owen
“Leadership everywhere” is impossible under the premises of the organizational model of early 20th century. You cannot expect that leadership emerges if people feel that they are treated like mechanisms of a machine that its main purpose is to produce earnings for the shareholders.
The lack of “leadership everywhere” in today’s organizations shows that most of them still work under the premises of the organizational model of early 20th century. These premises are:
• Conditioning (reward and punishment)
• Subordination • Humans like mechanisms
• Command and control
These premises reflect the prevailing managerial mindset of that time, where tradition, hierarchy, rigid structures, obedience, fear and money were the fundamental values. The problem to unleash “leadership everywhere” is that this mindset remains alive in most organizations.
In order to foster the emergence of “leadership everywhere” in organizations, we need a new managerial mindset with a new set of values like innovation, respect for the people, adaptability, initiative, trust and purpose. Hence, the principles of the organizational model of early 21st century could be:
- Inspiration: to feel inspired, people need to have a purpose, a cause that is really worthwhile. The Free Dictionary defines cause as “A goal or principle served with dedication and zeal”. I love the meaning of inspiration as the act of filling the lungs with air, because when you do that, you are “full of life”, and inspiration is about having a purpose that gives meaning to your life.
- Empowerment: it is about feeling so passionate about a cause that you take the responsibility to make it happen. In order to accomplish that, you must be able to take the lead of yourself, to act autonomously and to be accountable. It means that you need confidence in your own capacity, maturity and the skills to accomplish your goal.
- Humans like humans: this means that you are capable of seeing the huge potential of every human being and you treat people accordingly. It is based in the true belief that humans are intelligent, creative, autonomous, accountable and trustworthy.
- Self-organization: it is perhaps the rector principle of nature. “Self-organization is the ability of a system to spontaneously arrange its components or elements in a purposeful (non-random) manner, under appropriate conditions but without the help of an external agency.” Self-organization is what makes nature as sustainable and resilient as it is; it is “fertile soil” for constant evolution. In organizations, self-organization is the contrary of control. It is the essential condition to foster innovation and adaptability.
- Leadership: leadership is about helping others to find their purpose; is about visioning; is about unleashing the true potential of every human being; is about creating the conditions that allow the emergence of self-organization.
- Diversity: different life experiences and knowledge, multiple point of views, and diverse ideas are the source of collective intelligence.
- People aligned, full of energy and fully committed.
- Accountable people that make decisions and take leadership, i.e. people that make things happen.
- Self-organization fosters conditions for high performance: adaptability, participation, contribution, self-management, autonomy, initiative, and responsibility.
- Real great places to work.
- We need to change definitively the prevailing management premises.
- Open space to participation. The solution of the complex challenges that businesses are facing nowadays is only possible with the participation of everybody that are willingly to take care of them.
- Business schools need to evolve. These institutions are still attached to the organizational model of early 20th century. Business schools need to shift their focus in order to be relevant in the future.
- We need leaders capable to define new ways to do business, more sustainable and more rewarding for people.
- We need corporations centered in making this world better for all. Making money should be a consequence and not the raison d’ être of business.
- Create work conditions that facilitate the emergence of the following behaviors: initiative, contribution, empowerment, accountability and creativity.
- Change your mind. Do not hesitate to break the paradigms that are still ruling business and organizations; most of them are useless or harmful in our time.
- Define a cause that really matters and use it as the corporate compass; it is the starting point for “leadership everywhere”. Hence, the definition of the strategic fundamentals (vision, mission, values and core competence) should be a very important and participative exercise. The organizational cause should be expressed in the strategic fundamentals.
- Align personal purpose and company’s cause.
- Implement a leadership style that propitiates the new organizational principles.
- Treat people like humans not like mechanisms.
- Adopt in your working routine participatory methodologies and their principles like Open Space, World Café, circles of conversation, etc.