The matrix in the power point below shows the evolution of leadership through recent time:
It shows how, changes in the socio-historico-economic environment, as well as in the tools we use to deal with that environment, have shaped leadership assumptions. These went from paternalistic to “Open Source”. Despite of years passing, we can still spot organizations which continue to run under the beliefs held under the paternalistic or content leadership from the past.
For us, the most impactful disruption is taking place in this new millennium through a revolutionary and still misunderstood paradigm shift: Information scarcity and its corollary, “Guessing the future” have been replaced almost overnight by today’s “connected world”, where information is at our fingertips making “Getting permanently ready” the name of the game. Visionary, Alvin Toffler used to claim: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.
What does this mean for leadership? Nothing less than a profound change of beliefs.
- Leaders must have the capacity to engage the intelligence, curiosity and passion of their whole organization, instead of demanding obedience and perfect execution
- Leaders must co-create clarity, ownership and meaning around the strategic intent rather than “powerpoint” their audiences to death, going for one way delivery
- Leaders must adopt an “organic” style (as opposed to the old “organizational” one): Shared sense of Purpose, freely flowing information and Relationship (as advocated by M. Wheatley).
- Leaders must be prepared to challenge their old strategic model (I own the content, this is my IP, I control its distribution) and understand how the “Open Source/Content for Free tsunami” will impact it. Values in society change at fast pace from “Egosystem to Ecosystem” as Gerd Leonhard claims
- Leaders must be able to create a wide and permanent engagement process in order to allow their large organizations to react faster to the many changes in the new “maze environment”
The Fundação Dom Cabral (Brazil’s and one of the world’s leading “Do Tank” www.fdc.org.br) has just invited fifteen of the country most famous and respected CEO’s to reflect on the future of leadership and these are the challenges they came up with, which we will gladly deepen in our next posts.
If you have any advice, reference, suggestions or speakers whom you believe could help our “Collective Learning Process”, we gratefully accept them. Have a good week all! On to Torino for a week of hard work…