Innovating Leadership

by Jay Deragon on 08/02/2012

Business as usual produced powerful business leaders who bowed to stock market pressure in return for personal gain. They lost sight of their True North and put their companies at risk by focusing on the trappings and spoils of leadership instead of building their organisations for the long term.

The result of business as usual was a severing of trust with employees, customers, and shareholders. … today trust is everything.

Business as usual produced management as usual. Management as usual is about self preservation, not upsetting the status quo and maintaining control over people and processes. The problem is today management is out, upsetting the status quo is in and people have always been in control of the process even when management tried to tamper.  Management follows leadership so we need to innovate leadership so management will follow.

Unusual Leadership

Steve Denning writes in Forbes: The Key Missing Ingredient In Leadership TodayMost leadership writing today advises us on how to prosper within the system or perhaps even on flourishing despite of the system. What’s missing? Real leadership is about transforming the system.

Leadership needs to take the next and necessary step and ask: what would be involved in transforming these hierarchical bureaucracies into agile organizations in which excellence is celebrated and where the people at the top are the most creative and the most imaginative?

To do so, we need to get beyond thinking about leadership as merely making better individuals. That’s because systems are stronger than individuals. Having better individual leaders won’t do much for the crisis in leadership.

Systemic Change: Too little Too late

It’s not that we don’t have people thinking systemically. The problem is that the thinking often comes too late to have any impact. Most leaders today do not think in terms of radical systemic change rather they are still indoctrinated to incremental change models of the 1990’s.

Leadership thinking needs to raise its game. Leaders need to be showing the way towards a different way of running organizations. It’s not enough to get things done within the system or despite the system. We need to transform the system. We need in effect to reinvent how and what we think about management, leadership and organizational design. In order to change how an organization thinks leaders have to change how they think.

A Radical Change In Leadership Thinking

The 21st Century leader who will transform industries, organizations, markets and provide meaning to people will lead the change in thinking

  1. Their thinking is always on the edge of transformation
  2. They are more concerned with creating radical improvement for the many rather than satisfying the few
  3. They perpetuate change by giving people knowledge and power to change anything and everything
  4. They eliminate management processes and empower self management
  5. The are driven by compass that always points True North

Tomorrow’s leaders will transform business as usual and create mass adoption of unusual business models.

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