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Bruce Holland

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Leadership Without All The Answers

Peter Drucker, who usually got it right before anyone else, said:

"The root cause of nearly every business crisis is not that things are being done poorly. It is not even that the wrong things are being done. But rather because the assumptions on which the organisation has been built and is being run no longer fit reality."

The best leaders are seekers of truth, but what is truth? As the Indian saying goes:

"What you learn is a handful but what you do not know can fill the world."

Leaders Seek Truth

The best leaders know that we don't know very much about the world we live in. If we were drawing a pie chart, there would be a small slice that represents "what we know." There would be a larger but still small slice that represents "what we know we don't know." And there would be an enormous slice, making up most of the pie chart, that represents "what we don't know we don't know."

Best leaders know that the current business model, now more than 100 years old, is badly flawed. It is based on a number of fallacies disproved by recent discoveries in science.

Fallacies and Truths

In the table below I am somewhat reluctant to use to use the word truths, however, I am sure they are a more useful way of viewing the world and accord more closely with the way science tells us the world works. Some of these fallacies and their corresponding "truths" include:

FALLACYTRUTH (according to science)
Workplaces are based on mechanicsWorkplaces are based on organics
Organisations are hierarchies based on silos and organisational chartsOrganisations are closely networked living systems of relationships
People can't be trustedPeople can be trusted if you trust them
People need to be controlledPeople need to be free
Control leads to more orderControl leads to less order
Topdown management is the natural orderTopdown and bottom-up is natural
People are separate from each otherPeople are far more closely connected than most people believe
Thinking is about straight line logic and cause and affectThinking is about systems thinking, feedback loops, time lags and unintentional consequences
Straight lines are assumed for organisational structureNatural shapes like spirals, bags, trees and curved lines are a better description for organisational structure
Products and services are pushed out to customersCustomers pull value from the organisation
Taking is the way to successGiving is the way to success
We live in a world of scarce resources.We live in a world of plenty, with unlimited knowledge, creativity, relationships, and inspiration.

Strange Behaviours

The old business model based on fallacies lead to strange behaviours that are destructive and unhealthy. The new business model leads to behaviours that are strengthening and life affirming. The main differences are:

Unnecessary internal competitionFar more collaboration
Top-heavy political powerLighter and more caring leadership
Lack of passion at the grass-rootsHigh energy at the grass-roots
Fear, control and isolationTrust, freedom and connectedness
60% of people disengaged100% of people engaged
People feel stuckPeople feel liberated
People feel less than humanPeople feel human
People feel abused.People feel trusted.

The best leaders don't pretend to know everything. Instead, they recognise that in an interconnected world, the most powerful ideas often come from the most unexpected places, and can't be planned, or predicted. Like nearly everything that is important in business, they have to be allowed to emerge. The leaders' main job is to create the conditions where this emergence is more likely to occur.

I call it, "liberating the human spirit at work" but I'd like to know what you think. Please send me your thoughts.

´┐╝Regards Bruce.
Bruce Holland
Virtual Group Business Consultants
Phone +6421620456 or Skype Bruce.Holland\\
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Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills.

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