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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."
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.
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:
|FALLACY||TRUTH (according to science)|
|Workplaces are based on mechanics||Workplaces are based on organics|
|Organisations are hierarchies based on silos and organisational charts||Organisations are closely networked living systems of relationships|
|People can't be trusted||People can be trusted if you trust them|
|People need to be controlled||People need to be free|
|Control leads to more order||Control leads to less order|
|Topdown management is the natural order||Topdown and bottom-up is natural|
|People are separate from each other||People are far more closely connected than most people believe|
|Thinking is about straight line logic and cause and affect||Thinking is about systems thinking, feedback loops, time lags and unintentional consequences|
|Straight lines are assumed for organisational structure||Natural shapes like spirals, bags, trees and curved lines are a better description for organisational structure|
|Products and services are pushed out to customers||Customers pull value from the organisation|
|Taking is the way to success||Giving 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.|
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:
|FALLACIES LEAD TO||TRUTH LEADS TO|
|Unnecessary internal competition||Far more collaboration|
|Top-heavy political power||Lighter and more caring leadership|
|Lack of passion at the grass-roots||High energy at the grass-roots|
|Fear, control and isolation||Trust, freedom and connectedness|
|60% of people disengaged||100% of people engaged|
|People feel stuck||People feel liberated|
|People feel less than human||People 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.
Virtual Group Business Consultants
free phone: 0800 4 virtual or +644 570 0727 or Skype Bruce.Holland
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Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills.