(alt) Leadership

For years, I’ve promoted the notion that there have to be better business structures than the status quo of traditional corporation. I don’t have a problem with capitalism or corporations per se – there has historically been a lot of value in those approaches and structures.

But note the key word there: historically.

Everything we see around us – every product, system, and approach – was designed for a past need. Does this mean we need to embrace all of these things for our present and our future? No. I don’t accept that.

I believe in high-quality, focused collaborative human networks as a superior way to unleash individual talent, find needed resources, refer targeted business, and grow professionals without the unnecessary superstructure of a hierarchical corporation (I call this approach the “co-operation”). I don’t just believe in it; in my business, I practice it.

Others are creating new alternatives, including this extremely interesting employee-ownership approach by John Lewis Partnership in the UK.

So, instead of a single-source view of leadership that involves scarcity, competition, and climbing a hierarchical ladder, we need to consider new approaches to business that will involve new (alt) leadership styles. What will they be?

That will be the subject of our discussion this coming Tuesday (April 24) during #LeadershipChat, 8 pm ET on Twitter. It is important that we not only question legacy approaches to leadership, but as Lisa Petrilli does here in her post, begin to prime the next generation with the tools to move forward based on new assumptions. See you on Tuesday night for The Fastest Hour on the Internet!

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Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Leaders and their Flagrant Fouls

>> How to Gain Influence – the hard way

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

5 Responses to (alt) Leadership

  1. Pingback: April Topics « Leadership Chat

  2. I’m reminded of Peter Drucker’s quip: he loved free enterprise, but he wasn’t so sure about capitalism.

    A friend of mine recently pointed out a subschool of thought in Organization Development called Appreciative Inquiry. Its theoretical roots seem suspect to me (postmodernist), but theory seldom survives intact when it comes into contact with practice anyway and they now have over two decades of practice under their belts. The essence of the technique: focus people on positive visions of the future of the organization.

    One of the more interesting scholars in this area is Gervase Bushe. In one of his papers, he says that Appreciative Inquiry requires good leadership, but also a “hands off, let ‘em take the lead” approach after the idea-generation phases. Make sure they know what *not* to do, but everyone has permission to try anything else.

    http://www.gervasebushe.ca/AI_pos.pdf

    This squares with my belief that leadership is *orthogonal* to management. That is, there’s a leading edge in every healthy organization that goes from top to bottom. Everyone else is simply reacting, either to external events or to leader initiatives. That’s not necessarily bad: like individuals, organizations are what they habitually do. And the stakeholders require constant and competent exercise of (most of) those habits. Leadership isn’t for everyone. Maybe it shouldn’t be. But as soon as you’re reacting only to external events and to perpetual internal conflicts, your organization is on its way to zombiehood. It might take a while to get there, but soon it will be among the walking dead.

  3. Pingback: 4 Leadership Styles to Master « The Intuitive Group, Inc. on Personal Growth & Leadership

  4. Pingback: Competition in Leadership « Connection Agent

  5. Pingback: Chicago-style Leadership « Connection Agent

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