It Takes Courageous Leaders to Upgrade Their Whole Company
This topic strikes at the heart of my passion. Please indulge me with some background before I come to the point. I guarantee it will be worth it.
The most important thing I learned as a parent is that you have to get two things right. You can screw just about everything else up and you will produce a fairly well-adjusted adult.
Love your children unconditionally (and make sure they know it)
Keep their self-esteem intact
This second one is hard. Many of us carry the burden of the bad parenting we received and it’s easy to inadvertently take this out on our own children. The result is usually a child who questions their value in the world.
One sad manifestation of the ensuing ego problems is called pathological narcissistic disorder (or just pathological narcissism). Ironically, psychologists say this is one of the most treatable disorders out there, but the vast majority of people who suffer from it are not self-aware and would never admit that they need help. Think Donald Trump if you’re looking for a classic case.
I have worked with hundreds of leaders over the course of my career and many of the leaders I have known either suffer from a full on pathology or at least have somewhat of an inflated ego. Some might even make the case that an oversized ego is healthy for a leader. That may have been true in a command-and-control culture.
There are various reasons why someone wants to become a leader, but the most compelling turns out to be management of an ego that isn’t satisfied serving the needs of others. By compelling, I mean being individually compelled to seek out the ability to control one’s environment.
If I haven’t bruised your ego enough for you to have bailed already…
…now, I will come to the point.
The idea behind organizational agility is a simple one: fully engage the minds of everyone in the entire organization in service to increasing customer value. As you can imagine, bringing to bear the diversity and creativity of so many people with their different skill sets on a common set of goals is a very powerful thing. It is far more powerful than a few people, likely with over-inflated egos (and thereby over-inflated valuation of their opinions) deciding for everyone else.
For organizations with the proper leadership and the will to make the necessary changes over time, agility has demonstrated an almost insurmountable advantage. Think Google. Think Spotify. These companies totally dominate their markets. Even Google’s music service can’t dominate Spotify and they have the advantage of having all the music uploaded to YouTube at their disposal.
Since Henry Ford brought structure to businesses that had been heretofore craft trades, there has never been a foundational change of this magnitude. I can only imagine how it felt for a business practicing their trade the old way in the face of what Ford was doing. It became apparent to everyone relatively quickly that survivors would need to adapt. Here we go again!
Add the power of generative AI to the mix of resources at everyone’s disposal and things get a whole lot dicier for command-and-control companies that choose to stay the course. We’re talking about a force multiplier for every empowered person in the organization. The mind boggles.
Know that unlike the other business evolutions that have taken place in your lifetime, this one will require you to be all in for the ride. You can’t command it and watch it unfold. Like King Arthur, you’ll need to be able to lead from the rear. That may sound scary. I encourage you to embrace the fear and plunge ahead…or be left behind.
Special Note: you may think that you are encouraging opinions and “listening” to everyone. That’s not it! This is something else altogether.
Here’s my challenge. If you are a leader who is curious about the change afoot, reach out to me to have a chat. Pick my brain about this and see where it leads you. As always, there’s no fees, no obligations, and no pressure.