Digital Transformation is not a one-time event, but a continuous journey while learning more about the relationship between technology, human behavior and customer and organizational relevance.
In this world leadership arises not by formal appointment, but is earned through a powerful core mission, creative imagination and intuition, inspiration through direct experience, taking a stance, doing things without asking permission and being a role modelfor vital impact. MaRi Eagar
A Guide to Thrive and Prepare for the Digital Future
Creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, digital intelligence – these are all needed for the digital future
“The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility – these three forces are the nerve of education.” Rudolf Steiner (Did you know 75% of the children in Waldorf Schools n Silicon Valley are the kids of Tech Executives.)
Why we need to leave industrial age leadership models behind…
Viewed from a rational perspective, there is little benefit to the blockchain generation to continue current leadership and organizational models and approaches into the future.
- Current leadership and organizational models and practices are based on the industrial economy perspectives.
- Leadership development is a billion dollar industry with very poor returns (as evidence in the state of the world today)
- A highly competitive industry, there are high barriers to entry to new models and approaches
What got us here today, won’t get us there tomorrow…
Current leadership practices are based on industrial economy perspectives
This includes seeing the world as a well-oiled clock, ordered and predictable. Leaders from the industrial age organizations are equipped with tools and practices that reinforce their belief that they gain leadership by creating industrial age efficiency and productivity. As an objective clockmaker, their role is to fix problems by analyzing details in the machine and fixing things when they go wrong. Leadership in this world required the ability to maintain stasis in the organization.
According to the current organizational governance models the best way to deploy the goals of the organization is for a select group of people to design the future of the organization, then implement it through others, using a hierarchical, efficient scaling model, based on models of industrial psychology and leadership based on appointed authority.
Bonnitta Ray from APP Associates points out that such organizational designs therefore need to create direct-reports dependencies, which authorizes certain people to use disciplinary power over others to constrain their activities or leverage their motivations. She provides examples of these direct report structures as demonstrated in the image below:
A well known risk of these models are that they create tendencies towards the rise of populist leaders with authoritarian tendencies. Another risk is the consolidation of economic and ultimately political power which reduces systemic checks and balances and effectiveness of good governance. Ultimately this could result in comprehensive, systemic failure.
In contrast, the quantum world of the distributed digital economy is brought into the world through non-conformist edgewalkers who are able to code their way to new economic systems. Quoting Warren Buffet as a role model in a leadership workshop might result in open laughter.
Currently leadership development is a billion dollar industry with very poor returns (as evidence in the state of the world today) and no incentives to change
Executives around the globe complain about how little return they get for investing in leadership and organizational development. The industry experts conduct expensive research to find out how to improve the programs, but with little real visible positive change in the world. In addition, there are no standards, accountability or governance to determine if someone can become a leadership expert, or design and develop effective development.
It is relatively easy for someone to conduct research within established organizations, summarizing the traits of good leadership, which they distill in a leadership competency framework, complete with assessments and development programs based on very biased research and limited independent peer review. These means leadership role models are based on the traits of predominantly European men who still occupy most of the leadership roles in large enterprise.
For example, current leadership models and programs use the debunked Five Personalities assessment methods and other personality tests such as MBTI, to determine a person’s potential for leadership while research shows there is no link those and leadership (and organizational) success. Despite this, executives continue to spend billions across the globe in paying the growing cohort of leadership experts to conduct these assessments. in fact, it is impossible to find work as a leadership consultant without credentials in these tools.
The majority of leadership and organizational development experts are often very academic, with little real world experience in large organizations. Many of their models and practices are complex and layered and therefore require significant training with high certification and accreditation costs, making leadership and organizational development difficult to scale or adapt in the rapidly changing world as experienced by the token and blockchain generation.
Other cohorts of experts announce new models such as mindfulness but don’t always offer robust evidence that they work in the long run. In addition, these models often continue to build on the foundations of industrial age hierarchical models that are based on views that these are the only viable and superior solution to all other cultures and environments.
Most leadership and talent solution providers to large enterprise do not challenge their clients to investigate social power and other real dynamics that drive leadership and organizational behavior.
Don’t believe me – read what an executive of 20 years have to say about the leadership industry: “Hal o’Ween is a seasoned international executive who has more than 20 years’ experience in several industries. He has held senior leadership positions with blue-chip companies and business consultancies all over the globe—and is still hungry for more. Consequently, to protect his business interests, the author chose to publish his insights into what really makes you flourish in the corporate ecosystem under the alias “Hal o’Ween.” Download the first chapter for free on his website.
New (and disruptive) advancements in technology and culture are often dismissed and struggle to gain acceptance in this very established and highly competitive industry
With so much investment, new entrants have large obstacles to overcome to enter the market. From developing personal connections with executives, to developing valid use cases, to the fixed ideas about that leadership and leadership development should be, new practitioners also need to be published in large industry media and participate in large and expensive conferences controlled by industry bodies and experts.
Most new entrants are surprised at the market saturation, resulting in a highly competitive industry. Other barriers include executives and senior leaders refrain that “we don’t want to hear new concepts – we don’t have time to learn new ideas about leadership”. When new concepts are presented to them they easily complain that they find it too novel, or that they just want to have slight changes to their current programs.
In addition, business schools tend to not include the arts and culture or other diverse faculties into their offerings and even research. Most people therefore often forget about other industries outside of the business environment, for example cultural leadership models.
“We need to understand how leadership works in organizations rather than how leaders work on organizations… We also need to recognise that learning to lead is itself a social process rather than an individual event… and that the learning of leadership may be, as Aristotle implied, not just learning a body of theoretical knowledge – episteme – and not merely captured by replicable skills – techne – but rather something including practical wisdom – phronesis (Grint, 2007: 233)”
Current leadership development practice relies heavily on the use of models and theories, and the development of self‐awareness. Findings from neurosciences suggest that use of models and theories do not impact the regions of the brain required for behavioural change. They also suggest that self‐awareness, while an essential starting point, may not be enough. ” (Peter Hamill: Embodied leadership: towards a new way of developing leaders”, Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 Iss: 5, pp.5–10