Thoughts on not making things happen

In a conversation yesterday about revolutions the risk of a small, dominant group of thinkers simply replacing one leadership with another was raised. The very nature of the changes we are seeing brought about in society and organisational life by the impact of the web makes this sort of risk even more of a concern. If we are talking about distributed influence and universal access to the contribution and exchange of ideas any dominance by individuals or small groups is something to be worried about.

I am very conscious of the irony of raising this as a concern while on the point of having a book published by which process I am clearly seeking to have increased influence. I have always been fascinated by the challenge of helping things happen without being seen to make things happen. That fine balance between inspiration and direction. Phrases like “to rescue someone is to oppress them” occur to me on a daily basis. I guess what I am talking about is a new form of leadership. Leadership that involves and encourages rather than commands and controls.

The instinct to seek leaders is strong though and the temptation to succumb to this perceived need needs to be resisted.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on not making things happen

  1. Leadership that involves and encourages rather than commands and controls.I've often used the phrase "champion, channel and cultivate" to address the need to go beyond "command-and-control". As in champion ideas and initiatives, channel resources (to initiatives) and cultivate learning and action.I like catalysis also.

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  2. There are more definitions of leadership than there are of engagement (and that's saying something!). It is interesting that the ones that resonate and are recycled the most come from ancient Chinese philosophy (e.g. Catalysts, Encouragement and Involvement)But jump forward 27 centuries and the one that sums it up for me comes from the Christian Evangelist John Maxwell. "Leadership is Influence – nothing more, nothing less"Influence is another multifaceted concept and the web plays an increasingly important role in influencing society and enterprise. The web helps create new influencers (or leaders) – independent of status, power, wealth, politics, position. That doesn't make them better but it democratises their selection and therefore our acceptance of them.So move over I(ntellectual)Q and E(motional)Q – the leaders (influencers) of the future will require greater S(ocial)Q.Semple for President!

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