05.2012 - Leadership Mindsets:  The Incoming Generation

The incoming generation of leaders is likely to follow a new set of guiding principles -- inspired in part by their internet experience.  It's worth considering how what works on the web may influence changes in leadership practices.

Gary Hamel provides a provocative list of potential internet impacts on the leadership mindsets about how to create marketplace value.

What if:

  • All ideas competed on an equal footing?
  • Credentials didn't matter, only the quality of your contributions?
  • Leaders served rather than presided?
  • People choose the tasks they felt were worth working on rather than being assigned them?
  • Power was infinite and couldn't be hoarded?

For Hamel, leaders beliefs must focus on stewardship, large social interests, long-term prudence and intended and unintended consequences.  So, where can we turn to find examples of organizations doing it differently?   W.L. Gore has been at it for decades, turning conventional wisdom about "good" management on its head. 

Newer companies led by the incoming generation are also turning old practices on their heads.  At VT's Corporate Research Center, you can find many leaders who are creating marketplace value through new leadership/management practices that emphasize openness, learning, speed, partnership, collaboration and innovation.

 Our legacy institutions -- libraries, banks, car manufacturers, etc. -- have all had to embark on a sea change of leadership practices.  And, no doubt, there's more change ahead.  And perhaps, just perhaps, the lessons of the web will help us adapt our leadership practices to create greater good.

Reference:  Gary Hamel (2012) What Matters Now?