Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Looking For Leaders

Rethinking organizations, re-inventing organizations, rejuvenating organizations is hard.  Stagnation is a natural order of life. Once it's gone through the high growth phase, and ossifies towards bureaucratic stagnation, finding the innovation often needed to keep a organization vital gets close to impossible. Instead of existing to produce innovative new products and services--the lifeblood that often launches a company or organization to begin with--it exists to maintain what it already has, and becomes unable to see what it needs. Management begins to exist to maintain the life of management, rather than overall health of the organization itself.
The talk, the desire, the need can all be around growth, innovative new product lines, services, but the psychology, the mindset of the organization actually fights to stifle that very need.
Status quo. Protecting turf within an organization. Ego. Fear of change (one of the most natural tendencies of human groups, aka herd mentality). The simple, very natural desire for order (also very natural). If you are a publicly traded company, the incentives of meeting quarterly numbers trumps the incentive of chartering long term strategic growth, innovation, the often tough adaptation to changing market and economic operating environments.

What can be one simple step for any organization to escape the gravity of status quo, bureaucratic stagnation? Look for leaders within. Look for revolutionaries. Develop a culture where pockets of change can take root.
Your organization is a living system. Every living system needs new growth to maintain its long term viability. In a forest, forest fires do this job. In oceans, tides and ocean currents do this job. It is the edge of chaos. This is where real innovation, real change, real adaptation to change happens.
In human organization, markets are the forest fires, the tides and ocean currents. Or revolutionary leaders and visionaries that already exist within your organization.

Every organization should be looking for leaders, for revolutionaries within. Those outside the status quo, those with something to say, an idea, a sense purpose that is outside the status quo, outside the the inner circles of management. Those are people that an organization wants to create an environment where that kind of spirit can take root. Not all, not many will flourish. All it takes is a few however. Along with a culture that can run with the ideas, the innovation these revolutionaries create.

All the tools that enables social media to flourish on the internet, those tools exist for your company, your corporation, your organization. Those tools, that technology likely already exists within your organization, the organization you work for. The question is is it being used to find the leaders that can spawn the ideas for new products, new services that can keep your organization with the vitality that can help it thrive through all the change the future is sure to bring.

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