New Organizations, Leadership and Collaboration: an Emerging Field
New organizations, leadership and collaboration are the three main topics of the upcoming Berlin Change Days conference. Leadership and collaboration have brought us to where we are today – and they continue to evolve as mankind develops itself further. The old-style leader knew better than the others, felt that he or she deserved more, and decided more – only sometimes consulting with their subordinates. Old-style leaders could be isolated at the top of that pyramid, enjoying the room with the view and the vision but setting themselves apart. Most leaders have left their strictly private rooms by now.
They’ve descended to the shop floors, meeting the others in the hallways and gathering diverse views and more connection and respect. Some leaders cherish ideals such as servant leadership – respecting and supporting the professionals they lead. Professionals have emancipated themselves –they take ownership of their work and their right to participate. More leaders try to let go of rigid control, and other ego-driven responses (out of fear, anger, grief). Leaders are allowed to be human, and are respected for their role as unifying facilitators while holding the collective purpose and space – if they do this well.
“There was a leadership style before care giving; supportive leadership. It developed in the U.S. ten years ago. Then, the role of the leaders was to support their employees. In my experience it was not enough: the focus was on the leader being the actor. That has changed: everyone is an actor; an owner of the situation. And the leader is not the only facilitator or change agent. He creates and he holds this space. If this works well, it is a space of trust and of good communication.”
Klaus Hohr in the Berlin Change issue of Leadership & Change Magazine.
Speedy, fuzzy, spaces and wholeness
The space is becoming more open, more equal, collaborative. Modern professionals take themselves and their work more seriously. They strive for mastery, autonomy and purpose in their work to fully contribute and thrive. Collaboration has become more important in this open space filled with confident, accountable professionals. With the increasing speed and disruptive nature of change, with augmenting complexity and interconnectedness, with fuzzy environments – we cannot wait for orders and blame it on the boss who knows best. We need to respond flexibly so we need to collaborate more intensely than in the old days. Together, we are the collective eyes, ears, brains, heart and hands of the organization. We need to move together like a swarm, or a field.
Eugenio Molini, on Intentional Transformation in Fuzzy Systems: “With “transformation” I mean change that goes further than the linear and even systemic way of thinking. We need to work with the field theory approach. Intentional transformation is not possible in a systemic way of thinking. Fuzzy systems are in contrast with well-defined systems like organizations: you never know where they begin and end and no one is in control.”
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The fixed boundaries of the organizational chart and its cubicles and silos are long passé. (The same counts for the limits of countries, things, stereotypes, religions, truths and whatnot)
Speedy, fuzzy, wholeness is our new reality. We have arrived in a fascinating era of planetary development – being challenged to develop ourselves to deal with our world as it emerges. Let go of old labels, ideas, mindsets and behaviors. Take a leap of faith into the future... it’s about time. Just in time, hopefully.
Information & Energy in new organizations
New organizations fascinate me. Organizations create the playing field, the context in which leadership and collaboration take place. They set the rules of the game, and create positions and expectations. Formulated as “new organizations”, the topic implies that radical renewal is necessary in the way we organize ourselves at work. It’s calling for a revolution, instead of organically developing itself as our leadership and collaboration may have done over the past decades.
Organizations are the operating system of work – setting boundaries – and they tend to become “fixed things” in our minds. They have to do with structures, comprised of parts, and regulate the interactions or procedures between those parts, holding the whole structure together. Energy and information are either hindered or stimulated by this operating system – while their flow defines the field of the organization, in which leadership and collaboration either flourish or wither.
We need to design new operating systems in one go, because doing things partly or half-hearted, will create confusion and stagnation of information and energy – the life stream of people and organizations.
But it’s not just new organizations. It’s also about bringing to work WHO we really are. As Daryl Conner wonders: how come some consultants go through the motions, but they don’t effect real change? “I began to separate what we do from who we are. At first I thought it was our presence making the difference. But later, I found that a key differentiator was whether that presence was an authentic expression of character or not. I think of character as the essence of who we really are. Presence is the expression of character. It’s the way we bring ourselves forward. The combination of character and presence in front of the right client who values that package - is the sweet spot.”
It’s matters WHO we are, maybe even more than WHAT we do and HOW we do it. Are you ready to read more?
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co-founder of Leadership & Change Magazine and OCAI online