• May 2015
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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Shape and sustain leadership
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
'Choose the Right Yardstick'
Find the new business model of leadership

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

In his recent article appearing in Forbes, Bill George, a Harvard Business School professor and former health-care CEO, commented on the seismic shift of leadership consciousness now emerging:

“I think we are going through a massive generational change in leadership. The great corporations in the 1950s and '60s were command-and-control organizations. With this new century that concept … has totally gone out because employees today are knowledge workers, they have options and they don’t stick around. Most importantly, they’re looking for meaning, not just money. I think today’s great leaders will know how to empower people … to step up and lead … aligning people to mission and values and … getting them to recognize that their job is to serve a certain customer first and not the shareholder.”

Let’s describe the leadership shift by contrasting two distinct paradigms. The old leadership paradigm operates with the fulcrum of short-term gain driven by profits. The new leadership paradigm’s fulcrum is sustainability driven by marketplace meaning. What’s the difference in the two? Each produces dynamic products and services benefiting customers and shareholders. But the new leadership model puts tremendous importance on the psychic income that today’s knowledge workers must experience in order to have skin in the game! And the skin is meaning!

Said differently, the old business model of leadership is Newtonian cause and effect; the new business model of leadership is Quantum cause and effect. The old organizational action is mechanical and functional; the new action is interconnective and relational. The old model is one where the mind of organizational leadership is limited to the few; the new organizational mind knows that leadership is held by the many.

Mission Integrity Action

Can today’s Boomers and Gen-X and Gen-Y leaders learn from each other about the new cause-and-effect business paradigm where money follows meaning? The Boomers have the most to learn, which makes them vulnerable simply because of the challenge of questioning what has always worked in the past! Therefore, the answer to the question suggests that no matter what generation your heritage is from in the 20th century, the 21st century organizational leader will place tremendous focus on sustainability through shared values and meaning. Where such conversations are absent in organizations, leaders beware of the peril of dinosaurs!

Russell Williams,
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge