I have had the privilege of working with many organisations on their relationship dynamics. There are multiple trends, best summed up by my favourite poet, Steve Turner, who said that history repeats itself, because no-one listens.
The Titanic infamously ignored multiple messages sent to her crew, continuing in her quest to make it in record time. Her passengers paid the penalty for their erroneous belief in an unsinkable ship – the Costa Concordia’s recent demise will confirm that folly.
More often, it seems, leaders ignore multiple warnings of danger, and persist in their pattern of being, as though change will not affect them. The harsh realities of the global playing field are such that outsourcing to India or China is commonplace, and the trend will only increase. The nature of business is ever more collaborative – developers on O-desk, entrepreneurs on Springwise, Silicon Cape or Biznetwork. Where will it end? It won’t. Rather, the era of “Lone Ranger” business is in decline, and leaders need to equip themselves with the future skills to lead “transformatively”, being assertive and visionary, yet collaborative and inclusive. The necessary skills are not natural any more, either, as electronic communication dominates the landscape and thumbs rule the inner space. Leadership education needs to equip leaders with the soft skills to not just do their work, but inspire, empower, encourage and lead (i.e. pull, not push)their teams. Performance appraisals are not mechanical sessions around a document, but rather an opportunity to give and receive vital feedback, changing course appropriately.
On the 14th of April, 2012, it will be 100 years since Titanic sunk. Let it not be the year that your team does the same.