We live in a world that is in transition.
One of the most significant transitions that we are experiencing is in the nature of leadership.
It used to be that leadership was reserved for the person who was the head of an organization. We knew who the leader was because he or she had a title that defined their role as the leader of the organization.
Since there are only a few leaders, it means everyone else is a follower.
The Relationship between Leaders and Followers is Changing
The relation between leading and following is in transition.
It once was true that great leaders had great followers. However, over time, as the world has changed, we are far more aware of what our leaders are really like. The issue for the follower is ‘Do I trust the leader?’. For leaders, the question is ‘Do I respect the follower?’
Entering a world that is dramatically different than my own, as I did in going to Africa, things stand out. Traveling in the rural areas, seeing motorbikes used to haul goods. Harvested agriculture products spread on the ground beside the highway ready to be loaded to be taken to market. People living in extreme poverty. Visiting a hundred-year-old man, who was homeless because he had outlived his family, showed me the power of local communities to mitigate the effects of poverty. Through these experiences, and more, the Two Global Forces took on a deeper, richer meaning.
Failure is a way of life for many people. They try hard to succeed. But for some reason they never do.
Is their problem one of execution, of planning, of expectation, of personality or timing? Or is it a combination of all of them?
I’ve thought a lot about this over the years. In addition to the above, other factors play into what constitutes success.
There is the question of focus, of application of talent to real needs, of competence in performance, of commitment for preparation and for follow-through. Then there is the question of self-confidence.
See, all those conditions factor into success and failure. Yet, all those could be at the top-of-their-game, and still, success eludes us. The question is whether our conception of success is sufficient for the world we live in. I am increasingly convinced that we must look more deeply into these factors in order to define impact as the measure of success.
Taking the initiative to start a conversation with someone gives us the opportunity to broaden our sense of what is happening in the world. This is what I do every day. From this learn how people are experiencing the transitions that we all face.
The Two Global Forces describe a transition that is unprecedented in human history. The transition is from hierarchy to networks. It is emerging through two developments. The obvious one is how personal technology provides people the capacity for independent action like never before. The second is a growing awareness of a detrimental impact that organizational hierarchy is increasingly having upon human experience.
The Hong Kong Moment
An illustration of this historic transition is taking place in Hong Kong. Protesters are daily demonstrating against the Chinese Communist government in Beijing over its treatment of Hong Kong’s citizens. The protesters represent a force of decentralization against the highly centralized government of China.