Saturday, March 17, 2007
Leadership and Transforming the Modern Enterprise...
Do you think that the false assumption is centered around the notion that if people understand, they will do? Most of us understand, we just don't do. I understand that losing weight would be great for my health, yet I haven't done much to change my condition. What if we were to start acknowledging certain truths?
Many executives believe their organization operate with strict down the chain of command efficiency where in a perfect world, every command is not only obeyed, but obeyed precisely and promptly, almost as if it were a fait accompli. No followup is required and all that remains is to check the box.
Do executives fathom that orders may not be followed? Do they recognize this as a form of egotistical behavior? Maybe they should stop reading CIO magazine and all those wonderful best practices and instead rewind the clock to 1998 when Fast Company magazine declared that the days of the organization man is dead.
The article had an interesting thesis which stated that the best performers in a company were no longer interested in sacrificing their lives for the good of the organization. The smart one believed that their organizations would drop them in a flash when they no longer met company's needs, so they in turn were willing to drop the company when it no longer met their needs.
The era of the free agent is viral and part of transforming an enterprise has to recognize that the notion of a wheel in a cog is incredibly dated. Leadership requires kidnapping prejudices such as harboring inflexable, intolerant beleifs about a group of people that do not coincide with reality or how that group sees itself.
Managing perception is important but leaders haven't yet asked themselves an important question as to the importance or lack of free agents and how they are perceived. Reality says that free agents know exactly what they want. Likewise, they equally no what doesn't matter to them.
For a minute, I was jealous of many of my industry peers who got six figure bonuses but realized that money isn't what drives me and therefore even if I did receive such a large bonus, it may cause me to take my eye off the ball. I guess at some level, I wonder if the assumption that if you pay folks top dollar, that you will get top performance and loyalty in return still holds true?
The funny thing about leadership within IT is that a paradox exists in that the economic value of an IT employees experience falls rather than rises in the course of their career. The shelf life of a knowledge worker, especially technical knowledge is continously shrinking. Wise IT employees understand that by moving on to new challenges provides them with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and let them outpace the shrinking value of their experience. This has a positive side effect in that it may even result in more money but definetely have more satisfaction.
Pay for performance is today's mantra yet the logic behind it is fundamentally flawed. Modern leadership is still based on lessons of the past yet how come many can repeat the phrase: past performance is no guarantee of future results yet won't apply it to their own thinking. Maybe a continued discussion the blogosphere is in order. If some of the best and brightest thing about this for a minute, we may come up with a new set of values that are more sustaining and benefit not only the enterprise but humanity at large. The real question is whether you as an individual want to contribute to making things better or would rather sit on the sidelines as a casual observer...
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