My good friend Bill has a point…

July 8th, 2010

If you read my blog through one of the many ways we distribute, you probably read my good friend Bill Tietjen’s comments about remote control leadership. Bill and I get together several times a year to “wax philosophical” on career systems and business models and what works in today’s fast paced, unique business climate.

To quote Bill, “Remote control leadership can (and should) be complemented by a “remote control followership” in which all parties demonstrate and refine the same set of principles that have been outlined.”

My challenge to all of us who engage in organizational/entrepreneurial endeavors – How do we make such a tidal wave shift to a culture where “leadership is EVERYONE’s responsibilty”?

Our first common belief is that traditional career systems are dead. We are all not going to work for one company and have one job. We will all have many, as many as seven or more different jobs over our work life times.

Secondly, that the old military style of organized business where information flows from the top through the chain of command out to the troops and from the troops back to the top is less appealing today. Frankly not productive at the employee level. This model is inflexible, slow, and not likely to generate innovation and or create an environment of extreme customer service. To many this is still a common notion today because many leaders and most employees don’t know how to change. For the employee, they probably need to find a culturally based company. There are a few and they are worth finding. For leaders?

Leaders have a real challenge. Leaders who are worth their salt got to where they are by working hard and leveraging their natural strengths and learned leadership behaviors. Chances are most leaders did not learn to start or run their company utilizing the skills and or techniques that create an Outside-In culture or customer centered environment. This is the organization that is relatively flat, all are empowered, and information is shared across the business.

Innovation and speed come from empowerment. It also comes from earned trust that leaders gain through daily investments in the natural reinforcement of organizational priorities and by leading through the cultural values established for the business. But how do you make leadership everyone’s job? Seems like a daunting task, but it has been done. Have you ever been to a Ritz Carlton? Ever bought a Gore-Tex jacket? These are two organizations that are beacons of hope for making leadership everyone’s job.

The most important thing to do first? Leaders embed culture! Without your commitment as a leader to give leadership out to all, it will always fall short. And this must be in your words and actions!

Remote control followership. How do you do it? Where have you seen it?

Chris

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