John Dew OBE: “I am delighted to launch the first of a series of “Invited Expert - Guest Blogs”. Our aim is that we showcase some World-class international expertise and cutting-edge thinking on the subject of 21st Century Transformational Change.
Our first guest is Rod Collins: Leading American Change Guru, highly successful Author, Speaker and generally great Guy to be around! He runs his own company Wiki-Management an innovative consulting company that helps visionary business leaders manage complexity by leveraging the power of their collective knowledge. He is the former Chief Operating Executive (COE) of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program. As the COE at the $19 billion business alliance, he led by example and inspired those around him, pioneering innovative management that ended over 20 years of low performance and growth.
I met Rod in Washington DC last year at an event that sought to “revolutionise the workplace!” It was very clear to me that Rod is operating at the vanguard of the transformational agenda. He spoke with passion, experience, immense business acumen and incisive sharpness. For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I am not easily impressed…. I hold Rod and his leading-edge thinking in very high regard and consider it a real privilege to be able to highlight his contribution and his latest work.
Rod’s latest book “Leadership in a Wiki World” provides an essential insight into the future of management and leadership in the 21st Century workplace. It is a fascinating essential “must read” for all those who are leading large organisations and trying to handle complexity in an increasingly fast moving World”.
To increase your appetite further, here’s what Rod has to say about Collaborative Leaders:
The 5 Disciplines of Collaborative Leaders
In a recent survey of over 1500 chief executive officers, IBM reported that the rapid escalation of complexity is the biggest challenge confronting organizations, and more than half of CEOs doubt their ability to manage it. Given that nine out of ten organizations fail to execute their strategies, it’s no wonder that CEOs are very worried about whether or not they have the wherewithal to manage in an increasingly complex world.
However, there are enterprises, such as Amazon, Google, Linux, W.L, Gore & Associates, Wikipedia and Zappos. who aren’t concerned about the twin challenges of increasing change and complexity. That’s because they know that the key to mastering change and complexity is to create agile collaborative networks, not slow-moving bureaucratic hierarchies.
We are at a unique point in history as we find ourselves catapulted from the industrial world we knew so well and thrust into the very unfamiliar wiki world. We suddenly find ourselves in a new world with a completely different set of rules. We are at a tipping point in the evolution of management where traditional executives find themselves in an unprecedented business reality for which most are totally unprepared. In this new world, digital technology has made networks far smarter and far faster than hierarchies, and has consequently created a deep management crisis as these traditional executives stubbornly persist in trying to use a 19th century management model to tackle 21st century problems. It can’t be done.
Managing innovation is now the central business issue across all industries. The new economy of wiki world is all about change – continuous unrelenting change. If business leaders want to survive the current management crisis and learn to successfully manage at the new pace of change, they will need to do an extreme management makeover and redesign their organizational architecture around the set of principles used by successful businesses that are mastering the twin challenges of change and complexity. We call these principles The 5 Disciplines of Collaborative Leaders:
1. Understand What’s Most Important to Customers. The best companies are customer-centric; they build their strategies around what matters most to customers and design their processes to give delighting customers priority over pleasing bosses.
2. Build Shared Understanding by Bringing Everyone Together in Open Conversations. Companies that successfully manage at the pace of accelerating change have innovative processes that enable them to effectively integrate diverse points of view and reach agreements on their disagreements.
3. Aggregate and Leverage Collective Knowledge. In a knowledge economy, organizations are fundamentally intelligence systems. Today’s most intelligent organizations no longer leverage individual intelligence by constructing bureaucratic hierarchies; they build collaborative networks to leverage their collective intelligence because they understand that nobody is smarter and faster than everybody.
4. Focus on the Critical Few Performance Drivers. The most effective leaders know that management is about creating the future. And when they are good at creating the future, they never have to explain the past. That’s why smart leaders don’t focus on outcome measures; they focus on the leading indicators that drive the outcomes.
5. Hold People Accountable to Their Peers. The secret to mastering the unprecedented combination of accelerating change and escalating complexity is to make sure that no one in the organization has the authority to kill a good idea or keep a bad idea alive. In the best businesses, leaders aren’t bosses; they’re catalysts and facilitators orchestrating collaborative networks. These networks are far smarter and faster than hierarchies because holding people accountable to their peers is the great enabler of the collaboration necessary for speed and innovation.
These five disciplines are the foundation for successfully mastering the change, chaos, and complexity that shape the unprecedented business realities of the 21st century wiki world. They are also the secrets to creating extraordinary performance for those leaders who are willing to accept that we are now living and working in a completely new world with a completely different set of rules.