Defining Leadership

21st Century Leadership Empowers Leaders at Every Level

Wayne Messick asked:

Historically a new-hire moved from learning the required tasks of their particular job to eventually understanding the goals, strengths, and weaknesses of the business in an orderly way – often having as much to do with their getting older as with their getting better, smarter, or more capable.

They were then promoted from actually doing the work as a productive part of the organization, to supervising others who are on their way up.

Much later, if the politics of birth, etc. were right, he moved from telling selected people what to do, to the head of the business where he now taught what he knew to the people who were telling the others what to do.

That went on until it was time or past time for him to be let out to pasture.

That was then, “Doing it Right” is now and the future.

“Doing it Right” is based on the principles of right action, the right people doing the right things in the right way and for the right reasons.

For instance, in 2006 a new-hire may know as much or more about the right way as the old man.

The right way to do things is only the right way if it results in pushing us in the right direction.

The old man has valuable insights the new-hire needs to understand, sooner rather than later, about what really is the right direction. And the people in the middle add value to those below and above them.

Contributions to future success come from all levels of the enterprise – and its not just the boys any more.

The problem in many companies is that everyone has their picture of the right ways, the right directions, and the right reasons. They assume their picture is what everyone else is seeing.

A few years ago there was a lot ink dedicated to the revolutionary idea of the “flattened hierarchy” style of management, where bureaucratic organizations were eliminating some if not most of the levels within their organization.

The idea was to get ideas, strategies, etc. from the top to the very bottom in 2-3 steps. This was supposed to enhance communications, efficiencies, innovations, etc. This was so obvious. What was the big deal?

The vast majority of all businesses already had that sort of organization in place. And they were not any better at doing things right. Just because they did not have the money to have more levels of management did not mean they were more productive.

Today companies are successful not because of their organization charts but because of an internal attitude that supports the principles of doing it right.

The 21st Century version of the flattened hierarchy is to empower individuals wherever they are in the organization to step outside their defined boxes and contribute.

It is about an atmosphere of learning, doing, and teaching simultaneously by everyone to everyone for the benefit of everyone.

When the machine operators, supervisors, managers, and owner/operators (you fill in your job descriptions) effortlessly pass information and respect up, down, across, and around the organization, they’ve got it.

If a new-hire thinks they know best about how things should be done, they should be taught why, in terms of the organizations mission to help them confirm to themselves and others that their idea are valid.

Or to teach them more about the direction we are headed to make sure their how will actually take them that way.

The old man needs to know what to look for when putting on more new hires and promoting more people into the roles of a successful 21st Century company.

The more he knows about what is really going on out there on the floor, in the community, and the industry, the better choices he can make.

The people in the middle, the supervisors and team leaders, traditionally being pushed from one direction and pulled from the other, need to learn how to effectively turn this pressure into steam that drives the organization.

So, what is my point? Well it is not your dads or granddads business environment any more. And if that is true how can everyone contribute as team members, cooperate as team players, to create a winning team?

First an atmosphere free of traditional labor vs management must be present. In the 21st Century long-term interdependent relationships based on this old model will not survive.

There is more external competition than we can stand already, we do not need it inside the organization too.

Second the people at the top must admit that they do not know everything and that just because their partner’s daughter is twenty three and has been there four months, does not mean she doesn’t have excellent/valid input into the way things ought to be.

Third everybody else must admit that just because the boss is old (55+) does not mean he “just doesn’t get it” and that he will “never change.” Both groups have so much to offer the team and being able to offer it without fear of criticism is mandatory.

And finally there should be a structured way of systematically reinforcing the right actions we understand, learning the ones we don’t, and communicating them within the organization.

Human nature keeps drawing us back to where we are comfortable, so we need a continual push until the new place is more comfortable than the old.

The introduction and reinforcement of right action strategies is the purpose of “Doing it Right,Realizing Your Company’s Potential.”

It dovetails with existing task oriented training to provide the framework for overall actions.

It provides a context for sponsoring organizations, trade associations for example, to better serve their constituencies by providing a framework around their existing educational programs.

The principles of right actions are vital for you personal and business success “Doing it Right” may offer you the best way to establish and maintain those right actions.

And now, its content is available online at no charge. There will be no more excuses for not doing it right.

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