Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prof Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Wow - what an amazing session with a brilliant woman! Prof Kanter is one of the 50 most powerful women in the world and she has some incredible insights to share. Our whole team attended her seminar this week in Sydney and here is a summary of some of the highlights of what she said:

Vanguard leaders for the 21st Century stay ahead of the pack by super-charging their teams through a strong culture that encourages innovation, collaboration and high standards of performance, with an eye on society and the greater good. They anticipate change and create the change - they are not followers.
Leaders shape the culture of the organisation - when the culture works well, it is possible for you and the people you work with to do larger than life things.

Through Prof Kanter's research into what differentiates those companies that out-perform their sectors, she uncovered that they use the idea of serving society as part and parcel of their business strategy - this includes serving shareholders and financial interests. These organisations have a culture of collaboration and have large extended networks in their eco-system.

Vanguard leadership is a response to the turbulence we constantly have facing us - it is a world of what Prof Kanter describes as VUCA. It is filled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. It turns our assumptions about things upside down.

The most important thing that an organisation can have as its bedrock in a world of VUCA is its purpose, values and principles. The core of what a leader does is to support the P-V-P. It needs to be well articulated and not simply words on a wall - "it is not about the words; it is about the conversations."

Even if you are not in a management role, don't wait for the senior leadership to do something. Change things from the middle. Start different conversations. Get book clubs started and cross-company social events. Link everything back to the organisation's common guidance system.

Adopt the 5 F's of leadership -

It is not a question any longer of thinking outside of the square. Prof Kanter says that we need to think "outside of the building"! We need to continue to seek opportunities that enrich things inside. What inspiring words!!