Leading in the New, Wild, Wild West

To say the least, things have changed. The economy’s changed, the government’s changed, there is upheaval, transition, and revolution all over the place.  Leadership is also changing.  It’s what the pundits call a “seachange.”

Leadership has to change because leadership is always about the context in which you lead.  It’s not just how you lead, it’s who you lead and how these people experience the real world.  And the brave new world doesn’t look anything like the world of even ten years ago. Here’s how it’s changed.

We live in a brand new wireless world.  We have wireless devices.  I’ve had my iPhone since 2007.  I can’t imagine the world without it.  Not only can I email, but I can buy movies, songs, surf, do almost anything from that small screen.  My iPad is wireless.  My computer is wireless.  There are wireless devices everywhere. What does that mean?  It means that we’re cut loose from locations.  Work can be everywhere. Leadership is done in this world where people do not have to come to a certain place.

It’s also a wall-less world, a world in which people can work from their home and not be forced to face traffic.  I feel sorry for people whose careers are wrapped up in big office buildings.  This new way of working means that every place is a work place. Every space is an environment in which our creativity can flourish.  If your home office isn’t conducive to creativity, you can go to Starbucks or Panera Bread, or a thousand other locations for free wireless (get it?) wireless connection.  So basically we’re no longer compartmentalized.  And that’s the key to the “seachange.”

It’s also a worn-out world in which we lead.  Which means that with all the wireless and wall-less benefits, the downside is that people are bombarded with messages and choices.  The clutter quotient for most people these days is off the charts.

So the question is, “How do you lead in this new world without the centralized benefit of command and control?”  The key to it is inspire and influence. Which means if people are doing what they love for a cause they deeply believe in, and for rewards that they emotionally want, they will work harder and do more without the watching eye of the boss.

The time-clock is dead.  Limitations are gone.  The gatekeeper can no longer lock us out.  It’s a new wireless, wall-less worn-out world.  It’s kind of like the Old West.  It’s a new territory.  It’s a territory for pioneers and brave souls; not those who, with old school MBA’s, try and perpetuate the old world just a little while longer.

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