Tuesday November 15, 2016 #844

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

~Colin Powell


This is a time of exceptional change, of long-held assumptions and “facts” being upended, and of unending real-time information access and bombardment.  Never have we known so much, have availability of even more data and inputs, and actually known so little.  What are we as leaders to do?  We can start by removing complexity and driving simplicity – and realize that the best people to do this are close to the action.  It is about enabling “leadership” at the front line.
The beginning of the answer lies in giving up the no longer true ideal of the all-knowing dominant leader.  Not even the most brilliant man or woman has the capacity to be fully up to speed on most, let alone all of the various factors that impact results today.  Today’s leader must instead provide a clear vision of desired outcomes, build a culture of transparency, provide platforms for free-flowing information between all parts of their organization, and allow and even require decision making as close to the action as possible.  Allow the front line to drive simplicity by giving them the context, the tools and the authority they need, and get out of their way.
This is a big change from traditional definitions of great leaders, but is a requirement for our “new normal”.  I think I will be focusing a lot on this subject in future JAMs.  Please join the discussion as I lead this community of JAMmers through dialogue with all of you!