New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has an amazing ability to bring clarity to complicated world events by pulling apart the pieces and, often, finding apt analogies that enhance his messages. He did it in a column titled “Help Wanted.”
In it, Friedman talks about one of his favorite topics — the merger of globalization and the information technology revolution — and its impact on countries from around the world. He’s struck by the similarity of remarks by activist journalists in both Egypt and Russia who were commenting on the pushback that those countries’ leaders encountered when they tried to simply reappoint themselves leaders of their respective countries.
“The days of leading countries or companies via a one-way conversation are over,” Friedman quotes Dov Seidman, the CEO of LRN, a workplace culture consultant, and the author of the book “How.” “The old system of ‘command and control’ — using carrots and sticks — to exert power over people is fast being replaced by ‘connect and collaborate’ — to generate power through people.”
Leaders and managers cannot just impose their will, adds Seidman. “Now you have to have a two-way conversation that connects deeply with your citizens or customers or employees.”
“As power shifts to individuals, leadership itself must shift with it,” argues Seidman, “from coercive or motivational leadership that uses sticks and carrots to extract performance and allegiance out of people to inspirational leadership that inspires commitment and innovation and hope in people.”
The role of today’s leaders, writes Friedman, is to get the best of what is coming up from below and meld it with a vision from above.
That’s heady stuff! And yet Friedman’s deft touch makes it easy to take in and understand. It left me inspired about the mission of of the new Sales & Marketing Management magazine and its online companion. Our aim is to help you steer through the newfangled world of managing teams and extracting improved performance through collaboration.
We’ll both get more out of it if we create a two-way conversation. Drop me an e-mail and let me know what you think of this first issue, as well as what topics you want more information on, online and in upcoming issues.
Paul Nolan, Editor