Jun 15, 2009

Ignore the Boss: Embrace Values and Purpose to Thrive

In a world without formal boundaries, controls, or coercions, great individuals, teams, and organizations must rely upon and build informal networks based upon shared values and purposes.

Relying solely upon the resources at a company's disposal within the organization leads to atrophy, decay, and irrelevance.  We must learn to embrace those who share our values and purposes who aren't within our direct influence.  

Values have to do with the core being.  It's about philosophy, mind set, and common ground.  

Purpose has more to do with the doings.  It's about the accomplishment of a specific cause or working towards a desired outcome.   

More often than not, purposes and values mesh - but sometimes they don't.  I may have to work with a team of folks I simply can't stand because we share a common purpose or goal.  Values are in this case subordinated for the more important purposes we're trying to achieve.  

Conversely, I may work with a group of people lacking the skills we need to get to where we may want to go as a group, because these are the people I love and who's collective values align with mine.  

The beautiful thing about the world we live in and the tools we have available at our fingertips - Twitter, Facebook, personal blogs, and other platforms - is that we're now able to find, channel, and merge our values and purposes with those of others in a more seamless and altruistic and cohesive type of way.  Riding the horses in the direction they're already going is easier now than ever before.  

For most organizations, pursuing opportunities without regard to present resources is a big challenge.  Welcome to the new imperative.

As Jim Collins wrote in his book "Leading Beyond the Walls", the exercise of true leadership is inversely proportional to the exercise of power."  

That is to say, the more we rely upon and utilize our positions, resources and controls to maintain a formal position of power, the less true leadership power we possess.  Demonstrating formal power and authority diminishes the pure, true leadership power.  

Refraining from using formal positional power, in exchange for the service-based leadership model, increases power in an individual, team, or organization.