How to Work Together Without Killing Each Other

Leaders say, “Lets build the plane in the air.” It’s not about charts and hierarchy. Managers simplify complexity and deliver consistent results. “Let’s make a plan.”

You need the people who irritate you to achieve maximum success.

I'd love the world to have a 100 million more people actually leading

John Kotter on 100 million more leaders: 

Dual systems:

Over-managed organizations can’t keep up in changing times. Over-led organizations eventually  implode.

John Kotter, author of “That’s Not How We Do it Here,” believes the challenge facing organizations that are built around management systems is moving them into a dual system of management and leadership.

Adopt a dual system where the best of leadership and management work hand in hand.

Organizations need both disruption and stability to thrive. The problem is we don’t have good examples where managers and leaders function well together.

3 ways to work together without killing each other:

  1. Managers and leaders need to understand and appreciate that they come at the world from conflicting perspectives.
  2. Managers and leaders need to understand and appreciate what they achieve.
    • Managers make complex things work.
    • Leaders create new things.
  3. Understand the process of building a dual system.
    • Get lots of people involved.
    • Avoid another task force.
    • Focus on hearts and minds.
    • Provide a structure that is more network and startup, not project management.
    • Fueling urgency around an opportunity-focus.
    • Throw out irrelevant rules.
    • Simplify hierarchy.

Kotter in his own words (7:20):

Create a leadership system:

  1. Avoid formal charts and hierarchy. Traditional management isn’t going to create dynamic leadership systems.
  2. Work toward networks rather than formal structures.
  3. Get clear about what a dual system looks like.
  4. Establish boundaries. Let people know where you’re not going.
  5. Make things happen faster rather than slower. Adopt a “let’s try it” approach”.
  6. Establish guiding principles.

Look at startups to catch a vision for dynamic leadership systems.

What prevents managers and leaders from working well together?

How might organizations create dual systems where managers and leaders work together?

Purchase, That’s Not How We Do it Here.

*This post is based on my conversation with John Kotter.

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