Leadership is obsolete. Just check the nature around us for a clear illustration. The behaviors of the fauna and flora say it all. Dare to tread instead of unthinkingly following one single leader.
By Emile Fakhoury
For species living in social groups, including humans, blindly following a leader could endanger them. To avoid this, species have developed simple but effective behavior to follow where at least a few of them dare to tread -- rather than follow a single group member.
This pattern of behavior reduces the risk of imitating the maverick behavior of an individual as the group recognizes that consensus is better than following someone who goes it alone.
Going beyond that, the social group should form a leadership council rather than one leader who will NOT always be correct and will cost the group enormous financial and social losses and impose one leader dictatorship model rather than developing the group.
Learning from our best teacher, Nature, will provide us with resilience and a competitive edge over other groups that follow the traditional leadership model.
Look at animals such as crocodiles, sharks, and lions in the upper chain and the leadership model they adopt to survive and prosper.
Human nature starves for control and power, and this has been realized since the agricultural, industrial, and technological revolutions and will potentially cease during the artificial intelligence revolution.
Furthermore, Human prefer their color or people like them; this is embedded in our DNA despite all discussions about avoiding bias and being fair. Hence, decisions made at the top by one leader wouldn’t always be objective!
Organizations discuss succession planning but rarely apply it with their traditional leadership model. Organization leaders age in positions and resist leaving their comfortable seats to new blood, fearing losing power and control.
Organizations invented the ‘board of directors’ to add more sense to their leadership governance model and control their assigned CEO in case of bad decisions.
Even with these upgraded models, organizations still face high turnover and loss of profits as the leadership model is obsolete by design; it is human nature that we have been historically forced to control others and achieve ‘short-term’ success.
To be sustainable, organizations should instead think about a renewed model.
Till artificial intelligence matures and provides an optimum model to control corporate life, a new board or group of leaders should be in control rather than one single-handed leader. It applies to organizations, social groups, and governments seeking sustainable development.
Back to our current situation, and to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable development and remain relevant, we should transition through absolute leadership; we as social groups should influence the organization to create a safe environment to achieve these objectives:
1- Use Technology or Artificial Intelligence to gather data and assess:
Data is the new Oil, and without data, no objective decision can be made, as we have heard many times. Organizations should have a system to gather data on business, personnel, clients, etc., to understand the gaps and implement action plans not based on individual leader mood at the top.
2- Change Rules that are no more Relevant:
People make rules or processes for people and need to be changed regularly. With the data assessed, we need to rethink all the rules that make the organization run slower and inefficient. Hiring a third-party consultant, although expensive, could be a first step in the right direction.
Competitivity will drive organizations in this direction; if they are not followed, they will be left behind and collapse. Examples, such as eligibility criteria for promotion or hiring, should be renovated to allow new blood to reach the top of the ladder and steer the direction into a better path. Rethink who are your experts and how to create a safe environment to allow ideas to initiate and grow.
3- Change the Culture, or It won’t stick:
There is this intersection between relevance and sustainability. Sometimes, we're so focused on sustainability that we're not thinking about relevance.
Creating a safe environment to speak, criticize, and be able to change is the number one relevant change to survive and become relevant in the future.
We must be able to succeed in a world of ambiguity. And to do that, we need to be agile enough to recognize what’s changed and change along with it. That’s a process that must never end.