Enlivening Edge’s republications in this series: Part 1 on Models of Organizing is here, Part 2 on Public Service is here.
This blog is the last in a short series inspired by a recent #NextStageRadicals event held in London on March 19th 2019 (more details here). Throughout this series I’ve been sharing presentations, insights and reflections from the event.
In many of today’s organisations:
leadership exists on an axes with followership;
the preoccupation is with having and communicating a compelling vision;
the focus is on creating alignment;
the language of leadership is kept within the bounds of ‘deliverology’ (e.g. action, intent, deliverables, success, etc).
Not so in next stage organisations, where:
leadership exists on an axis with fellowship.
the preoccupation is with enabling discovery and adaptive co-creation;
the focus is on establishing and maintaining mutuality;
the language is expansive, reaching into areas not normally associated with the world of work (e.g. love, nurture, showing and supporting vulnerability, failure, etc).
For some this shift is deeply uncomfortable, even wrongheaded. It’s just not how things are done. The antibody responses it can provoke are severe too. In that context, good people with great intentions can find themselves falling foul of—or at least wrestling with—the norms of the status quo.
At the recent #NextStageRadicals event 4 leaders were brave enough to speak about their experiences of trying to move to the next stage. Drawing equal attention to their failures as well as their successes, they reflected openly in a shared discussion in front of an audience of more than 100 people.
You can watch a highlight reel of their conversation or listen to the full audio track below.
Becoming a ‘next stage’ leader is challenging… but it’s rewarding too; a chance to connect to something deeper and more purposeful in ourselves and in others. A chance to be more human. In the short video below I explore this idea, suggesting that leadership in the next stage means two things:
Ensuring that what really matters is what really matters here; and
Remembering that what really matters here includes what really matters to each other.
On our journey to the next stage, the first role of leadership is to grow fellowship not followership.
If you want to find out more about the issues explored in this blog here are a couple of things you can do:
If you want to connect to the leaders featured in the video (and many more like them)…
consider joining the Q Community’s – rapidly growing – “Reimagining Health and Care Special Interest Group (SIG)”. It’s packed with Next Stage Radicals sharing their knowledge and experience in a community of practice. More details here.
If you want to read more about leading, managing and working in complexity…
consider reading the previous blogs in this series. You can find:
Radical Models of Organising (exploring self-management through 2 pioneer case studies) here.
Radical Models of Public Service (exploring service designs that reject ‘standardisation at scale’ in favour of ‘bespoke by default’) here.
Radical Models of Commissioning and Regulation (exploring the dysfunctional relationship between accountability and responsibility in the psychology of work) here.