According to my recent research, we have entered what experts call the "I-Cubed Economy" ... which stands for INTANGIBLES, INNOVATION, and INFORMATION. Knowledge assets (what people know and put into use), collaboration assets (who people interact with to create value), engagement assets (the level of commitment and energy of people) and time quality (how quickly value is created) are the four factors of production in this "Intangible Economy" according to Wikipedia. "They" also say this new era calls for new leadership ... "post heroic" leadership which is based on "bottom-up transformation fueled by shared power and community building." Organizations that apply this leadership approach are referred to as "leaderful" and assume that all of us have leadership qualities that can be pooled and drawn upon as needed.
Here's where this conversation gets juicy ... in a world that changes so rapidly, the gap between what we know and what we do has to close ... leaders can't just know that command and control leadership doesn't work ... they actually have to DO a different kind of leadership ... NOW! The problem, as I see it, is that we lead from our rearview mirrors. We learn to lead from those who lead us, in an environment that supports old business practices and in cultures that reinforce old values and belief systems. If we learn from those before us ... are we not, in fact, followers? And, if we want to be great leaders, doesn't it make sense that we look to our "followers" to learn how to lead? Imagine a future and live into it, rather than trying to just improve upon or change the past? We spend a lot of energy trying to capture and apply best practices ... but, in a world with so much change ... what is the shelf life of a best practice anyway?