As to my “nothing new under the sun” in the “leadership thing,” I want to add (then, mostly, delete) one thing. Thanks to the new technologies, in particular, tomorrow’s leaders and “followers”* must be comfortable dealing with the whole, wide, weird, opinionated, fickle world at the speed of light. (*Actually, there will be damn few workforce survivors with a “follower’s mentality”—hence my decade-long Brand You obsession.) It’s about not “greater international awareness,” or some such—though that is part of it. It’s instead “the Way of the Web,” Wikinomics, Crowdsourcing, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and the like—that is, the whole damn planet is in play concerning most anything; and you are trying to more or less wring value-profit somehow or other and God alone knows either the “somehow” or the “other.”
On the other hand, there is an other hand. That is, oddly, a bizarre technology-driven revolution calls for far, far better “people skills,” cultural awareness, and a certain looseness that allows you to go with-adapt to-get off on the weird flow. That is, the Age of the Web is for leaders the Age of EQ.* (*Emotional intelligence.) Quite simply, the old command and control styles and idea of dispassionate, order-barking “architect” or “conductor” of an orderly, hierarchical enterprise is dead, kaput—outta here.
Addenda on this topic/Leadership’s eternal verities: Want to read perhaps the Best Management Book Ever? Try the Federalist Papers—recall my wife gave me an exquisite first edition for Christmas. The fellas—Hamilton, Madison, et a few alia —are trying to define a wholly new organizational approach based on a brand new conception of citizenry which will be slightly manageable and perpetually innovative and conducive to the pursuit of happiness. They are primarily wrestling with the eternal “centralization [Hamilton] versus decentralization [Jefferson]” conundrum—and, equally important, the inherently unsolvable tension between the two. (Extreme centralization = King or Dictator—and a dim view of citizens’ self-management skills. Extreme decentralization = Anarchy—Brand You run amok.) This “battle”—centralization v. decentralization—is the leader’s primary strategic task—and it will be ever thus.