Saturday, November 10, 2007

And you thought leadership was hard.

Leadership doesn't have to be difficult. I have been studying, exploring, and communicating this hypothesis during the past few months. You might recall my simple strategies for building community using smiles, gratitude, and giving.

This past week while exploring for new quiet leadership insight, I encountered Dee Hock and the 60 Second PhD in Leadership.

My first encounter was a YouTube leadership video by Tom Peters where he quotes Dee Hock. I think the video is 90 seconds well spent.

I wasn't familiar with Dee Hock so I "Googled" and found the The 60 Second PhD in Leadership. I appreciated the simplicity as conveyed by the founder and former CEO of VISA.

1. Make a list of all things done to you that you abhorred.
3. Make another list of things done to you that you loved.
This sentiment is brilliant but like many explorations, one discovery leads to another.

More from Dee Hock

The Google search also led me to a nice biography of Dee Hock the founder of Visa on the FastcCompany site in an article entitled, The Trillion-Dollar Vision of Dee Hock.

An interesting, albeit more complicated, insight from this article is related to organization. The insight was particularly relevant to me.

I work in an environment where focus on structure, organization, governance, budget, resources and funding seems to dominate the attention of our team. From this perspective, a Dee Hock quote in the Fast Company article was compelling,
The better an organization is, the less obvious it is. In Visa, we tried to create an invisible organization and keep it that way. It's the results, not the structure or management that should be apparent.
Our team got 15 seconds of attention this past week on great results in saving a client relationship through some last minute development adjustments.

Certainly, there was more than 15 seconds of effort during the days before. But interestingly during this effort, not once was there a question about estimates, funding, business requirements, project management, or process on this effort. Not once did any body ask who was going to fund this effort. Despite these organizational "deficits" the mission was accomplished and well done. The team seized the opportunity to just perform.

Once the fifteen seconds of accolades were over, we resumed our normal organizational processes where questions of estimates, priorities, funding, forecasts, and governance dominated much of the project discussion and effort. Is this they way things should be?

It's a rhetorical question but this led me to another Dee Hock topic to explore, that is, the notion of chaordic systems. The Wikipedia definition is a system that blends characteristics of chaos and order.

I'll leave this exploration for another post but I'm pretty intrigued that we as a team had this remarkable ability to self-direct and excel when the conditions were right. Why couldn't this be the norm? Anyone else with chaordic experience? I'm looking for comment and insight.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly.

No comments: