Let Go and Let Talent

What is the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future?  According to a new study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, CEO’s point to creativity as the engine for future growth.

Creative leaders are key to driving the kind of change large organizations require to wrestle with global complexity and information overload.  Open leadership coupled with inspiring creativity is the management mantra of this new decade.  It’s a far cry from the pop management themes of yesteryear which advocated tightly controlled hierarchies, silos, and re-engineered and structured processes that slashed costs, jobs, and produced routine outcomes.

One of the reasons I love working with the Council members is because their energy and passion is nearly limitless.  They all work in the sweet spot of this new corporate cultural revolution.  Selling transparency, collaboration, trust, and authenticity– they’re armed with the principles that will guide their organizations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

As these corporate positions are relatively new, there is a lot of flexibility and opportunity for our members to express creativity to advance the state of adoption company-wide.   Along these lines, I want to highlight one of our members’ (Ted Hopton) efforts to inspire adoption of its socio-collaborative platform.  Called, “the Wiki” (although admittedly, much more than a wiki), UBM employees brainstormed fun and engaging ways to introduce its employees to Jive SBS 4.0’s new features.  As it turns out, employee Chris Harris (aka DJ $crilla) is an award-winning rapper.  He wrote the lyrics, performed, and directed the video.  The video was also filmed and edited by UBM employees.

And what did the CEO, David Levin, think of the creative execution?   He was the chief sponsor and appears in a cameo role.  Big ups, all around.

Cisco Will Prove the Model

It’s about that time again when bloggers and pundits start thinking about predictions for the New Year.  I took a look at mine for 2009 and was pleased I was correct at least some of the time.  One that is coming true, albeit a little later than I had hoped, is this one: John Chambers

John Chambers is talking and walking the talk.  BusinessWeek has a feature this week on “Cisco’s Extreme Ambitions.”  The story details how Cisco is leveraging non-traditional methods to turbo-charge its growth and deliver strong margins to Wall Street.  One of those innovative tactics is democratizing decision-making and using a variety of web-based tools to identify talent.

‘…John Chambers and Cisco’s entire leadership are focused on driving Cisco’s growth and business results.’ Chambers admits the council structure is unusual but argues it’s the only way a company Cisco’s size can move as fast as it needs to. He says the councils work and help identify talent throughout the company.

Cisco is taking on a lot of risk and reinventing the company from the ground up driven by the  principles of 2.0 transformation.  Chambers said in his address at Cisco Live, “Organizational structures enabled by the network as a platform can change the speed and dynamics of a company.”

This is what we talk about when we’re talking about transformational change and the reinvention of work.  The end game is market competitiveness.  BusinessWeek sums it up:

In a sense, Chambers is bidding for a place in the history books. He’s trying to use the ambitious expansion and unconventional management strategy to demonstrate how a company the size of Cisco can remain fast-growing and nimble. If he succeeds, he may end up regarded as a business icon, along the lines of General Electric’s Jack Welch.

Like Marc Benioff, Chambers is betting the business.   Perfect time, incidentally, for Andrew McAfee whose ideas are now seeding The Harvard Business Review, management book shelves, and The McKinsey Quarterly.