ESSENTIAL LEA­DERS­HIP | Da­niel Au­gus­to Mot­ta

GS Magazine - - Front Page - Da­niel Au­gus­to Mot­ta

Or­ga­ni­za­tions no­wa­days are adrift. Old bu­si­ness models and or­ga­ni­za­tion charts can ad­dress neit­her new mar­ket dy­na­mics nor stock­hol­ders’ in­crea­singly hig­her ex­pec­ta­tions. Peo­ple are dis­tres­sed as they are una­ble to re­la­te their daily ac­ti­vi­ties and goals to as­pi­ra­tions that are ever mo­re abs­tract and less ex­ci­ting. Lea­ders are ne­glec­ting to face or­ga­ni­za­tio­nal trans­for­ma­tion cha­llen­ges.

WE LI­VE IN A COLLECTIVE angst con­cea­led by the de­lu­sion of a ca­len­dar pac­ked with ac­ti­vi­ties, mee­tings and re­ports. We fail to dis­tin­guish bet­ween the real mea­ning of li­fe and a li­fe full of hustle.

We wrongly be­lie­ve that our days and weeks elap­se much fas­ter than they did de­ca­des ago. We do not reali­ze how su­per­fi­cial our per­so­nal re­la­tions­hips are and we are una­wa­re of the amount of ra­pidly chan­ging in­for­ma­tion we foo­lishly try to pro­cess every day.

We just gi­ve up un­ders­tan­ding our­sel­ves be­cau­se we are too afraid of the mi­rror. We for­go buil­ding long-term re­la­tions­hips as we ac­cept the con­ve­nien­ce of a long list of vir­tual con­tacts. And even as we un- cons­ciously seek this es­ca­pe, we si­lently ask our­sel­ves again and again what our li­fe pur­po­se is. As a lea­der in your or­ga­ni­za­tion, it is your res­pon­si­bi­lity to en­ga­ge in this per­so­nal quest and to in­fluen­ce your team, ma­na­gers and peers to do the same.

So, ul­ti­ma­tely, what is the mea­ning of your li­fe? In view of the cer­tainty of death, this ques­tion is the cor­ners­to­ne of me­taphy­sics and re­li­gions. We learn about death whi­le still in the first years of our li­ves, and this ques­tion re­mains a fun­da­men­tal, if not desira­ble, con­tem­pla­tion. But many

peo­ple would rat­her li­ve their li­ves in a sta­te of thoughtles­s frenzy, lac­king the coura­ge to ask what their li­fe’s pur­po­se is, al­ways ta­king ad­van­ta­ge of con­ve­nient ex­cu­ses, such as fa­mily, work, bills, and lei­su­re dis­trac­tions.

The four pi­llars of li­fe’s mea­ning—fa­mily, com­mu­nity, na­tion and spi­ri­tua­lity—are cu­rrently being cha­llen­ged. And this is com­pli­ca­ted. The­se pi­llars ha­ve sus­tai­ned us for cen­tu­ries. If they are in tur­moil, our li­fe’s mea­ning is cha­llen­ged, so we look for ans­wers by sa­tisf­ying our in­di­vi­dual needs and ex­pec­ta­tions. Fa­mily as a con­cept is in the pro­cess of being re­dee­med. Dif­fe­rent fa­mily con­fi­gu­ra­tions are the new trend as the old dad-mom-kids mo­del falls apart. Our work de­mands in­crea­singly mo­re of our in­di­vi­dual energy. New tech­no­lo­gies chan­ge the allo­ca­tion of ti­me spent in fa­mily ac­ti­vi­ties. Cre­dit-ba­sed up­ward mo­bi­lity leads to ho­mo­ge­ni­zed con­su­mer beha­viors. Ge­ne­ra­tio­nal con­flicts ha­ve al­ways exis­ted, but they seem mo­re em­bit­te­red now due to the speed and amount of in­for­ma­tion, which fa­vor a desire for ins­tant gra­ti­fi­ca­tion ins­tead of a jour­ney to­wards an ideal fu­tu­re.

Li­ke­wi­se, the com­mu­nity, par­ti­cu­larly in lar­ge and mid­si­ze ci­ties, is no­wa­days to­tally irre­le­vant for most peo­ple. In the past, re­la­ti­ves would li­ve clo­se by, neigh­bor­hood fa­mi­lies would know each ot­her for ge­ne­ra­tions, and the­re we­re small neigh­bor­hood drugs­to­res and gro­cers, com­mu­nity re­crea­tion cen­ters, chur­ches, street fes­ti­vals, ba­ke­ries and little sta­tio­nary sto­res. But tho­se are all things of the past. The­se sweet me­mo­ries re­si­de with us now in a new en­vi­ron­ment of com­mu­ter towns, high-ri­ses and fa­ce­less con­do buil­dings. We just ha­ve to read ho­meow­ners as­so­cia­tion by­laws to reali­ze that pu­blic and pri­va­te spa­ce boun­da­ries are ex­haus­ti­vely de­fi­ned.

Nations are va­guely re­mem­be­red in high pro­fi­le sports events, but it is not part of per­so­nal prio­ri­ties any­mo­re. It has been bu­ried un­der ge­ne­ral po­li­ti­cal di­sap­point­ment and sur­pas­sed by the po­wer of hu­ge mul­ti­na­tio­nal or­ga­ni­za­tions. The­se com­pa­nies, which are ever mo­re om­ni­pre­sent, self-suf­fi­cient and un­cons­trai­ned by geo­grap­hi­cal bor­ders, ha­ve enor­mous in­fluen­ce over the mas­ses.

Al­so, the ro­le of spi­ri­tua­lity is being re­vie­wed. I can­not think of anyt­hing mo­re pas­sé than hell and, for this very reason, God has lost ground to Goo­gle. One can ar­gue we used to be mo­re fear­ful of God and, the­re­fo­re, we­re mo­re lo­yal to the Church. Com­mu­nion, con­fes­sion, pra­yer and no­ve­nas ha­ve be­co­me lost cus­toms for pre­pa­ring for the Judg­ment Day and they don’t fit a mo­dern li­fe sche­du­le any­mo­re. No­wa­days, our pra­yers hap­pen pretty much only when we face so­me se­rious fa­mily pro­blem. At the same ti­me, the Church is going th­rough an et­hi­cal cri­sis. This ex­plains in part the ama­zing growth of self-help book sa­les and the suc­cess of the pros­pe­rity theo­logy in its many sha­pes.

And so, in the ab­sen­ce of the four tra­di­tio­nal pi­llars sus­tai­ning the mea­ning of li­fe, we as­pi­re for goods and ser­vi­ces to ful­fill our quest for self-sa­tis­fac­tion and our need to be­long to a tri­be that can dif­fe­ren­tia­te us from the mas­ses. We are back in the he­do­nist age! The search for the mea­ning of li­fe has tur­ned in­to an ego­cen­tric jour­ney in which or­ga­ni­za­tions exist as pla­ces to par­tially sa­tisfy the­se needs but, at any mo­ment, can be re­pla­ced by anot­her pro­fes­sio­nal op­por­tu­nity with a mo­re at­trac­ti­ve va­lue pro­po­si­tion. Even ti­me is now vie­wed un­der the car­pe diem phi­lo­sophy be­cau­se the fu­tu­re is un­cer­tain and pos­sibly ad­ver­se.

It is im­por­tant to no­te that this quest does not trans­la­te in­to iso­la­tion. It is rat­her a cons­tant search for so­cial net­works which re­pre­sent the dy­na­mic area of in­di­vi­dual, vir­tual or face-to-face con­sen­sual re­la­tions­hips and as­so­cia­tions. The­se net­works ser­ve a com­mon pur­po­se in a group whe­re the com­po­nents iden­tify and mi­rror them­sel­ves in each ot­her.

What kind of im­pact does this so­cio­lo­gi­cal, psy­cho­lo­gi­cal and anth­ro­po­lo­gi­cal con­text ha­ve on the or­ga­ni­za­tio­nal en­vi­ron­ment? The ans­wer is very sim­ple: hu­ge! Or­ga­ni­za­tions had al­ready bro­ken their “job for li­fe” com­mit­ment in the 1970s and 80s due to the speed-up of in­no­va­tion pro­cess

I can­not think of anyt­hing mo­re pas­sé than hell and, for this very reason, God has lost ground

to Goo­gle

es. Now, fa­cing an even stron­ger dis­rup­ti­ve sce­na­rio, they fight every day to sur­vi­ve and to re­dis­co­ver the im­por­tan­ce of per­so­nal re­la­tions­hips and Essential Lea­ders­hip to their pro­ces­ses of cul­tu­ral trans­for­ma­tion, stra­te­gic exe­cu­tion and high-per­for­man­ce team de­ve­lop­ment.

The tra­di­tio­nal struc­tu­res of com­mand-con­trol — and their pro­ces­ses struc­tu­red around la­yers of po­wer, their emp­ha­sis on ope­ra­tio­nal ex­ce­llen­ce of pro­ces­ses, their fi­nan­cial in­cen­ti­ves for in­di­vi­dual per­for­man­ce and their focus on short-term pro­fit op­ti­mi­za­tion — are being cha­llen­ged by net­work struc­tu­res ba­sed on sha­red va­lues whe­re a new “per­son to per­son” pa­ra­digm is fos­te­red ba­sed on in­di­vi­dual ap­pre­cia­tion, focus on in­te­llec­tual ca­pi­tal and emp­ha­sis on re­la­tions­hips.

Duty et­hics has been re­pla­ced by plea­su­re et­hics. Se­ve­ral ge­ne­ra­tions wor­ked very hard, in mo­re dif­fi­cult work en­vi­ron­ments, so that one day, God wi­lling, they could en­joy li­fe in re­ti­re­ment. Mo­re re­cently, ho­we­ver, so­cial se­cu­rity short­falls, an enor­mous in­crea­se in li­fe ex­pec­ta­tion, the in­di­vi­dual quest for mea­ning of li­fe and the po­wer of so­cial net­works ha­ve all con­tri­bu­ted to con­so­li­da­te plea­su­re et­hics — whe­re each re­la­tions­hip and each ac­ti­vity must fit in­di­vi­dual needs and ex­pec­ta­tions. This phe­no­me­non is not ex­clu­si­ve to the new ge­ne­ra­tions, though it is mo­re na­tu­ral for them to cha­llen­ge the sta­tus quo. Men and wo­men in their fif­ties or six­ties are al­so thin­king about this very sub­ject as they try to find pur­po­se for their next 30 years of li­fe.

In this new con­text fo­cu­sed on a lar­ger mea­ning, both or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­di­vi­duals are awa­re of the ty­pi­cal cha­llen­ges of a new Anth­ro­po­ce­ne geo­lo­gi­cal epoch, which deals with the hu­man im­pact on the biosp­he­re star­ting with the First In­dus­trial Re­vo­lu­tion in the 18th Cen­tury. It is in­ter­es­ting to no­te that this ego­cen­tric quest for the mea­ning of li­fe is in­ten­si­fied exactly at the mo­ment when the hu­man im­pact on the pla­net is irre­ver­si­ble. It is in this ge­ne­ral con­text that Essential Lea­ders cu­rrently find them­sel­ves.

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