Use Spirited Economics to Create the Next Wave of Economic Progress

reset_button_vhv4-290x300In a recent keynote Harvard Business blog post Mr Jeff Immelt used a great phrase. He said that ‘the world has been reset.’ The way I see it, one of the critical problems about this is that the behavior and communication skills of corporate leaders have not been reset to be aligned to this new world.

Corporate Leaders have a Responsibility

Corporate leaders have a responsibility to renew America by building strong sustainable businesses. This requires that they understand that new times call for new leadership skills. Yesterday’s leadership skills are just not good enough. They have outlived their usefulness. But the acceptance of this statement by leaders requires that they have the courage to be brutally honest with themselves. They will need to ‘clear away arrogance and false assumptions’ and make way for a ‘stiff dose of candor.’ I cannot see how this could happen unless leaders are willing to learn how to manage their egos and lead instead with a spirit of authenticity.

Lack of Leadership Authenticity

The lack of leadership authenticity has undermined the capabilities of America by creating 22 million employees who are switched off and tuned out. This is costing the USA economy $300 billion a year (Gallup). Yet I don’t hear a great deal about renewing and reinventing leadership. And this does not seem to appear either in the strategic thinking of companies or in their budgets. Attempting to launch new corporate strategies without new and different leadership skills is what I refer to as ‘putting wings on caterpillars.’ This cannot lead to any true economic metamorphosis.

So in the spirit of open, honest conversation here’s the deal. Corporate leaders need to urgently focus on 2 things. They need to:

    Get their egos out of the driver’s seat and into the passenger seat. Instead of thinking and behaving and speaking defensively, they need to allow their spirited, collaborative, genuine, innovative, visionary, real self do the driving. This does not just happen – just like the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, so leaders must experience a personal and leadership transformation, as well as acquire new leadership skills



    Renew their relationship with their employees. Employees are afraid and hurting. They are suspicious of leadership. One of the most powerful ways to reconnect with tuned out employees is to give them a dream. Co-create a transformative, exciting, realistic yet aspirational vision for the future and you will be amazed how this creates a new energy and spirit in the organization. One word of advice – the traditional vision formulating and communicating process will not achieve this goal. Do this with humility and spirit using a 2010 process that will renew the energy and passion of the people.people.

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