In search of the leadership question – part 3

From theory to practice, from intention to reality 


Organizations have models, systems, capabilities, processes and infrastructures. All addressed and acted upon by people. To expect a leader’s intention to become reality without looking at this horizontal human diaphragm is like imagining ourselves lifeless in the intention of getting up from a chair. It would be impossible!


Yet, it’s not always easy to embody this awareness, sometimes we believe that all it takes is a good thought and the desire to execute it for the reality we are imagining to emerge.


Between verticality and horizontality 


We look at the people who inhabit the space between us and the reality we want to transform, they are our active partners in this journey between ideality and reality.


A look toward horizontal leadership helps to balance the polarities of this journey. Excessive verticality has the advantage of imaginative speed, but all the difficulty of good execution. On the contrary, excessive horizontality has the advantage of generating widespread participation, but lacks focus at the same time. In medio stat virtus: the challenge as a leader is to accommodate an essential and balanced leadership process.


An evolutionary transformation


Theory U allows us to design transformation journeys that are very attentive to the evolutionary potential of the group and to what can only come from the individual impulse, thus creating the prerequisites for a possible reality for everyone. I call this the click (the spark that starts the impulse) and the multitude.


It’s good to move forward with new glasses and see microcosms instead of organizational layers, constellations of mission-based collaboration instead of competitive function charts. Everything is meant, once again, to bring out, in the most obvious and real way, what one wants to continue to honor and what is asking to be experienced. Love plays an important role in this activity as well, to counteract the urge that may arise of wanting to throw everything away, even the context, by adopting pre-made solutions from others.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

A journey of beauty and fatigue


As I hope I have managed to communicate in just a few lines, there are no prewritten recipes, it is a journey and, as such, it is full of beauty but also of fatigue. 


The first fatigue for the leader is to initially only have in front of him/her questions and reflections that sometimes, due to their frankness, can be annoying. The second fatigue is to activate the participation of one’s own people in circles that gradually expand. There are no answers “by catalog” or “by experience”.


Normally, the conversation at the beginning regard circumstances that are very close to the person who is speaking, but gradually, through a succession of questions, it is nice to see how the conversation moves from precise answers, given very quickly, to moments of great silence where people admit that they do not have the answers or the information. You enter spaces in which you become aware of the complex territory where today’s major issues are moving and, little by little, you open up to great clarity regarding what you really want to activate.


It doesn’t matter if this sometimes means deciding together that there are no prerequisites to take another step of the journey, what matters is to have activated the journey!



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