What’s the single most powerful force on earth? What’s the most astonishing event that has happened in the world in your lifetime? What is it that dwarfs every country and every global organization on earth in terms of power and potential to change the world? What is it that already has changed the world beyond our wildest imagination in just 25 years?
The answer to all the above, no matter who you are and where you are, is the internet and the world wide web. It didn’t just change the way we work and play, it changed the way we think and the way we act and communicate. It’s the go to source of everything, from booking a ticket to writing a thesis; from flexible working hours to baking a cake; from global news and views to Wikipedia. It also changed everything, including us, and it happened largely through open source collaboration between brilliant individuals with little, if any, direction ‘from above’, or leadership in the traditional sense of the word. In short, it was allowed to happen naturally. This took two different types of people; there were those who literally made it up as they went along, and who did so by playing and sharing and collaborating fearlessly with peers across all boundaries (vertical, horizontal, geographic, etc). And there were those who were wise enough to stand back and create the space for this to happen, using a mixture of intellect and intuition to navigate completely uncharted waters to orchestrate a completely new kind of music. They were open source leaders on two different levels. They were both leading open source collaboration between teams of experts and leading from the inside out, from their own inner source of guidance and innate wisdom.
We have always suspected and are now convinced that this is the blueprint for the new leadership paradigm we should all be aspiring to across the board from schools and hospitals, to global corporations and non government organizations (NGOs).
“Open Source Leadership is a way of thinking and acting that lies at our source. It is a balance of intellect and intuition that leads to understanding, appreciation and openness to the magnificence of ourselves and others.” (Gadman & Cooper 2009).
We believe in a near future where this new paradigm of leadership is a permanent and natural aspect of every organisation on the planet. We see drastic changes already afoot in leadership development in response to the common secret that the old way of doing things doesn’t work anymore. The bright young things don’t want to work for us, they want to work with us. They don’t want to learn from us, they want to give to us. Leaders everywhere are having trouble coming to terms with this sudden change in the balance of power, and in bringing forth the unique perspective, attitude and behaviour that are the hallmarks of natural born, open source, ready-for-anything leaders.
We live in times of overwhelming complexity and ambiguity, and contemporary leadership practices have failed to adequately respond to this because they are based on outdated assumptions about the way the world works. Command and control is no longer an option. To seize the unlimited opportunities hidden in the hills of today’s business landscape, we need openness, trust and shared information, and we need creative leaders to facilitate collaboration between clusters of capabilities.
In this program we work with advanced coaching and facilitation methods to enable and empower the natural born leader that is in all of us.