I just spoke at Net Impact to 100 millennials, on a panel called the Future of Leadership. We filmed it so it will be up soon on my site. my message: I have been leading large scale change for 40 years. I am an Elder in the field.
I see three eras. First is the machine era, where humans and nature were treated like interchangeable parts in a machine.That was spawned by the industrial revolution. Then can the Behavioral era, where humans were treated as living, but manipulatable by incentives, rewards and recognition, mostly by people with power over them (Thanks to John Watson and his study of rates, . Both of these are based on belief in external motivation.
In the last decade or maybe two, we have what might be called the connection era. Everything is connected to everything else and affects it all. This led us to do more involving of humans in work and treating them as having a brain.
What has been underground for half a century and now surfacing more fully is a living systems view of leadership (the behavioral and human potential approaches tend to drop out other life) both internally and externally in influencing change. It sees humans as fully able to be self-directed, self-correcting and self-managing with roles, that were supervisory becoming one of being resources to individuals and teams. People are connected directly to stakeholders and serving them what I call "promises beyond ableness". They promise to do something that will benefit the life of specific customer nodes, Earth in some specific way, communities and as a result, investors. It is all tied to a living strategic direction based on The Responsible Business approach. I have helped collaborative with leaders, design and lead such for four decades and am thrilled to see it become more mainstream, such as at Google. I tell stories of our work in The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success. With 30 case studies of Fortune 100 companies and new economy businesses (my collaborators, changing their industries. My new book, The Responsible Entrepreneur: Four Game Changing Archetypes for Founders, Leaders and Investors (out in 2014) and more stories including from Google, Eileen Fisher and other game changing companies can be found at www.ResponsibleTrep.com. You can take a quiz and learn what archetype you lean on (and how to branch out), get a free twice monthly newsletter and be notified when the new book is out. And buy the current one through a link.
I love this conversation. It really matters. I feel real hope with the new leaders and entrepreneurs. They care more deeply, risk more courageously and bring conscience to their ventures.