The road to business transformation… it’s a personal journey

The road to business transformation… it’s a personal journey

We in edge are on a road of transformation. Transforming edge into edge2.0. edge2.0 means a new internal way of working, a new external way of working, and a completely new portfolio of products and services. edge2.0 enables business results through people performance – from long-running small companies to start-ups, from standard businesses through to impact businesses.

We have hit a few bumps in the road. And like any good leader, I saw clearly what I needed to do and did it.
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What was I thinking …

I lead therefore I am a leader
I have the clearest vision. I see the future. I’m responsible for the success of the whole. I have more experience. They follow my lead. Because their success depends on my leading successfully.
I’m knowledgeable and powerful.

And yet …

I’m a leader therefore I follow
Together they know far more than I do. Together they see far more than I see. Each has a different perspective. Each has a different way of interpreting what happens. I follow their lead. Because my success depends on my following them successfully.
I’m ignorant and humble.

Follow me, I’m right behind you
Leading is working within paradox and contradiction. Especially the contradiction between leading and following. Standing behind in support and leading from the front. Between pride and humility. Between what I know and what I do not know.

I find it easy to see what’s happening. To know what needs doing. And to make sure it gets done.

We hit a bump on our road. The steering wobbled. I corrected what needed correcting.

Or did I? Over the past few weeks I discovered differences between what was really happening (including all the hidden things generating what I saw happening) and what I actually saw happening. I discovered where I would have been better following first.

But it takes a certain environment for people to feel comfortable contradicting me. Challenging me. Making me follow them. It takes an environment of humility and curiosity, filled with my questioning silence. Not my answers, dictates and direction.

A difficult environment to create. And triply difficult to create across cultures.

Difficult, because it flies against most cultures’ concept of respect and social cohesion. When I’m following I am, in that moment, in some sense, in a lower status role. Standing humbly in my ignorance. Accepting help. And a strong leader cannot be allowed to do that in most cultures …

It means asking open questions in word, tone and body language. Genuinely. Frequently. Standing in curiosity towards them and all they are doing. Vulnerable to being hurt. Open to being helped. Enabling them in that context to have higher status than me, to be stronger and wiser.

Hard for all.

I’m a leader therefore I follow.
I’m a follower therefore I lead.

If you want to know more about how to lead the real complexity of your business, not an over-simplified cartoon version, contact us.