Rank-based leadership was useful, even if not very healthy or meaningful, for a vast majority of organizations in the past because the complexity of their social and business environments was low. Now, however, our social and business environments are experiencing turbulent and ever-increasing complexity. Whether we call it the new economy of knowledge workers, the information age, or even the network society, what is clear is that in this environment, rank-based leadership does not provide the most effective and profitable way to manage an organization. It has reached its logical limit and no longer supports organizations well. The tide is inevitably turning against rankbased organizations managed under the myth of leadership. Organizations need to create a culture where everyone desires, and is able, to do their best to achieve outstanding results for the company. They need to become peer-based organizations.
When one or more companies can make this transition to peer-based thinking, other competitors will be left behind. Businesses need to further distribute decision-making power and practice participatory management. Of course, that will require a shift in the mental maps or models of the organizational participants toward peer-based thinking. Chapter 6 addresses this challenge.