Chapter 8: Open and Leaderless Peer-Based Organizations


The coming century will be unfriendly to superhero CEOs who try to wing their companies heavenward by sheer force of will. Success will belong to companies that are leaderless. In the 21st century, the all-powerful CEO may not be powerful at all. Companies that thrive will be "led" by people who understand that in business, as in nature, no one person can ever really be in control. ”John A. Byrne, BusinessWeek

As we experience social relationships in the coming years , partnering and cooperating with others will contribute more to our success than dominating and controlling them. When hierarchy and rank as a social strategy are no longer effective, leadership will be replaced by true peer-based organizations. In the absence of rank-based leaders , the talent, vision, and creativity of all members of the organization will be required and so developed, practiced, valued, and rewarded.

Albert Einstein once said the most important question each person has to answer is whether this universe is a friendly place, a good place.

I have often thought about that question. Answer in the negative and you will attempt to control things. Answer in the affirmative and you discover that relationships and the organizations they constitute have a goodness and value all their own. The movement to peer-based, leader-less organizations is a part of the natural dynamic of developing human possibilities that is now beginning to be realized in the network society.

If people are trusted enough to be given the freedom to make decisions ”and led not through rank-based, command-and-control practices, but through mentoring, strategic questioning, and genuine communication ”then the organization will become peer based. This trust requires the set of assumptions we have already identified as peer-based thinking. Organizations operating in harmony with peer-based thinking will be characterized by openness, creativity, flexibility, resilience, and responsiveness.

The Myth of Leadership. Creating Leaderless Organizations
The Myth of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations
ISBN: 0891061991
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 98

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