Time for a Revolution

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Retailer Zappos chose to eliminate managers in 2015. A revolutionary idea. Read about the Zappos adoption of Holacracy.

This week I floated a revolutionary idea regarding how we treat competition. By the way, I would appreciate you reading Leaders Redraw The Map of Competition and clicking the comment image to help me think this through.

We’ve recently seen calls for eliminating annual reviews (I agree by the way) which could be seen as revolutionary. Also, I have advocated a different way to hire people.

Some things are more revolutionary than other things. It’s relative.

For some leaders it’s revolutionary to talk to their team members.

A revolution is a fundamental change in structure and how people interact with an entity. We tend to think of this in terms of government when a revolution occurs to overthrow the government.

The same revolution principles and structures can be used for any large structural change like the ones noted above.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you need or want a revolution in your organization?
  • Can a revolutionary idea push your team into a new mode of operation?
  • Is your team operating at its highest level? Are you just making numbers, just plugging along?

Maybe it’s time. What problems would you like to solve? Some things to think about:

Avoid the flavor of the day

One of the worst things I’ve witnessed is a leader to appear as if they are grasping at straws or jumping on a fad band wagon. I coached a manager whose boss required the team to read 5 Dysfunctions of a Team during a holiday break to prepare for a planning retreat. Ironically the boss didn’t even mention the book during the retreat. Damage done, manager permanently checked out.

It’s OK to get excited about a leadership idea, but…

Think it through

I don’t know yet whether I will recommend to you and my clients that we should eliminate internal competition. I’m thinking it through in a variety of ways including asking for your help.

Look at benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to fully consider the leadership idea itself but also the additional effect of simply introducing the idea. Some Zappos managers (7%) thought their leader had jumped the shark and resigned.

What will the revolutionary idea break? If it’s the thing causing pain that’s a great thing but what else will be broken? Is it worth it?

If the revolutionary idea isn’t new, just new to you, seek out others who have lived through it and get their insights. Be prepared.

Revolution could be good. Status quo could be good too. The key is to be conscious about it.

To do this week: Think about all the ways you foster internal competition in your organization. Is it valuable? Is it manufacturing conflict? Does everyone clearly know the difference between internal and external competition?

Let me know how it’s goes. Click the “comments” box below to participate in an on-going discussion via LinkedIn.

Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On June 20, 2018
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