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"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us."
Jerry Garcia

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

 

Word count this issue: 455

 

Estimated reading time:  3:00

 

I have been researching, writing and facilitating dialogues about the future (the “new”) extensively over the past couple of years. I keep running into the “old”. For example, iTunes and Spotify are essentially gigantic juke boxes you can plug into using a portable device. Netflix is TV with a gigantic catalogue of reruns you can all up on demand. Peer to peer lenders are essentially credit unions and regardless of how cool your car is, it is still measured in horsepower and airplanes are stage coaches with business class.

 

The huge shift we are experiencing is really about mobile devices, smart phones. We are still nomads walking across the steppe, but now we are always connected to something or someone. We are still always seeking the next green pasture, the next opportunity, but we can talk about it with each other over vast distances. We might put our roots down for a time, but even then we are always searching across the horizon, what is next, what is new, what promises a better life, a richer life, a more fulfilled life? Our mobile devices are in this sense both a leash to keep us tethered to our group of nomads and telescopes that we can use to peer into a desired collective future that we can dream about and talk about amongst our tribe. They also allow us to glimpse the other tribes, and especially the tribes we don’t like. And with 7 billion humans and about 4.5 billion smart phones dispersed among us, there’s a lot of opportunity to talk about what we see and especially about the other tribes of nomads. We are nomads on a crowded steppe.

 

We need to ensure that we are speaking with the other tribes of nomads, not about the other tribes. The more connected we are with each other in our own tribes, the more we set up in group and out group barriers. 

 

Think about your team and your organization. As we on board people from different parts of the world (and even from down the street) we need to find ways of breaking down those barriers sooner so that we can leverage the brains and perspectives of everyone. Here are three ways to break them down sooner:

 

1. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this person, as opposed to what can I teach this person?

2. Sit beside the newest person in the room, it raises their status and signals that they are ok to the rest of the team.

3. Pronounce names the way the person pronounces their name, and it is ok to ask.

 

Remember, at one level we are simply still nomads on a crowded steppe. Collaboration is the way forward for all of us.