The yearning for a new and better form of respectful and thereby profitable cooperation between people is greater than ever. Industrialization and Taylorism have transformed humans into resources. Initially only the labour of the unskilled worker was in demand, and Henry Ford even complained that he always got also a brain with every pair of hands. Today, in the age of knowledge work, the demands upon and roles of the knowledge worker have differentiated in many ways. However, the basic principle of treating organizations as machines and using employees as cogs mostly remained the same. Man is still a means. I have a dream that people, with all their potential, will really be at the core of organizations. And that this really makes the difference in digitalization.
There’s a lot of whining and complaining. After all, it is very easy to be outraged about the mistakes made by others and especially by “those up there”. However, this way we focus our thoughts on deficits and problems and tend to ignore the fact that the half-empty glass is also half full. This negativity bias, i.e., the tendency to perceive the negative more strongly than the positive, has been well researched scientifically and seems to be deeply rooted in our human nature. Therefore, it takes mindfulness and practice to overcome it. A nice start is to show appreciation in the form of the new Kudos Cards for the Manifesto for Human Leadership.
Only those who can lead themselves can lead others. This is how Father Anselm Grün sums up the essential challenge of self-leadership. Those who want to serve life and unleash human potential as described in the Manifesto for Human Leadership need first and foremost clarity about the nature of life and especially about their life. Only who has? And who takes the time today to think about the nature of life? A short excursion into Taoism exemplified by the evolution of the Manifesto for Human Leadership.
The Manifesto for Human(e) Leadership is on the one hand a useful stimulus for personal reflection on one’s own leadership qualities, especially in the form of the recently published e-book. On the other hand, its theses also provide a useful framework for an interactive workshop in which leaders can reflect and discuss those theses and their respective stances. Exclusively for my readers I offer for free this brand-new workshop format.
Transformation is what everyone is talking about, because digitalization demands adaptable and customer-oriented organizations. Apparently steadfast organizational principles and behaviors that have been successful for many years must be questioned: away from the local efficiency optimum in the functional silo towards interdisciplinary cooperation along the value stream, away from long-term planning in a relatively stable environment towards sailing by sight in the VUCA storm and away from the pyramid towards the network as the prevailing organizational principle. However, such a radical change only succeeds if the people concerned are not merely “won over” as passive objects, but are allowed to participate with equal dignity in shaping the change.