Many companies appear to have forgotten the very purpose of their existence. Most employees therefore answer the question about the purpose of their employer with the apparently correct answer: “To make profit”. But profit is never an end in itself; rather, it is like the air we breathe to survive and yet our lives thankfully do not consist only of breathing. Profit is therefore only a necessary condition for the survival of the organization and the yardstick for properly fulfilling an important purpose for the customer.
There is plenty of advice on leadership. However, few are as concise and authentic as those of Jack Welch, General Electric’s long-standing and extraordinarily successful CEO. For him, leadership means firstly giving meaning and orientation to people’s work and then ensuring that people can work on it as unhindered as possible. Second, good leadership is generous in making others successful without envy. And finally, good leadership serves people and gives them joy and fulfillment: “Be the Chief Fun Officer!”
The very essence of leadership is to provide orientation. That’s why leadership is crucial in agile organizations. Agility requires orientation to be effective. Without this orientation, agility becomes arbitrary. It misses the alignment towards a common goal. This raises the question of how leadership should provide orientation today. On the one hand steering precisely with command and control or on the other hand providing direction with vision and purpose and relying on the best possible contributions of the teams. “Purpose and Trust over Command and Control” is therefore the third thesis of the Manifesto for Human Leadership (you may also sign it on this occasion!), which is discussed in more detail in this third part of the explanations.