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Will outcome-based leadership conquer the world?
This is nothing new. It really isn't. But it's still important.
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Friends, it's Thursday 🚀
And Thursday means it's time for the first real article this year.
In the past, we've talked about the gig economy. We've also talked about what the shift to remote work means for individuals, and how we as a collective have vastly underestimated the impact of remote work on our labor market, transforming from a local labor market to one that's truly global in more ways than ever before. Basically, it's only our willingness to work odd hours that limits us; we can overcome all other hurdles if we want to.
But what does that mean for our organizations? How do we run such organizations when we have a workforce that's more spread out across the globe than ever before?
When talking to business leaders in recent years, it's obvious that the successful ones have one thing in common - they lead by outcome.
(A side note, INSANE we can talk about the COVID-19 pandemic in YEARS now. But hey, here we are.)
The leaders paint a picture of where their team or organization should be and repeat it over and over and over again. You get the point. They talk about it as much as someone who's had a couple of great first dates and now can't stop talking about THAT person.
I wish I had the skills to position this as something unique and a new thing. To label it and sell it as an expensive online course. But this is really nothing new under the sun.
We've been talking about outcome-based leadership for well over 30 years.
But the pandemic has really brought it into the spotlight.
As people sit remotely in their kitchens or wherever people are sitting these days, the need for alignment and a common direction increases. People need to know in what direction to go and what to strive towards. Does that need to be described in detail? Perhaps not. It'll probably vary from person to person and from organization to organization. But in general, we all need a sense of purpose and need to give our people a direction. We (probably) don't need to define an end goal, but we do need to think about what great looks like and set a vision.
As I said, this is nothing new under the sun.
In the last decade, visionary leaders have become rock stars. We've yet to replace Bruce Springsteen with Elon Musk, but strong business leaders today have the same appeal and like-minded followers as rock stars used to (or heck, still) have. It makes sense. In general, we like people who get us excited about a cause. They create a common purpose and a sense of belonging. If you know your Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, belonging sits just above a good wifi-connection.
As history and modern times show, this can be used for good or bad, but the underlying premises are still valid. If you paint a picture of where you want to go, talk about it at length, and commit to your cause, you'll most likely have a following.
Am I saying that all of our business leaders need to become Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or worse, some kind of dictator? No, no, and no.
But I firmly believe that in an increasingly interconnected world of work, leaders need to paint a picture of where they want their company, business, or department to go. They need to create a following. Create alignment, provide context and clarity.
And for the third time, what we're seeing here is nothing new!
Most of us have been doing this for some time, but if you want your organization to succeed in 2022, now is a good time to remind your leaders about this. Help them set the direction. Help them create clarity for their organizations. What we call "The Great Resignation" these days is still happening, and many people are reconsidering their jobs. Having a clear direction and vision won't alone keep people from leaving your organization, but it's a piece of the puzzle.
Did I mention this is nothing new?
I'll see you next week.