Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why I like Gen Y

Recently I was discussing leadership and a few names I didn't know were nominated as leaders who were respected. Enquiry ascertained that these people were considered to be:
  • legitimate
  • effective
  • efficient

Legitimacy was deemed to be "doing the right thing" in that their actions reflected the over-riding moral responsibility of the organisations for which they worked. Effectiveness and efficiency were nominated as measures of how well they carried out their role. Further discussion ascertained that these people were seen as ones who demonstrated:

  • congruence between what they said and did - they seek to be themselves rather than present a facade
  • unconditional positive regard for everyone while having the ability to make it clear when they find behaviour to be unacceptable
  • a willingness to learn from others - to see others more as "peers" rather than as part of some hierarchical structure

What I really like about Gen Y is that, despite whether I may like how they do it, they demonstrate an openness and authenticity that enables them to demonstrate these factors.

I'm rather excited by Gen Y. I like the authenticity I see - even if it is often confronting and means that I have to make personal adjustments.

In Gen Y I see the seeds of openness and harmony. Sure there is serious questioning of the status quo in every area of life including religion and politics. Sure they are blunt and, compared with how I was brought up, often rude and apparently dismissive. Sure there are (and will be) vehement discussions and arguments where enthusiasm often trumps knowledge. But all that is both necessary and healthy - there is much today that is well overdue for change. In Gen Y I see people who just might be able to bring about a world with far less hypocrisy and cant than the one we live in today.

Let me know what you think. Use the comments tag below.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Its still a "SNAFU"

On Sunday April 11, the TV station SBS showed an interview with Ken Feinberg of Washington DC in the USA. Feinberg has been appointed to enforce a law passed by the US Congress to curb the excesses of 7 US Corporations bailed out during the global financial crisis. In this interview Feinberg says:

"I have discovered on this job the tremendous gap in perception between the way Wall Street thinks and the way Main Street thinks in America. There is real, justifiable anger and frustration over these excessive Wall Street bonuses, guaranteed salaries, guaranteed commissions - regardless of performance - it is these principles, or these characteristics of Wall Street, that we are trying to change."

As has been said by many people: the only thing we have leaned from history is that we have never learned from history.

Some people in Australia today speak and act as though there never was a global financial crisis. Its as though they live in a fool's paradise in which, because Australia never suffered as badly as every other western economy, there was overreaction by those in authority. When we see the way in which housing prices are again soaring and realise that, again, many people are seeking 100% (or very close to that) finance for their home because they don't want to miss out on this property boom, we can understand the caution and apprehension of Treasury and The Reserve Bank.

There have been figures released recently that indicate the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" in Australia is widening. God forbid that it should ever reach the levels that exists in the USA and many other countries - although I do see here an increasing incidence of people begging.

The system is broke. Traditional approaches are not going to fix it.

We need re-creation. We need Third Generation Leadership.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

On May 25, 1878 the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "HMS Pinafore" opened in London. In this work Ralph Rackstraw, a "common sailor" and Josephine Corcoran, the daughter of his ship's captain, fall in love - a love that is doomed because of the difference in their social stations. However Little Buttercup, a woman selling goods to the ship's complement, makes the startling admission that, many years before when she was a nursemaid, she mixed up two children. She makes amends for her error by making it clear that Ralph Rackstraw is, in reality, the one of high birth and vice versa. Once this is known, the two switch places and love blossoms.

Gilbert's lyrics were, in part, drawing attention to the sometime farcical situation in which command - leadership - belonged to people by right of birth and had nothing whatsoever to do with competence and training.

This was the world of First Generation Leadership and 1G Leaders. A person's birth determined one's place in society and, therefore, their ability to lead. In the 1950's and 60's this was still a significant (even if diminishing) factor.

Today, at least in developed countries, this style of leadership is seldom encountered and even less accepted. We live in a world in which Third Generation Leadership and 3G Leaders are increasingly demanded across the world.

Third Generation Leadership is the component that can draw together the various leadership approaches being used by any organisation so that the leadership provided in this 21st century is increasingly effective.

Successful organisations tomorrow will be those in which Third Generation Leadership is the norm.

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