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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