Management is about doing what can be seen and executing it well;
Leadership is about envisioning what can’t be seen that spontaneously enrolls people to make it happen.
– Ivan Rosenberg, CEO, Frontier Associates
When America was born it had before it the tremendous opportunity to utilize massive untapped resources, a desire to explore the unknown mindset, an eagerness to be educated and develop the necessary skills to be successful, and a chance to build a new infrastructure without being mired by the outdated ones supporting Europe and Asia.
For most of the past 400 years (dating back to 1620) America has made the most of that opportunity. An analogy is how most law firms or investment firms are similarly opportunistic and mostly transactional (find the client/deal, do the case/deal, next – and bigger and more profitable – case/deal). The problem is that America (and possibly law firms and investment firms) and its mindset, skillset, and infrastructure have become outdated like those of the rest of the world when America was born.
Truth be told seizing an opportunity can get you into the game and win early and expand, but only developing the vision that Rosenberg mentioned at the top can keep you growing.
To Obama’s credit, he has been able to be transformational in his mindset and values. However he is surrounded by transactional and often non-cooperative players. His vision of more jobs (to stem the panic and give fearful out-of-work people something purposeful to do instead of just spinning their wheels), be more energy efficient (America and the rest of the world have not been too kind to the Earth), have better health service (unhealthy people tend to withdraw and not participate) and improve education (we need to go from a “what will it get me” educational myopia to “learning is fun”) is one that can enroll Americans to make happen.
His biggest challenge will be in transforming the American mindset from “all about me” to “all about us” (still not global minded and us vs. them) to “all about we” (becoming communally proactive vs. reactive).*
In essence, how to stop looking for a competitive advantage and replace it with a Collaborative Advantage.
*The best guide that I know for doing this and something that should be on Obama’s short list is Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fisher-Wright.
Visit Dr. Mark Goulston at www.markgoulston.com
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