If leadership is needed everywhere in the organization, is it possible that the problem is not that there is a lack of leaders, but instead that there are organizational structures that limit the opportunity of others to lead? Even more importantly, is it possible that change is so difficult in many organizations because, by the time a problem is evident enough to be addressed at the top, it is already to late to get in front of it?
I had the opportunity to hear Gary Hamel speak a number of years ago and was impressed by his thought leadership and his practicality. The author of Competing for the Future and Leading the Revolution has always been a futurist who has challenged the status quo.
Along with McKinsey,the Harvard Business Review, and his colleagues at the London Business School, Hamel has created the Management Innovation Exchange to offer a platform for sharing ideas and examples of leading throughout the organization. Through that venue, the HBR/McKinsey Leadership Challenge has been created for the best disruptive idea or practice in syndicating leadership. Click on those links to discover more about the prize and the challenge.
A final word about what is exciting to me regarding this approach. Traditionally we academics go off into a lab or an office, do surveys, and try to find something meaningful to share in regards to management theory. The approach of the Leadership Challenge is to reach out to those places where positive action is taking place, and make it available for the rest of us.
Here is a link to a quick but fascinating interview with Gary Hamel regarding this approach: Interview with Gary Hamel