The Democratization of Leadership

by Linda Bernardi

The Democratization of LeadershipI have rarely been as excited as I am this very moment about all the changes taking place in corporations and enterprises of all sizes around the world. By that I mean the “ Democratization of Leadership”.

What inspired me to write the book ProVoke was to provoke my readers globally about the fact that disruption is the key to innovation, and that the Ecosystem of Disruption™ includes many different players. The constituents of the Ecosystem of Disruption, can not only instigate disruption, but also determine the path of disruption. Democratization is a key outcome.

Why?

When we open up the ecosystem to all the players, we are effectively making every element transparent. These include the leadership, the board of directors, the investors, the entrepreneur and the academic, the phenomenal role/impact of the employees (which make up the company), AND, the unprecedented impact of the market on the success of failure of the enterprise. I call this transparency of the ecosystem = democratization.

As I discuss in detail in ProVoke, markets today can make or break a company’s plans. When Netflix wanted to change its business model the market was outraged, within a day the company changed it’s plans. BofA announced its plans to charge about $5 per ATM transactions, and retracted that insane plan within hours based on market outrage. RIM is struggling because it simply DID NOT listen to the market. In addition to the market, employees today have a phenomenal impact regarding the success or failure of a company. These are just a few examples to highlight what I mean by democratization of leadership.

Gone are the days (or will be gone soon I hope) that a few made decisions for an entire company in an ivory tower. That style of leadership which was neither inspiring nor visionary, is becoming outdated and only the very few insecure ones still clinging on to that pointless old style of leadership.. Today, decisions of leaders are analyzed, sliced up, dissected globally within minutes of any decision being announced. Leaders are ousted based on self serving decisions and transparency is king! Transparency means democratization.

More on this soon dear fellow bloggers, but those leaders who see the light, have already realized that the key to their future success is openness and inclusion of ideas and guidance from all constituents of the ecosystem and see democratization as something to embrace. Those who don’t are sitting tight, guarding the golden handcuffs that the non-democratized board of directors granted them (blindly) when they were recruited. The outcome of democratization of leadership is that moving forward we will compensate leaders based on their vision and execution vs a package guaranteed to them independent of their performance! All of this will be changing dramatically as leadership becomes democratized… It is only a matter of time!

Can you think of anything more inspiring to the rank and file of a company? The tens of millions of talented individuals working in companies who now have a huge impact on the quality and transparency of leadership….That is the power of democratized leadership.

image credit: henricksenlearning.com

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Women in a Culture of DisruptionLinda Bernardi is a Technology Strategist, Investor, and Founder & CEO at StraTerra Partners, The Bernardi Leadership Institute and a Strategic Advisor at Cloudant Inc.  She is also the Author of Provoke, Why the Global Culture of Disruption is the Only Hope for Innovation. For more information: www.lindabernardi.com

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