[Letters] Connective leadership in network ageDr. Jerome Glenn, the chairman of The Millennium Project and a renowned futurist, foresees that the network (an organization or a system which connects each other) will gain much more power in the coming age.
More specifically, he predicts that spirit and technology will be converged and intellectual capabilities of individuals will be combined with technology and revealed as collective intelligence in the future.
In addition, James Champy, one of world’s best management professionals, asserted, through the concept of X-Engineering, that creative innovation in businesses requires that both internal and external networks have organic connection.
This assertion contains technological revolution and the reorganization of global economic logic as the world has become even due to digitalization and network, and businesses are changed to have cooperative relations going beyond competition.
What I’d like to emphasize is the expansion of value networks, which is the basis of businesses’ value-creating activities. That is, suppliers, consumers and potential consumers as well as the company are now actively participating in the production process of products and services.
In this changed management paradigm, how should the role of a leader be? The key point is a connective leadership that organically establishes and activates networks. It is a leadership of cooperation, not confrontation, and that of communication, not an order.
The connective leadership should be able to flexibly integrate diverse thoughts and values. To collaborate with members of the value network, active participation, sharing and openness among members are required. To achieve this, connective leaders should satisfy the following.
First, they should enhance mutual understanding (of desire, needs and expectations of members, such as customers, suppliers and employees) among members and share knowledge reciprocally. This will enable members to help each other and create new values because they can recognize by themselves that they are the active subjects of value-creating activities and innovation, not passive objects. And a big bang of creative knowledge occurs through integrated thinking.
Second, they should take a win-win approach. The network age is highly interdependent and interrelated in the rapidly changing environment and emphasizes diversity. Therefore, they should concentrate on building trust in the negotiation process so mutual cooperation can be made for the long term. They should also change unilateral negotiation into a something mutually beneficial.
Lastly, they should understand and respect the culture of other countries with a global orientation. They should have multicultural values because the world is closely connected politically, economically and culturally. When doing so, they can resolve problems and make decisions flexibly and comprehensively going beyond ethnicity and nationality.
To become a connective leader in the network age, you should, above all, have a positive point of view. You should embrace members who have diverse values with an open mind and build a free communication culture in which they can draw creative ideas.
As Jean Bluemen, a professor of Claremont Graduate School, recommended in his book, “Connective Leadership,” that we share a creative future through mutual trust. Now leaders should make a happy world in which they can live together by establishing organic networks.
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Choi Bo-young, director of strategic planning at the Competition Consulting Company and a U.S. ABNLP master practitioner