Thursday, July 31, 2008

Values Based Leadership and Emergence

A conversation about values-based leadership recently had me thinking about emergence, surely this values-based leadership has something more to it than Walking the Talk. This conversation irked me a little as the experienced guy spoke about pulling out this card with the values on it, reading it and then doing something inspired by that... I found this no different than rules based operations, for the blind adherence of idiots and the guidance of the wise... I would reference that, but not sure who to attribute it to.

Aspirational values are a lovely to have and serve as a gross-error check to see if you are really aligned to the organisation. In most cases they are fairly generic and reflective of some societally aspirational values. I suggest then that managing the environment and not the tasks is actually more of values-based leadership. The fact is despite what is on the wall the values of the workplace are often not nearly as aspirational as the writing on the wall. I daresay that during the job hunt or choosing an employee a fair bit of value-based decision making goes on but once the employee-relations is sorted, the values probably fall into a more natural order of seeking the lowest energy method for achieving the optimum outcome given the parameters (i.e. reward structure, workplace layout, regulations and consequences). Thinking about values reminds me of the Dave Snowden story of his daughter's birthday party... they should be monitored so that the good ones are encouraged and the bad ones cancelled out.

I put to you that sometimes the real values of the workplace are knocking off early on a Friday and if you have to look at a card in your wallet you might not really get it.

No comments: