Beyond Leadership
From Below
Trond Arne Undheim, Ph.D. Leuven, 28 October 2010
twitter.com/trondau
The opinions expressed ...
Which theory is best?
• Trait Theory?
• Great Man Theory?
• Behavioral Theory?
• Participative
Leadership?
• Situational
L...
Which trends are important?
• Consumers?
• Home/work fusion
• Diversity
• Networks?
• Globalization
• Technology
shifts?
•...
Power?
Manage
Decide
Influence
Push
Leadership from below
• A perspective on leadership: No need for a
position in a hierarchy to have influence.
• A perspect...
LFB is not a trend
• Leadership from below is not just a trend
• In fact it is a stable feature of any society
• but it ha...
© Global Nomad Group
My daughter's principles
1. Takes a role: small, powerful, equal
2. Builds deep relationships
3. Negotiates well
4. Convin...
Lessons Learned:
1. Hierarchy buy-in
2. User always involved
Huge track record of sharing – 100 speeches across Europe –
1...
Persuasion
• Don't take no for an answer
– Find new arguments.
– Make yourself relevant.
– Create urgency.
• Get people be...
Result: ePractice.eu
• World's largest: 80 K.
• 700% growth 1st year
• 1461 cases (€ 1 mrd).
• 35 countries.
• Recapitaliz...
Automatic Authority
1. Traditional
– Church, Monarchy
1. Charismatic
– Jesus, Gandhi, Hitler,
Elvis, Lady Gaga
1. Bureaucr...
Sovereignty
• "Listen then, kings, and understand; rulers
of remotest lands, take warning; hear this,
you who govern great...
Negotiated Authority
1. Energy
– Drive, self-confidence, flow
1. Lifestyle
– Nature, family, friends
1. Technology
– Maste...
# 1.1 Energy
Western thinking
• Individual drive
• Killer instinct
Entrepreneurial spirit
• See opportunities
• Take risk
...
# 1.2 Energy
Eastern tenkning
• Collektive drive (Ba)
• Balance (Ki)
Aikido
• Use other's aggression (Ki)
• Care for the o...
# 2 Lifestyle
Scandinavian thinking
• Ecosystem
• Equality
• Being likable
Collaboration NHO-LO
• Friendly, nice leaders
•...
# 3 Technology
Global trends
• Constantly learning
• Digital identity
Internet
• Standardized platform
• Innovation happen...
Business from Below
• Opentech—a Scandinavian IT company
– Customers and offices across the globe.
– Hundreds of employees...
Opentech
• No visible leadership
• No meetings
• No interruptions
Influence without LEADER in the spotlight
Meetings at Opentech
“Deep conversation between a few people
over a beer combined with written proposals
via email is of c...
Oracle
• The Matrix (field, product, geography)
• Customer meetings at centre
• Interruptions ok as long as $ flows
Networ...
Opentech v. Oracle
• Process v. Results
• Programmers v. Salesmen
• Principles v. Pragmatism
• Leadership from below AND h...
Peer Power
• Convince by personality not position.
• Take criticism. Create confidence.
• Carpe Diem. All leadership is sh...
Power?
Place
Positioning
Situation
Convincing
Who wins? Fisherman or Fish?
© Chris Martinez
Should a CEO share power?
1. Top-down is rude. Smart people do not
use their power overtly.
2. Get to know people. Show we...
If all else fails, simply pay more
Scenarios for 2030
1. Lottery: CEO/worker share authority and power.
2. Majority works from home.
3. Results Only Business...
Who will gain power in 2030?
Individual
Agency
Networks
Initiative
Society
Structure
Hierarchy
Delegation
Beyond Leadership From Below
• Despite disruptive
tech...hierarchy
remains systemic
part of society
– Complexity.
– Delega...
Power of individuals
• Despite hype, hard to measure increase.
– Consumer networks are vulnerable.
– Initiative is finite ...
• Hierarchy will still be seen as valid principle
• Only situations and moments give rise to
authority, be it automatic or...
Re-legitimation of hierarchy
• Pendulum swings back. Regression
towards the mean. But...
• Hierarchy will need re-legitima...
Entrepreneurship/Bureaucracy
• Entrepreneurship is indeed fully dependent
on having a persuasive founder, team,
board, inv...
Crazy Simple→
• Getting something done is always difficult.
• Recruiting believers is essential.
• You cannot skip it rega...
True organizational change
• Innovate
incrementally.
• If you can, operate
within existing
frameworks.
Photo courtesy of i...
“Entreprenocracy” still crazy
• Currently is not descriptive of any
organization I know of.
• However, all enterprises tha...
Conclusion
•We need to look beyond
leadership from below, but
not past it.
•Follow when you can.
•Lead when you need.
Beyond Leadership From Below
Beyond Leadership From Below
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Beyond Leadership From Below

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Leadership from below is a perspective on leadership: No need for a position in a hierarchy to have influence. It is also a perspective on life: lead when you need. It is not just a trend. In fact it is a stable feature of any society, but it has recently become trendy. However, despite disruptive
tech...hierarchy remains systemic part of society. Complexity means that delegation is necessary. Also, people love to delegate. So, the pendulum swings back. However, hierarchy will need re-legitimation.

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Beyond Leadership From Below

  1. 1. Beyond Leadership From Below Trond Arne Undheim, Ph.D. Leuven, 28 October 2010 twitter.com/trondau The opinions expressed here are the author’s only and do not necessarily represent those of his employers past or present
  2. 2. Which theory is best? • Trait Theory? • Great Man Theory? • Behavioral Theory? • Participative Leadership? • Situational Leadership? • Contingency Theories? • Transactional Leadership? • Transformational Leadership?
  3. 3. Which trends are important? • Consumers? • Home/work fusion • Diversity • Networks? • Globalization • Technology shifts? • Internet • Smartphones • Social media • Tweetonomics
  4. 4. Power? Manage Decide Influence Push
  5. 5. Leadership from below • A perspective on leadership: No need for a position in a hierarchy to have influence. • A perspective on life: lead when you need.
  6. 6. LFB is not a trend • Leadership from below is not just a trend • In fact it is a stable feature of any society • but it has recently become trendy
  7. 7. © Global Nomad Group
  8. 8. My daughter's principles 1. Takes a role: small, powerful, equal 2. Builds deep relationships 3. Negotiates well 4. Convincing However: she operates in a larger structure
  9. 9. Lessons Learned: 1. Hierarchy buy-in 2. User always involved Huge track record of sharing – 100 speeches across Europe – 10 visits a year from foreign dignitaries Public procurement case (France) Domain: Health and Transport services Origin: France, Interior Ministry http://www.pp.fr A great solution for all public procurement in France. Pilot results from Health and Transport show €90 m savings and 10 tons of paper eliminated yearly on a €1m/year operation. Discuss About us Search Personalize In-depth eHealth eInclusion eGovernment European Awards Share good practice Find a product Find a speaker Find an expert Trying to innovate
  10. 10. Persuasion • Don't take no for an answer – Find new arguments. – Make yourself relevant. – Create urgency. • Get people behind you one by one. – Use goodwill. Let others lead
  11. 11. Result: ePractice.eu • World's largest: 80 K. • 700% growth 1st year • 1461 cases (€ 1 mrd). • 35 countries. • Recapitalized: €10 M. However: such success does not last forever.
  12. 12. Automatic Authority 1. Traditional – Church, Monarchy 1. Charismatic – Jesus, Gandhi, Hitler, Elvis, Lady Gaga 1. Bureaucratic – Governments – Institutions – Corporations
  13. 13. Sovereignty • "Listen then, kings, and understand; rulers of remotest lands, take warning; hear this, you who govern great populations, taking pride in your hosts of subject nations! For sovereignty is given to you by the Lord and power by the Most High, who will himself probe your acts and scrutinize your intentions." Wisdom 6:1-3
  14. 14. Negotiated Authority 1. Energy – Drive, self-confidence, flow 1. Lifestyle – Nature, family, friends 1. Technology – Master only what you need – Ignore the rest Power: Who you are. Who others think you are.
  15. 15. # 1.1 Energy Western thinking • Individual drive • Killer instinct Entrepreneurial spirit • See opportunities • Take risk • Work hard
  16. 16. # 1.2 Energy Eastern tenkning • Collektive drive (Ba) • Balance (Ki) Aikido • Use other's aggression (Ki) • Care for the other (Ba)
  17. 17. # 2 Lifestyle Scandinavian thinking • Ecosystem • Equality • Being likable Collaboration NHO-LO • Friendly, nice leaders • Flat hierarchy Over 2200 work at McDonald’s HQ. In Danish ISS only 80. Both have 500 thousand employees.
  18. 18. # 3 Technology Global trends • Constantly learning • Digital identity Internet • Standardized platform • Innovation happens when we do not follow the instructions
  19. 19. Business from Below • Opentech—a Scandinavian IT company – Customers and offices across the globe. – Hundreds of employees • Oracle—US multinational IT company – Customers, partners, offices globally – 100 thousand employees
  20. 20. Opentech • No visible leadership • No meetings • No interruptions Influence without LEADER in the spotlight
  21. 21. Meetings at Opentech “Deep conversation between a few people over a beer combined with written proposals via email is of course more effective than meetings. A meeting is a bad way of getting something done.” --Opentech CTO
  22. 22. Oracle • The Matrix (field, product, geography) • Customer meetings at centre • Interruptions ok as long as $ flows Network support (customers, partners, competitors more important than support from your hierarchy
  23. 23. Opentech v. Oracle • Process v. Results • Programmers v. Salesmen • Principles v. Pragmatism • Leadership from below AND hierarchy • A question of scale, time and maturity
  24. 24. Peer Power • Convince by personality not position. • Take criticism. Create confidence. • Carpe Diem. All leadership is short lived. • Gain authority by giving, not taking.
  25. 25. Power? Place Positioning Situation Convincing
  26. 26. Who wins? Fisherman or Fish? © Chris Martinez
  27. 27. Should a CEO share power? 1. Top-down is rude. Smart people do not use their power overtly. 2. Get to know people. Show weakness. 3. Grow peer relationships. 4. Let workers fail and still prevail.
  28. 28. If all else fails, simply pay more
  29. 29. Scenarios for 2030 1. Lottery: CEO/worker share authority and power. 2. Majority works from home. 3. Results Only Business Environment (ROBE). 4. Without digital identity you do not exist. 5. A few social media dominate all communication. 6. Your kids will be in jobs providing all of Maslow's hierarchy of needs: fra air, water, food, lodging, sex, self-actualization.
  30. 30. Who will gain power in 2030? Individual Agency Networks Initiative Society Structure Hierarchy Delegation
  31. 31. Beyond Leadership From Below • Despite disruptive tech...hierarchy remains systemic part of society – Complexity. – Delegation. • People love to delegate. Flickr image by carrotcreative
  32. 32. Power of individuals • Despite hype, hard to measure increase. – Consumer networks are vulnerable. – Initiative is finite resource. Reaches saturation. – Bottom-up action is exception. – Internet (1995): did not change everything, and what it changed is elastic, it changes, too. • Ultimately, network effects favor elites.
  33. 33. • Hierarchy will still be seen as valid principle • Only situations and moments give rise to authority, be it automatic or negotiated. • Emergent forms of organizational governance must take this into account.
  34. 34. Re-legitimation of hierarchy • Pendulum swings back. Regression towards the mean. But... • Hierarchy will need re-legitimation – Each organization will need to re-build trust. – Leaders will be replaced by other leaders. – Transparency might increase • Not necessarily a dystopian society.
  35. 35. Entrepreneurship/Bureaucracy • Entrepreneurship is indeed fully dependent on having a persuasive founder, team, board, investor, and first customer. • Bureaucracy is dependent on having a rational structure that makes sense to most of its participants, and one capable of organizing actions beyond the whims of individuals.
  36. 36. Crazy Simple→ • Getting something done is always difficult. • Recruiting believers is essential. • You cannot skip it regardless how good your idea is, what existing power base you may believe you possess. • Initially, all initiatives appear to be without structure, but inevitably a structure forms.
  37. 37. True organizational change • Innovate incrementally. • If you can, operate within existing frameworks. Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, David Marchal
  38. 38. “Entreprenocracy” still crazy • Currently is not descriptive of any organization I know of. • However, all enterprises that survive the 21st century, will have entrepenocracy as its dominant logic.
  39. 39. Conclusion •We need to look beyond leadership from below, but not past it. •Follow when you can. •Lead when you need.

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