Saturday, November 9, 2013

The pyramids are crumbling

Fresh from a fine performance of Macbeth at The Hartford Stage I am struck  by the leadership lessons Shakespeare gives us on the corrupting nature of power.  But perhaps it isn't power per se that corrupts as much as it is the leadership paradigm from which that power emanates.    Perhaps it is the militaristic, paternalistic, hierarchical model that ultimately leads to madness - call it the Pyramid model.  But there is another model which is even more powerful, and much less prone to corruption - call it the Circle model.

As the industrial age continues it's fade to a dusty death, I look forward to seeing the pyramidical leadership style, full of sound and fury but ultimately a poor player exit stage right.  It has strut its hour upon the stage.  It's time for a new leader.

Circle leadership has a very different emphasis and is less about the leader and more about the community which makes up the circle.  The implications are huge:

Pyramid leadership is built on hierarchy... Circle leadership is built on networks.
Pyramid leadership is top down...  Circle leadership starts at the center.
Pyramid leadership is about power... Circle leadership is about support.
PL is combative... CL cooperative
PL is agressive... CL is mindful
PL ranks... CL links
PL dictates... CL listens
PL issues commands...  CL builds consensus
PL is based on control... CL on trust
PL breeds compliance... CL creativity
PL demands results... CL - purpose
PL loves efficiency... CL - meaning

I could go on but you get the idea.  Circles are everywhere and the pyramids are crumbling.  Some day we will look back and realize this old power play was a tale told by idiots - ignorant players who kept thinking they could change the outcome of this tragic power play.  But until the fundamental leadership structure changes we're simply changing the cast rather than the script.

I say Out, damned pyramid!