There is one key characteristic of leadership that I believe is becoming increasingly important in today’s interconnected world: infinity.
Today, more and more organizations operate in an environment where true success is the result of the collective work of everyone inside and outside companies or teams. To succeed as leaders, we must learn to solve problems without full control and absolute power.
This is where boundless leadership becomes important. Today’s products, companies, and ecosystems of contacts are coalitions, and leaders must find a way to unlock their collective potential and channel their collective energy to achieve a series of commonly desired results.
There are three leadership practices that I find particularly effective catalysts for building boundless leadership:
1. Uniting the coalition around a common great challenge.
Boundless leaders need to look beyond their interests and the goals of their teams and identify and set a major challenge and set of desired results for the coalition to achieve. Inspiring the collective team and uniting it around this common mission is the basis of everything that follows.
2. Defining tasks and assembling a team.
Once they have defined a challenge and a measure of success, leaders need to determine what needs to be done to achieve the desired results and recruit the right people. In today’s world, teams are rarely made up of members for whom you have direct responsibility, but they can be particularly effective as long as they are united around the challenge and understand how their work contributes to the well-being of society.
3. Define the principles of compromise
It is normal for frictions to occur which slow down the team. A common reason for them is that sometimes the great common challenge requires one of the members to prioritize teamwork over their daily duties. It is these situations that are a test of boundless leadership. If we expect our teams to fight the same battles that we avoid by delegating our tasks to our colleagues, then we are failing as leaders. One way to mitigate conflicts is to define the principles of compromise.
The senior leadership team must discuss and agree on the principles it collectively supports so that the team can act quickly and confidently. For example, when launching a new product, the problem of “launch date – plenty of features – value for money” often arises. Boundless leaders are looking for a way to explicitly prioritize these principles so that the coalition can create the perfect product on time.
I will emphasize the obvious – it is not easy and I struggle with these obstacles every day. But our ability to point out the great challenge, recruit and manage the best talent in endless ways, and provide guidance on the principles of compromise when conflict inevitably arises can be a great first step to success.