Well I’m sitting in the only ‘business meeting’ hotel convenient to the M4, Valleys and Cardiff and it’s a strange world if I'm honest. Firstly I’m sitting here in casual dress, and jeans are definitely not the standard dress in this establishment. However, what’s strange is the conversations going on around me. Now I don’t normally eves-drop on peoples conversations, but some of these people are what my Grandfather would call ‘Characters’. That is they are loud and wanting to be the centre of conversation. I have one former student (seems to happen everywhere I go these days, and is a distinct sign of age) sitting opposite trying to sell something with great care and concentration and another by the side, desperately trying to convince the three quiet suits he’s their man…..why, he’s even written a book on the subject. Yet despite this, his loud tie, flamboyant arm gestures and of course obligatory book, not gaining much ground with his surrounding suits…..
I’ve never felt at home with the business world or indeed business discourse. It is as I grow more experienced (okay older) with running various organisations and tired of the traditional Business School teachings, (which for the most part of not moved on since the 1990’s), I grow more comfortable with this gap. This world ‘ant-just like that’ I was once told by a leading business academic Charles Handy. Which was a strange tone of voice for a very ‘well-to-do’ chap like Charles, but his point was clear, books, theory (which is someones experience made formal) are fine but they don’t help much in real world of business itself. And why should it…..its someone else's experience....simples!
I have often said that people are inherently messy, than getting a group of them together in one place for one cause is well, even more messy and yet Business Schools and society seems to expect the manager to manage this mess into order, neatness, uniformity and well structure. Its just not going to happen. The 21st Century needs to understand that whilst we may all dress the same, we are not the same underneath. The great company understands this and celebrates individuality, mess and creativity which results. Great service doesn’t come from a company or organisation, it comes from a human at the point of contact with that customer.
Lets stop management, managing and all that silly stuff produced about people in organisations in our failing Schools and lets start ‘emergent leading’ or allowing the ‘mess-influence’ to start moving us into the sustainable world of great companies.
Leadership is about, passion, people, energy and love. Its not about, the appearance, the tie, the strategy or the ‘book’….they are all meaningless if you don’t love people, can handle the mess each day and have the energy to lift others to that happy place who are delivering your product, service or simply doing the back office stuff.
You have to love it, for it to work. I always say that the day you get paid for the thing you love you will stop working….