The Picture of the Future in a Box - Update

Update: Ross Dawson writes about the importance of 3D printing in his post - How 3D printing will transform the retail industry: the opportunities.

This post is a continuation of the ideas presented in The End and The Beginning. In this one, I want to focus on three culture shifts that impact what leadership means in the 21st century.

A picture of the future in a box

Let me begin with this picture. 3dsystems-RapMan-Students-6

Here is a student using a three-dimensional printer. The blue object in the middle of the picture is being printed. This is a kit that individuals can buy for around $1,300.

All you need is a basic CAD program to begin to create prototypes of your ideas. 

I recently saw this model, RapMan 3.1, and the BFB-300 3D printer demonstrated at Hatchfest in Asheville. Rajeev Kulkarni, Vice President of Global Engineering for 3D Systems spoke on the uses of 3D printing.  His presentation described a extremely wide spectrum of application for this technology. The most impressive use of 3D printing is to create human organs from the cells of the recipient. See Antony Atala's TED2011 presentation to grasp the magnitude of this innovation in medicine.

This picture of innovative technology points to the social change that is occurring because of the advance of technology. Besides lowering the cost of prototyping and manufacturing new products, people can now take their ideas from conception to market in a shorter period of time.  Kulkarni spoke about what used to take months to produce that now can be done in a matter hours or days.

Three Shifts

As I listened to Rajeev Kulkarni's Hatch presentation, I realized that in these printers I saw three significant social shifts. When the cost of manufacturing and production time are reduced, and the technology becomes affordable for individual use, then we are moving through a transition period from one era to the next.   The shifts that I see taking place are:

1. From consumers to creators / producers

2. From mass market to mass customization

3. From a mass culture to a local culture

 Let me describe each.

1. From consumers to creators / producers

With the use of basic design software and the RapMan 3d printer, any individual can become a producer of products for sale. The materials that can be used in the printing process are extensive. So, no longer will people have to depend on the marketplace to provide the products that he or she needs. With some ingenuity and business sense, they can make a shift from being a consumer of products to being the creator and producer of them.

Of course, six billion people will not automatically shift from being consumers to creators / producers. And every producer needs consumers to buy her product. Yet, it does not take many people embracing this shift in culture to dramatically impact it. The picture above is of an school girl in England using the RapMan printer.

Imagine every school in your school district having a 3d printer to complete a learning process of idea creation to product completion. Imagine the change of mind that comes to the students in that school when they can create, and not just consume.  Imagine a generation of men and women who think of themselves as creators and producers, as leaders, rather than just consumers of other peoples' creative output. 

One of the first realizations I had about 21st century leadership was that it was about personal initiative, not about roles. Leadership begins with personal initiative. Tools like these 3D printers place into the hands of people the opportunity to initiate, to create, and to produce products and solutions that can make a difference. 

2. From mass market to mass customization

The nature of product development cycles used to be months, even years, necessary to bring a product to market. As a result, it required that product to have as wide an appeal and as long a shelf life as possible. With the advent of technologies, like 3D printers, this is changing. Now in a matter of a few hours, a specialize part can be designed and produced for a customer.

There are a couple implications for this shift.

First, it changes how a company relates to the marketplace. In a one-size fits all world, the marketplace is the lowest common denominator. In a mass customized world, the individual is the market. Marketing to individuals is different than to a mass culture. This is the insight that Chris Anderson wrote about in his book The Long Tail.

Second, it makes the relationship between manufacturer and consumer more important. I've learned this as a consultant. I cannot approach any project as if there is a formula that applies to every other organization in their industry. I have to build a relationship of interest, inquiry and adaptive response to meet not only their expectations, but their needs. I enter into their organizational setting with a set of tools, not unlike a 3D printer, though I don't have one, and use my tools to address the needs that they have.

In a mass customized world, relationships matter, and that is a key to managing the shifts that I'm identifying here.

3. From mass culture to local culture

Prior to the 20th century, life for most people from the beginning of time was experienced in small towns. I remember my grandfather telling me near the end of his long life that the most significant invention in his life time was the radio. When asked why, he said, "Because it showed us what life was like in other places."

The 20th century was a century lived on a global scale, with World Wars and multi-national corporations, and, with institutions that were designed for a mass culture. It was a perspective where one size fits all, and that all people are to be treated a like. Individuality was rebellious and conventionality was the norm.

Those days are slipping away as innovations, like 3D Systems printers, make it possible to create a business that serves customers globally from an office in a small town with an internet connection.  It is the twin developments of innovation for individual productivity and the failure of large organizations to function in a one-size fits all world.

As a result, the meaning of global and local is changing. It is less about a mass market culture of sameness, and more about a culture of relationship where I can serve you, regardless of where you or I live. We can be connected. We can communicate, collaborate and coordinate our projects from wherever we sit today.

It isn't just that we live in a time of the long tail, or that technological innovation provides a basis for mass customization or a better foundation for individual initiative. Each is true. At a deeper level, it means that any individual with a minimum investment can pursue their own sense of calling as a person, and do it in a social context of others who share their vision and commitment. This is an emerging reality that will seriously impact the nature of leadership and organizational design in the future.

One way of understanding this development is to see this as the ascendency of the local. I've written about it here, here and here.

The key to making a local orientation work is openness. For many people, local is just another word for provincial, or closed. However, if local is less physical place, and more a relational space, then we can begin to see that my local can include colleagues in Japan, Pakistan, England, Canada, and my neighbors nearby in Asheville.

In a local community, you share a concern for people, for families, for education systems, the business community and for those less fortunate. It is a concern for the whole person, not just for the transaction.

For example, I can share a concern that my friends in California have for the economic and social conditions of their small coastal town, and feel that as their community grows, that I contribute to their growth.

A local community orientation can function in any social or organizational structure. It is the heart of team work. It brings personal initiative, shared responsibility, and common goals and values together.

Leading Through These Shifts

The implications of these shifts for organizational leaders is fairly simple. It means that instead of being organizational process managers, we must become culture creators. The culture that forms from our leadership provides an open environment for individual initiative, relationship building, and shared responsibility.

The local in this sense is like the ancient Greek polis as described by Victor Davis Hanson in his fascinating book, The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization. He writes in the introduction,

The early Greek polis has often been called a nexus for exchange, consumption, or acquisition, but it is better to define it as an "agro-service center." Surplus food was brought in from the countryside to be consumed or traded in a forum that concurrently advanced the material, political, social, and cultural agenda of its agrarian members. The buildings and circult walls of a city-state were a testament to the accumulated bounty of generations, its democratic membership a formal acknowledgment of the unique triad of small landowner, infantry soldier, and voting citizen. The "other" Greeks, therefore, were not the dispossessed but the possessors of power and influence. Nor is their story a popular account of slaves, the poor, foreigners, and the numerous other "outsiders" of the ancient Greek city-state. The real Greeks are the farmers and infantrymen, the men and women outside the city, who were the insiders of Greek life and culture.

The rise of independent farmers who owned and worked without encumbrance their small plots at the end of the Greek Dark Ages was an entirely new phenomenon in history. This rougly homogeneous agrarian class was previously unseen in Greece, or anywhere else in Europe and the surrounding Mediterranean area. Their efforts to create a great community of agrarian equals resulted, I believe, in the system of independent but interconnected Greek city-states (poleis) which characterized Western cutlure.

The shifts indentified in this post, to me, point to a similar opportunity that the early Greek farmers had. Through their collaborative relationship of shared responsibility, together they created the Greek polis that remains as the model for what cities and communities are in the West.

The ascendency of the local will come as a result of these shifts. And with it a new conception of leadership as more personal, more collaborative, more focused on impact, will emerge to provide it descriptive power that inspires innovation.

Meatball Sundae - Seth Godin - A review

I'm a regular reader of Seth Godin's weblog, and have all of his books, at least I think I have. Yesterday, IMeatball_sundae_cover_seth_godin_2 picked up his latest - Meatball Sundae. It may be his best since Permission Marketing released almost a decade ago.

As in every Seth Godin book, there are lots of insightful ideas.  Meatball Sundae is no different. In this book he is comparing Old Marketing with New Marketing. Old Marketing is mass marketing of average products to average people. New Marketing is totally different.

New Marketing leverages scarce attention and creates interactions among communities with similar interests.  New Marketing treats every interaction, product, service, and side effect as a form of media. Marketers do this by telling stories, creating remarkable products, and gaining permission to deliver messages directly to interested people.

Memorize that quote. It is the heart of Seth's book and is the key to understanding what the future holds for your business. Don't be fooled. This isn't about marketing tactics. And in a sense it isn't about marketing as we all tend to think about it. It is however a radical departure from the traditional thinking about organizations. It is this idea in particular that makes this book worth buying, reading, and sharing with as many people as possible.

Follow the train of thought in this next quote.

The lesson is that specific marketing models require specific organizational models to back them up.  Which comes first? You find an organizational model that will take advantage of the marketing tools available to you.

What Seth is telling us that we organize our business in terms of how we market. What this means is that building the marketing strategy comes first, and the organization's structure is a almost a secondary consideration.3dmissionvaluesvision

I've been thinking this for sometime and see it terms of my Three Dimensions of Leadership - Ideas, Relationships and Organization Structure (see the diagram). In other words, the structure of your organization is determined by what your mission is and who your market is, not the other way around as typically the case. Structure follows purpose and relationships, instead of structure defining purpose and squeezes relationships into compartmental silos of structural activity.

If we hear what Seth is saying, we are going to have to rethink what business we are in. The topping of the sundae is New Marketing, and the meatball is the commodity that we are trying to sell to the masses. They don't offer an appetizing combination.

If we hear what Seth is saying, then we have to choose between being a producer of mass consumer commodities or we are going to serve The Long Tail of a potentially lucrative niche market.  The choice determines the marketing approach and therefore the organizational design. Read the book and you'll get a clear idea what the choice clearly is.

The more I think about what Seth Godin has given us in his latest book, the more I am impressed with his insights in the nature of business in the new world of New Marketing. It is relevant to everyone of my clients past, present and future, and to every volunteer organization where I give my time and talent. And most specifically, it has challenged me to do that which I've been dragging my own feet for years, and that is to revamp my online presence. Now I understand. Thanks Seth.

There is much more in this short book. I'll leave it to you to find the nuggets. There are not many must reads, but this is certainly my first of the new year.

Recession-proof Leadership

What should an organizational leader do when a recession hits their industry or their business?

In 2002, I went through a three month stretch with no work. It convinced me that many of my assumptions about what I was doing were wrong or not sustainable. So, I made changes. Lots of changes, and am still doing so six years later. I learned a lot during that time. Here's what I learned.

First, a recession is as much an attitude as it is a tightening of the economy. FEAR grips the nation as an economic recession begins to be talked about by the mainstream media.  Be careful about what you read and hear. Take pronouncements with a grain of salt. I'm not saying go into denial. I am saying don't let fear dictate your attitude and actions. 

Think of it this way.

Are their opportunities for me during a recession? There are always opportunities. The question is where are they? What sort of changes will I have to make to take advantage of these opportunities. Just remember, someone is always makes money during a recession. The question is how can your company.

To take this attitude requires you to fight fear and grasp a clear-sighted confidence about the future.

Second, if you are feeling this so are others. Talk about this with your employees. Develop a plan and commitment how you'll address the challenges that come.

Go to your clients and talk with them about what they plan to do. Do this early before they fall into the fear trap. Deepen your relationship with them so that when the recession is over, the relationship is stronger, and they become your greatest advocates for your business.

You aren't doing this because misery loves company. No, the reality is that you can't survive an economic down turn alone. You need clients and customers. They need them too. Talk about what is going to happen, and how you can support each other's business. You never know what sort of new opportunity may emerge.

Third, be aggressive in keeping your name in the public's eye. It may be time to take on a volunteer position that allows you to initiate new relationships with people. Be smart with you marketing dollar, but don't stop marketing. If you disappear, the public won't know, because they will have forgotten about you. When the public is constantly reminded that you are around during a recession, some of them will translate that impression to one of strength in connection to your business.

Fourth, manage your money well. If you need to take a loan or a line-of-credit out, do so before things get tight, and you are in a position of strength to make the decision. Do you homework, and establish your plans for repayment. Keep a clear eye on your bills. If you know that cash will not be on hand to pay a particular bill, call the company and tell them. They will work with you if you make the effort. After all they want your money.

Fifth, invest in a long-term strategic plan. I say this, not because this is part of what I do, but because when the recession ends there will be an increased level of demand, and you want to be prepared to take advantage of it. If a recession hits, think of it as a weekend retreat where you can take time to get your business house in order. Establish a plan of action for the next three years can give you all sorts of new areas to explore during the recession. Think of a recession as a correction in the system, and when it is over the system is healthy and you want to be ready to roll with it.

In summary, you have to look at a recession as an opportunity to regroup, rethink, repair, rework, renew and recommit to being at your best for your company. It starts with your attitude and it is translated in action in your relationships and in your future development plans.

If you have additional suggestions, offer them in the comments. They can be just the right help for someone.

"It's all about relationships"

My local paper - the Asheville Citizen-Times - profiles a business leader just about everyday.  Most of them are not very interesting.  Today's profile caught my eye.  It is a profile that accompanies an article recognizing Janet Moore as nonprofit PR executive of the year selected by PR News.  Janet is director of communications and marketing at Mission Health & Hospitals here in Western North Carolina.

What caught my eye was her advocacy of the importance of relationships in the growth of Asheville. I happen to agree with her. But that is not what I am used to hearing. So I sent her an email to see if she would answer some questions for my blog. She kindly consented.  Here's our exchange.

Questions 1: In the profile, you say you learned from your experience at McDonald’s that “operations drives marketing.” What do you mean by that, and could you give an example?  

As a young account executive working on the McDonald's account, I was full of ideas      to promote products both old and new -- everything from trayliners to games. Inevitably the store manager or owner operator would ask, "How is this going to affect operations?" For example, will the promotion require the behind-the-counter crew to add more steps or ask more questions? Will the time required change the work flow behind the counter and impact cooking and serving efficiency? The store managers and owner operators taught me that when you are in the service business, marketing and operations staff have to talk to one another...a lot.

Question 2: In referring to the Asheville business community, you say, “It's all about relationships.” From your experience, what is the key to making relationships in a business community work?  

The key to making relationships in the business community work is in finding common ground. While e-mail is great, it is no replacement for face-to-face interaction. In a community the size of Asheville, I've found that serving on community boards and getting involved with service organizations, like the Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, are all excellent ways to build relationships that extend beyond professional distinctions. What you learn is that seemingly unrelated issues are in fact inter-related. A good case in point is the current challenge facing our community in caring for uninsured patients. It is more than a healthcare issue. It is an economic development issue; our region needs healthy, well-educated workers to succeed in today's highly competitive economic development world. It's not enough to provide episodic care in the Emergency Room, which Mission and the other hospitals in our region do very well. As a region we need to be promoting health lifestyles at school and in the workplace. No one group can tackle this problem alone. It has to be done together. The December 30 issue of The New York Times featured a front-page story about the role pharmacists are playing in helping manage health problems and costs. The example cited was our own Asheville Project, a collaboration between      the city, Mission and community-based pharmacists. Three very different entities found common ground -- improving the quality of life for employees with diabetes and reducing the cost of their care. This collaboration has been so successful that it is now duplicated in cities around the nation, and the model is now being used with people who have     hypertension, high cholesterol and asthma.

Question 3: You have benefited from knowing how to develop a network of contacts. What’s your      advice about how to network in a community? Especially, if you new in the community, how to do you make those contacts?  

Don't be shy. My daughter kids me about talking to total strangers. In the process, I've made lots of interesting contacts along the way. When I first came to Asheville, I found out who were the key players in the public and private sectors. From there, I started making phone calls (this was in the dark ages before e-mail). I remember agreeing to serve on a board before I even had a job. While my work on the board didn't result in a job, it helped me expand my social contacts, and I had a great time in the process. Volunteering is a great way to connect with people who share your passion.     

Here's the take away for Janet's and my little email exchange.

1. If you aren't seeking to discover common ground with people, you aren't communicating and you aren't building relationships that could be beneficial to your business or to yourself.  How do you define common ground?  Mutual interest? Shared vision for a particular issue?  A past institutional connection. You have begin somewhere, and then you must go somewhere with it.  Common ground that touches you both is a good starting point. Then you have to establish a common bond that makes the connection more important than being merely coincidental.  This is what Janet is talking about with The Asheville Project.

2. Network building requires personal initiative.  Her story is similar to mine. I came to Asheville with three contacts. I called them up. Told them what I was interested in. And out of one meeting with each had over 30 different people to contact.  It is what I still do. In fact, this is exactly what I did in sending Janet an email to comment on her profile in the paper.  It is making a connection and then doing something with it that is mutually beneficial. And that is an important key. Mutually beneficial.

3.  Everything is connected. Marketing and operations. In other words, you have to think about how something will be executed or a plan implemented, not just is this a cool, creative idea.  A lot of wasted time goes into brainstorming that never gets operationalized.  And conversely, there are a lot of operational issues that could use some real creativity to make them function better.

Thanks Janet for your thoughts and congratulations on your award.

Relationships, Networks, Marketing and Leadership

Greg Stielstra's PyroMarketing is a fascinating look at the new world of marketing.  This four and a half minute video captures well Greg's perspective on the future of marketing.  This is one of those books that I have gained helpful insight into the marketing of my work that is very niche oriented. 


Combine PyroMarketing with Chris Anderson's The Long Tail and Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell's Creating Customer Evangelists  and you begin to see a whole new world for your business or organization. Add into this the insights of Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, Emanuel Rosen in The Anatomy of Buzz, James Surowiecki in The Wisdom of Crowds, Alberto-Laszlo Barabasi in Linked, Everett Rogers in Diffusion of Innovations and Ron Burt in Brokerage and Closure and you have a perspective on the new world of networks, marketing, and leadership.

If you want to distill this down to a simple idea, then consider this.

The future of your business will be determined by your "relationships" with people.  People will embrace your business because they embrace you as a person whom they trust.  People want that connection.  It is one of the reasons why I drive out of my way in order to buy a cup of coffee from Charlie and Letha at The Ugly Mug in Hendersonville.  Business is personal and relational and Greg Stielstra and the rest of these writers understand this in their various ways.

If you were to spend the next year reading the nine books above along with Bill Taylor and Polly LaBarre's Mavericks at Work, you will have reconfigured your mental hard drive to lead in the 21st century. And if you use my Four Questions That Every Leader Must Ask to apply the material from each book, you will revolutionize your approach to business and find new energy and vitality in it.

How do you do that?  Simple, watch.

1. If I implement a PyroMarketing strategy right now, what should I expect the Impact to be over the next year?

2. Who will be Impacted by the implementation of a PyroMarketing strategy?

3. What opportunities will I gain over the next year if I implement a PyroMarketing strategy?

4. What problems must I address or obstacles that are in my way from implementing a PyroMarketing strategy?

If you were to ask the same questions of each book, it would require you to be clear about the message and its implications for action.  Along the way, you would find yourself arriving at not a set of different ideas, but a cohesive, coherent picture of how you market, build relationships in networks, and find ways to lead that you never knew existed.

Make no mistake, this requires each of us to work hard and smarter than we have ever done. The opportunities for impact are greater now than every before.  Give it try.

Turning the Invisible Visible - Taking Time to See People

Bill Kinnon points to "brand owner" Mike Wagner.  As I read through his posts, I came across this one - Sorry ... I didn't see you.  Here's a quote.

"... What delightful things can happen when the invisible become visible.

Relevant brands emerge when invisible people become visible:

  • Starbucks saw the invisible and created a “third place” for them
  • Saturn took an honest look at the invisible pain of buying a car and changed how they sold cars
  • Apple knew the invisible distress of “techies” and created the iPod to bring cool to accessorizing with technology

Taking time to really see people can show you so much and sometimes it can heal what seems broken. Try slowing down, looking, seeing, engaging, listening, and SEE where that leads you in business and in life."

And ... what ... is ... required ... to see ... people ... who ... are ... invisible?

You have to take your eyes off yourself.

Whatever it is that you are involved in, in order to turn invisible people into visible people, you have to  recognize that they are there, and not there for you, but you for them.  It is the key to understanding the establishment of initial relationships of trust in any field of endeavor.

As Mike suggests by his link here, making the invisible visible touches people in remarkable ways. When I talk with people about the Impact they want to have, it isn't simple about results or outcomes. It is about how you make a difference in the lives of people. 

Now you can see this Free Hugs campaign as silly and superficial.  If you read the comments below the YouTube screen, you'll see some of that sarcasm.  And just giving away free hugs won't create any sustainable change.  However, what it points to is that we need to connect to people in a physically caring way in the midst of the lives and work that we do.  This is where healing begins and genuine relationships start.

Monetized Integrity?

I haven't blogged on anything from Seth Godin in a long time.  Here's something that is worth noting and pondering.  Read the whole thing.

One reason blogs are such a boon to most of our business and professional life is that they provide a way to extend our reach to people who would never have the opportunity to find out about us.

At the heart of this personalized communication medium is integrity.  Integrity doesn't mean you can't sell something through your blog.  It means that you can't simultaneously be a "Dear Diary, this is what I did today" and sell time shares in Bermuda. 

Trying to combine evangelism of products we love with paid product evangelism confuses people.  It raises trust questions.  It isn't that one or the other shouldn't be done.  They just don't belong in the same place on the same blog.  And I don't think it sufficient to disclose one as unpaid, and the other paid.  They are different.  You can't monetize your integrity.  You can monetize your voice and your opinions. Just make sure that you don't squander your integrity in the process.

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Real Life Leadership: Personal initiative for impact is Leadership

My latest Real Life Leadership column - Personal initiative sets apart leaders - is online.

What brought me to this conclusion?  What do I mean by this?

Over twenty years ago, I took my first leadership seminar.  Seventeen years ago I began a collegiate student leaders program.  Ten years ago I started my leadership consulting practice.  In much of this I have followed the experts.  I've read more books that I can recall. 

I've led workshops, conducted vision processes, developed strategic plans, mediated conflict resolution, helped form new organizations, and led a variety of efforts and organizations.  I've looked for ideas, models, methods, and systems for leading organizations.  I've talked with all kinds of leaders about their experience, their ideas, what works and doesn't. 

The current thinking about leadership can be classified in two ways, and then those can be distinguished in two ways as well.

Most leadership writing is either about working with people or about managing organizational structure and systems. 

Most of the writing about working with people is about how to develop teams, how to communicate, etc.  Most of it is excellent material, but it does not distinguish leaders from followers.  It is purely about how to work with people.  It is worth reading, but in my estimation it is not primarily about leadership, but about the people side of management.  The material is valuable whether you are in a leadership position or not.

Writing about management focuses on the mechanics of organizations.  Again, the ideas are valuable, but not necessarily about leadership.  The ideas are valid whether you are in a leadership position or not.

I make this distinction because what I don't find in virtually all this literature is an emphasis on personal initiative. I do see this in ways in texts about entrepreneurialism and in descriptions of historical and contemporary military leadership.  Why? Because both organizational ventures are obsessessively focused on outcomes or impact. 

Did I have a bias toward this when I began?  I don't think so.  Twenty years ago I had no interest in business or military subjects. I was a associate minister in a large downtown church primarily concerned with serving poor families and homeless people. 

So, over the past two decades what has emerged in my own thinking is more of a classical understanding of leadership with a contemporary twist.  Reading Aristotle and the Stoics, and more recently Plato and Xenophon has clarified for me what I've seen missing in most leadership literature.  The importance of leaders taking the initiative to build trust and commitment in those that follow them.  The twist is that in the past, there was always a hard distinction between leader and follower.  Today, I believe that distinction is blurred. Today, organizations need to fill their employee ranks with leaders who practice take personal responsibility to take initiative to create a positive impact for the organization.

My Real Life Leadership column today gets at some of this in looking at the nature of personal initiative.  But it is not simply personal initiative, but the focus of that initiative.  I divide it four categories of initiative.  I'll be brief here, and write more on this later.

 The first category for personal initiative is the Self.  Taking initiative concerning the Self entails developing a clear understanding of human purpose.  That purpose is tied to the nature of the impact we are to have as people, and is determined by the character of the lives we live.  As a person whose perspective is formed within the context of the Christian tradition, I view that purpose as divinely imparted in who we are as individuals.  That each person is a unique being whose gifts,talents, background and life context provide insight as to the  purpose of our lives that is realized in a specific kind of impact.

The second category for personal initiative is People.
No one lives in total isolation.  Leaders lead people, not organizations as Peter Drucker says.  So we initiate toward people.  It begins with our own honesty about our selves, and respect toward other people. We don't use honesty as a weapon, but as a tool for creating a relationships of openness and mutural respect, trust and participation.   Part of a leader's focus in developing these relationships is to foster the same kind of personal initiative by others in their organization. 

The third category for personal initiative is with Ideas.  There are two levels to this area of initiative.  The first is realizing a clarity and coherence of thought that ultimately is a vision for the impact that is desired.  The second level is the ability to articulate this vision or these ideas so that others will share your perspective.  Involved at this level are the tradition skills of communication.  And I include within that the ability to market ideas for impact.

The final category for personal initiative is organizational structure. I view the structure of organizations as that which enable people in relationship with one another to acheived a desired impact.  In this instance, leaders focus on organizational design to enables a wider spectrum of the organization to practice personal initiative for fulfilling the organizations purpose.  By widening the leadership base of the organization, a greater scope of impact is possible.

Leadership initiative is the will of the individual in action to achieve a specific impact. Without initiative, there is no impact, only a passivity that waits for other to do it.  I'll say more about this in future posting.

Brand Autopsy's take on Whole Foods Market

Read John Moore's 10 point description of Whole Food Markets. He is reacting to an article in Business Week.
Here's the list:
1 | Maximum Freedom. Minimum Governance.
2 | Small Pieces Loosely Joined
3 | Getting Bigger by Acting Smaller
4 | Food as Theater
5 | Shoppers as “Brand” Ambassadors
6 | Education Leads to Appreciation
7 | Everything Matters
8 | Price to Value
9 | Profit is a Good Competitive Game
10 | Team Members Make the Difference

What impresses me about this company is their commitment to decentralized leadership.  In essence, it means that the closer the decision is made to the customer, the better.  My question is whether this is a trend or an anomaly?  If it is a trend then we will continue to see large, complex, top-down bureaucratic structures changed to what WFM has developed.  If it doesn't work, then we'll see a chronic internal confict between the past and future in organizations.