Chapter 19. Leading the connected company

The primary task of leadership is to communicate the vision and the values of an organization. Second, leaders must win support for the vision and the values they articulate. And third, leaders have to reinforce the vision and the values.

Frederick FedEx Smith

A connected company is a network of loosely coupled, semi-autonomous units. So what is the role of a leader? Leaders should focus on creating an environment of clarity, trust, and common purpose so members know what the company stands for and how it intends to fulfill its promise to customers. And then leaders should get out of the way.

Leading from the Edge

So, if a connected company is a network of autonomous, loosely coupled pods, how do you lead it? What is the role of managers in a connected company?

First, let’s make a distinction between leadership and management. Leadership is about engaging and motivating people. Management is about designing and running the systems that organize the work. Both are important, and certainly one can be both a leader and a manager.

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Peter Drucker once said, “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” If Drucker is right, and I believe he is, then leadership must come first. For if the leader isn’t setting the right direction in the first place, then it doesn’t matter how well the company is managed, because it will be managing ...

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