Wannabe CEO? You’d Better Be Good.

Reaching for the Stars (Image from the Internet)

My message to anyone who wants to be a CEO or business leader is: there is a difference between change and adaptiveness. And between being adaptive and being good. And you’d better understand that.

In simple terms, adaptiveness implies the creation of an organisation that is able to self-evolve in the context of emerging internal and external needs. It requires creating space for ideas; institutionalising routines, norms and rituals to generate organizational learning and productive tension with the operational system; and processes to experiment and scale innovations not only in terms of how to reach goals, but also how to organize.

Being good implies morality. It means ensuring that an organization brings together an entrepreneurial community that co-elevates to enable both individual development and growth, and societal flourishing. It requires standing up for the integrity of the corporate character and ensuring that organizational virtues are embedded in and embodied by all elements of the organizational system.

Adaptiveness is needed in most businesses these days to ensure viability and survival. Conversely, goodness is required in all businesses to live up to the needs, responsibilities and expectations of today’s society and future generations. And leaders need the practical wisdom to manage both.

We’re not leaders, because we rule. We’re leaders because we truly care.

#transformation #Leadership #personaldevelopment #Agile #Teal
Good Organisations #GoodOrganisations

Selective Discussion

Dilemma? What happens when the need for adaptiveness clashes with the need to be good?

Is being good universal? Is what’s good for me automatically good for everybody else in the world, now and in the future? If not, who says what’s good? Is good even a theoretically valid category?

Dogma? Your reference to humility and pragmatism is very important at this point, because thinking that is based on the “good” as an absolute value is always in danger of becoming dogmatic and uncompromising. Idealists are sometimes particularly ruthless, towards others and towards themselves. Pragmatism knows the meaning of action, aligns itself with it and is content with small steps. Consistency makes the difference and it prevents pragmatism from slipping into arbitrariness or adaptation. It used to be called “epikie”, cleverness, also a virtue.

Dignity at the core! I imagine an idealism that focuses on the recognition of human dignity. However, it is not about humans as perfect or to-be-perfected beings, who are rational and superior to other living beings. For me, this image of man is as obsolete as profit orientation — and both are related to each other. Relationships, organizations and societies become humane or more humane when they give space to people’s strengths and weaknesses, in other words when they help freedom to develop instead of suppressing it, and when they do not exploit vulnerability but respond with empathy and solidarity. That is my idealism and it is not aloof. It “works” in almost every situation and could also fundamentally change a corporate culture. An ethical change management…

Trust matters! I think ultimately it comes down to trust, Otti: leaders who are capable of trusting their people to do what’s required to adapt, people trusting their leadership that they are on the right path with aligned values and purpose and customers trusting the organisations that are adapting to serve their needs without undermining their values.

From: “Sunday Morning Thoughts on LinkedIn” — I will report some of the interesting LinkedIn dialogues here, paraphrased and applying the Chatham House Rule — trying to protect some of the sentiments, thoughts, and above all our stimulating discussions from oblivion ;-)



Disruptive thinker, amateur poet and passionate global C-level transformation leader with over 20 years of experience in cross-cultural strategic change

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Otti Vogt

Disruptive thinker, amateur poet and passionate global C-level transformation leader with over 20 years of experience in cross-cultural strategic change