This week, in the midst of watching COP26 unfold (seeing some of our clients in attendance), I could but think about how leading in transition is not only an act of leadership, but an act of partnership. In the pre-pandemic world, leaders were expected to develop clear boundaries – around their vision, their organisation and the capabilities which made their teams thrive. As noted by a well-known CEO ‘We partner when we need to and compete when we should’. It exemplifies this approach to leadership.
In his seminal work into business ecosystems, Prof. Ron Adner provides us with a fresh and timely alternative – a more expansive view of leadership and partnering…
The presumption of centrality, which drives many leaders to see their organisation at the center of an ecosystem, makes it harder to establish the relationships needed to achieve their goals while sustaining the ecosystem on which their business relies.
What we know is this:
- Where traditional business model tools optimize for our position at the center, we have tools for designing partnerships that capture a larger share of the inherent opportunities in the ecosystem.
- Where traditional leadership development often begins with the leader and their immediate environment, leading for ecosystem success can now be experienced by leaders and learned
- Where profitability was the (only) measure of success in one’s position in the ecosystem, profit and impact now more readily reflect in investors’ perceptions, beyond the leader’s immediate reach. We create a premium for our full contribution to the ecosystem.
To lead with partners, we sometimes need to follow – and ecosystem strategies that help us discern when each should be chosen.
Have a good weekend everyone!
Saar Ben-Attar (A Connector Beyond Limits)
Our Manifesto 2.0
Sustainable Innovation and Impact, by Cary Krosinsky and Todd Cort.
The 2021 Shared Value Leadership Summit (recordings).