Is traditional leadership on its way out? Today leadership is about Creativeship, which he defines as “the creation of sustainable cultures and business models.”

Is traditional leadership on its way out?

Ray Williams | Feb 26, 2013 5:47 PM ET
In an earlier article in the Financial Post, I argued “If management is so good at predicting outcomes through analytical and scientific methods why have so few public companies performed well?” The leadership of today’s business institutions has increasingly been put under the microscope.

“Companies that are managed the traditional way — by executives developing analytically driven strategy and shaping the organization to meet the needs of the business as they see them — are obsolete. Management as we have known it, is too cumbersome,” argues Thomas Hout in an article in the Harvard Business Review.  That sentiment is also held by Alan Murray, who in an article in the Wall Street Journalwrites that management, as an innovation, won’t survive the 21st century.

Barbara Kellerman, author of The End of Leadership, contends that the leadership industry is a $50 billion a year business, that has been unable to produce true leaders and in essence, failed. Kellerman argues while leaders once dominated and controlled followers, now followers are more educated and independent, and leaders must now rely on influence and persuasion.

Bob Kelleher, author of Creativeship: A Novel for Evolving Leaders contends the definition of leadership as “the ability to lead people, build fellowship and make money” is archaic and so “yesterday.”

Kellerher argues that today leadership is about Creativeship, which he defines as “the creation of sustainable cultures and business models.” He identifies six “prominent and overlapping business priorities” that are essential to creativeship: purpose, engagement, performance, innovation, branding, and growth. A former Fortune 500 chief human capital officer and founder of  The Employee Engagement Group Kellerher presents his argument in an interesting and engaging manner in a story or novel format. It follows a retired management consultant Joe Daniels in a review of his career and what he sees missing in management today. The treatment results in a thought-provoking and interesting read.

Whether we accept the proposition of Kelleher or Kellerman, Murray or Hout manyemployees now are very capable of managing themselves, and we have less need for managers, it’s clear that the purpose and effectiveness of leadership development and training is under scrutiny.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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