Provocative Propositions

In the hyperactive and challenging world in which we all live, it is becoming harder and harder for business leaders to find time to read, reflect and gain insight from the many valuable sources at our disposal.

In "Provocative Propositions", The Beacon Group attempts to fill that void by offering our opinion, often rather pointed, on a wide array of issues we believe are relevant to leading a modern organization.

The articles are catalogued into 12 categories so you can quickly and easily find a topic of particular interest. We then offer three easy steps under the heading "In Our Opinion" to help business leaders take action on the key themes.

Simply click on the category and read away.

Committed to Leadership
"I don't know about this…" he said looking at himself in the mirror.

"Trust me, we've all been doing it wrong for a long time" replied the salesperson.

"This isn't going to turn out to be another one of those wacky fads is it?"

"No, not at all, this isn't the next big thing; it's going to be the only true thing."

"I'm still not sure about this, um, what kind of leadership did you say this was again?"

"Unnatural."

"I'll take it."

The first time anyone tries on a new style of clothes, there is a point at which it feels awkward. This feeling of awkwardness is often accompanied by a sense of self-consciousness. At this point, it can go one of two ways.

First, the self-consciousness wins, and the person reverts back to their "comfy" clothes, waiting for the style to catch on with more people. Or, possibly, the person's confidence in the style dominates, and everyone looks up to them for their bold, forward-looking style.

Someone has to go for it. It might as well be you.

David Dotlich and Peter Cairo debuted a new style of leadership detailed in their book "Unnatural Leadership". The trouble is, they did it in 2002, and nobody has been brave enough to try it on.

Sure it feels awkward, sure it's "haute leadership", but it's the way business is moving, and you'd better get on this runway.

Fake Leadership?

Unnatural leadership is by no means any sort of pre-fab, manufactured, processed leadership. It is about being the opposite of just about everything that people have imagined a leader is. The model of leadership changed years ago, and it is time to truly change the practice of leadership.

Brainwash Leadership

Developing new leadership habits and behaviours may take some time to get used to, so attacking what you've believed in the past may be the quickest way to start practicing unnatural leadership. Leaders are not perfect, not to be idolized, and not fail-proof. This humility will position leaders to develop stronger bonds with the secret of their success, their employees.

Three Dimensional Leadership

To further illustrate how Unnatural Leadership is different from the dominant style of leadership, Dotlich and Cairo break what they call "Leadership Instincts" into three categories called "Challenges":

Personal Challenges - leaders must challenge themselves

Team Challenges - leaders must challenge those around them

Organizational Challenges - leaders must challenge the boundaries of their industry

By understanding that leadership is no longer a singular entity, the likelihood of an organization being successful is increased exponentially.

Non-Organic Leadership

Speed and execution is the name of the game in business today. Therefore, there is no time to let Unnatural leadership develop organically. The mandate is again, unnatural; learn the components of Unnatural Leadership and put them into practice immediately.

In Our Opinion
The Beacon Group's Keys to Becoming an Unnatural Leader

Lie to yourself - You will find yourself questioning your choice to become this new (and improved) type of leader. Tell yourself that "everyone is doing it", although the reality is that the majority of people in business are not prepared to step up to this challenge.

Bad Habits - Old habits are hard to break. If, however, you want to succeed as a leader, break them quickly. Develop some "bad habits" that work against your old Leadership Habits.

Beg, Borrow or Steal - Make a list of Dotlich and Cairo's 10 Unnatural Instincts, and find leaders that have already chosen to lead using one or more of the instincts. Immediately "steal" and copy what they are doing.

Exert Peer Pressure - The worst thing that could happen once you have committed to Unnatural Leadership is to let it fall out of fashion. Your job is to use some "peer pressure" to ensure that it takes hold for years to come within your organization.

Our Monthly Rant
Sled Dog Leadership

In many cases, Leadership is practiced with a sled dog mentality, in other words, do exactly what the dog ahead of you does. Rarely does anyone try to actually get to the front of the pack.

This nearsightedness can be a critical flaw within an organization. If one's leadership style doesn't evolve, and quickly, it will eventually be so out of sync from what one's employees are looking for that all credibility will be lost.

Why then is this lack of evolution present in most cases of leadership?

Why, because it's easy. It's the path of least resistance. The "old" leadership style worked for the last guy, so it's bound to work for me. As Dotlich and Cairo write, however, the world has moved from "Great Man Theory" to "Chaos Theory". Change in leadership style is only natural.

Adapting one's leadership style to match the "new" style of unnatural leadership can unlock new enthusiasm in employees, uncover new synergies, and create a strong foundation for the future of the organization.
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