FORWARD21 is a weekly newsletter with top, hand-picked forward thinking human and workplace advice, and resources for 21st-century executives, leaders, and change agents.
How to Stop Following the Herd and Breakout of the Mundane
Back in 2012, I wrote an article for the Cutter Business Technology Journal. It was my first opportunity to share in a professional journal what I was learning from my interviews at 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success.
In the article, The Agile CMMI Conversation Is a Dead End, I lamented over the fact that so much attention was being focused on a conversation that I felt really didn’t matter that much in the big picture.
I had heard the arguments many times before. People were arguing about whether my way or your way was better. Here is how I described the outcomes from those arguments:
Over the past 30 years, I’ve worked to help organizations introduce change and transformation. In that time, one thing has become painfully clear: most organizations fail at transformation — miserably and repeatedly. A few organizations reach some level of success and make meaningful progress, but for how long?
Sadly, I don’t think much has changed since that time. I believe the article is still as timely today as it was eight years ago. My experience since that time is that many people agree with me, but I find few who are willing to take on this topic openly and do things differently.
So it was exciting for me when I discovered Lance Secretan and his book The Bellwether Effect. Lance is a former Fortune 100 company CEO, and the author of an incredible 22 books about leadership, inspiration, corporate culture, and entrepreneurship.
Lance began the interview in response to my opening question on how do we create the forward thinking workplace by saying that “we need to stop focusing on the processes and mechanics of the business quite as firmly as we have and put less emphasis on quantifying everything.” I think that’s a fair assessment of where the focus has been for most organizations.
So where then do we need to refocus our efforts?
Lance Secretan is an inspiring leader. Spend any time with him or his work, and you’ll soon learn a lot about inspiring leadership.
Now, What is the Bellwether Effect?
The Bellwether is a 13th-century word, which describes a ram that has a bell tied around its neck. When the flock gets lost, the Shepard can find the flock because the ram leads the flock, and he can hear the bell. Some companies essentially are the same. We follow what these companies do because of who they are, and we think if we follow them we will be successful too.
I often equate this idea of the Bellwether Effect to going to the edge of a 50-foot cliff and jumping when all you’ve witnessed are others ahead of you jumping away. As a result, you don’t see what they did before they jumped, what the landing area looks like, or what happened when they landed.
Which leads me to ask this question: Do we want this?
When we follow the herd, we stay with the mundane and sometimes even the immoral or criminal.
What’s your take on this? I’d love to hear from you. Let’s start a conversation.
Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from the interview:
- Stop focusing on processes and mechanics as firmly as we have.
- What we really need to do is get leaders’ full attention.
- You can’t perform at a high level if you’re always frightened.
- When we follow the herd, we stay with the mundane.
- There are companies that are essentially bellwethers that everyone else follows.
- Why are we doing things without thinking about it?
- We are drawn to people who are truthful, compassionate, caring, and loving—those are the people who inspire us.
There’s a lot more in the full interview, so I hope you will pick up a copy of The Future of the Workplace and discover more powerful insights from Lance Secretan. There’s also a part two to the interview where we focus exclusively on The Bellwether Effect. This part was too long to publish in the book, so it is still available online. Please see the link below.
What people are saying about Forward Thinking Workplaces –
This conversation invites and allows whole beings to show up; like whole food, whole beings are more nutritious to the system they exist within.
FORWARD21: top articles that got my attention
Inspiring Us All to Dream a Better World⎜Lance Secretan and Bill Fox
Knowledge is not very durable anymore⎜Jeff Gardner on Twitter
What does better mean?⎜Seth Godin
The Bellwether Effect⎜Lance Secretan
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If you’d like to explore any topics in this newsletter, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation.
To your great work life & success!