An open letter to my twin daughters…

Babes, this letter celebrates your life and specifically, the win and loss you two have experienced today.

I am extremely happy for you Nina, for having been elected to a leadership position in your dynasty and, my heart aches deeply and in-sync with yours Emily, for not having received enough votes in your own dynasty.

Oddly, the two extremes; happiness and heartache, empower and do not conflict with the immense overall pride and belief I have in you two; the real joy and quality your distinct and unique selves have always brought into all that you two have done and touched. This event today was no different.

Clearly, I would have loved if you both had been elected but, it did not happen that way and thus… I do not wish to diminish neither the sweetness of the victory nor the heartbreak and pain we ALL are experiencing side-by-side as a result of these events.

It is a significant honor to have been selected to represent your peers in the coming senior year, a fact which carries a good deal of responsibility… so Nina, I am proud and ecstatic in-sync with you. At the same time, it is painful to realize that all of one’s great efforts and the real creativity poured into campaigning and everything you touched did not produce the desired and hoped for results… so Emily, I am saddened in-sync with you.

That is the way things work-out sometimes; neither all good nor all bad… winning or losing by itself does not define the truly amazing women you two are, only your individual minds, hearts and actions can do so. We all are what we manifest; what we believe, accept and action for ourselves.

Only what each of you thinks and does matters…. no one else’s opinion or event makes any difference.

Your grandfather once told me that gracefulness – the key to being graceful – is determined by how we choose the “start” and “end” everything we engage with and do. Of the two, that the style and quality of how we choose to “end” something far outweighs all other conditions or circumstances. Becoming the very essence of what others – and more importantly – ourselves takeaway and remember deep within.

How you both transition and move forward from the positive and painful events you’ve experienced on this day, is what will become etched in your minds as noteworthy and memorable… so, it is my hope that you will choose what is true and right; by continuing to be that which “speaks” of the beautiful, intelligent and loving people you two truly are.

I am proud of and blessed by you both equally. I celebrate your victory and cry in your pain with equal passion.

More than anything else, I am thankful and overjoyed by your example and smile because no matter what, I have seen and know that you two are amazing limitless people who – enriched by this experienced – will continue to always do your very best.
That is what you both are and what you both know and do… all that is required. Everything else pales by the beauty and power of this.

I love you both immensely.

Fluid times, Org Structures and Leadership

courtesy of HMI

For as long as we can imagine and regardless of structure, most organizations have applied autocratic methods when selecting or appointing new leadership… in general, these methodologies aimed for the new appointments to follow and reinforce established corporate views and/or culture and deliver to a largely pre-determined agenda.

Nowadays, dazed by nearly two years of relentless economic and financial breakdowns and increasing regulatory and market scrutiny, there are views that continuing and anticipated further challenges over the coming decade will demand a new breed of networking and collaborative leadership, and drive a rise in flat/leaner organizations over matrix bound ones, which on the later, some believe will falter and in-time disappear altogether.

However, I do not consider this a logical view… matriced structures are designed and especially apt at mitigating risk by imbedding balanced planning, collaborative if not aligned decisions and consistency of outcomes into an organization.

Albeit cumbersome and at-first awkward to grasp and manage, in instances where ad-hoc creativity or unstructured experimentation could be viewed as “liabilities”; like within process driven organizations or heavily regulated public and private sector practices, they are remarkably effective at driving organizational cohesion and controlled outflows.

“Power”, with all its good and bad permutations, is within matriced structures much more diffused throughout the organization (a “good” thing) than in their “simpler” cousins; the nearly ubiquitous hierarchical driven pyramid structures, which in-fact end up concentrating “power” (and sometimes shielding it) at its peak and from there “directing” the rest of the organization.

Flat structures on the other hand, were “built-for-speed”…they promote and generate “culture” driven, shape-shifting fluid organizations where many good things like creativity, learning and experimentation can broadly happen, evolve and mutate very rapidly. However, they can also suffer from or be exposed to some not-so-good consequences like; organizational confusion (who’s on first?), the adequate protection of its intellectual property, judiciously balancing and tweaking its costs/income/investment ratios, establishing a vision and staying focused on it…etc.

Essential to all of these (and all of the many variations in each model), is Leadership… in its finest form, the provision of vision and direction; instilling what is good, excising what isn’t, being disciplined to lead by example and becoming the glue that binds the tribe. There is no greater calling than this, it is paramount to all organizational structures and levels and it is timeless.

It isn’t leadership for the future or of the past, it lives in the “now”… it also isn’t defined by style…True Leadership just is that and can be effective in any type or form of structure because it isn’t bound by such rather, it manages and extracts value from each model and variation and fosters like actions in others.

In my opinion, the next decade will see organizations structure themselves in ever evolving variations of one of the three models noted here and paying closer attention to fostering, developing and evolving leadership from within… for if there is anything that is dying fast, it’s the concept of the charismatic “lone warrior” breezing-in from afar to save the day.

– conceptual excerpts first published by the author in Feb’10 on Leaders Cafe 2020

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