By Tom Peters
Are your leaders accessible? Do they wear their passion on their sleeves? Does integrity ooze out of every pore of the enterprise? Is “We care” your implicit motto?
Maybe “We care” didn’t matter so much in the days of traditional industrial enterprise. Perhaps the old boss’s mantra was more like “Show up. Shut up. Or starve.” But now I think it’s fair to say, morality aside, “We care” is … Not Optional.
A researcher at Nomura Securities’ Nomura Research Institute said we’ve been through the Age of Agriculture and the Industrial Age. We’re in the Age of Information Intensification, but on the horizon is the next (last?) stage: the Age of Creation Intensification.
I’d agree. And … the point … an Age of Creation Intensification is as far away as one can imagine from “Show up. Shut up. Or starve.” In an Age of Creation Intensification the boss’s mantra (is he a boss?) is more like:“Help! Please help! Please commit your heart and soul and imagination to inventing clever and wonderful services-solutions-experiences-dreams come true. Join with me in inventing an Adventure, a Quest worth your time and my time and our clients’ time and money.” (“Boss-as-beggar-supplicant-before- the-alter-of-Talent” rather than “boss-as-drill-sergeant” comes to mind as an appropriate image.)
Do I paint an unrealistic picture? In a word … no! Technology and globalization in all of their manifesta- tions put organizational models and career models and leadership models up for grabs. (Media guru Marshall McLuhan once said, “If it works, it’s obsolete.” Soooo true of organizational arrangements, circa 2004.) The current winners I described above (UPS, IBM, and Omnicom in business “services,” for instance) are forging completely new paths to an unknown and unknowable future. They will only progress if there is True Partnership among all parties to the enterprise— workers ( Talent!!), Best Sourcing alliances, Cool & Pushy Clients, and the remaining minimalist super- structure. And such a True Partnership demands as a price of entry (a minimal reason for Seriously Cool Talent to “sign up”): Unstinting Integrity, Total Transparency, Passion-on-our-sleeves, and Spirit to burn (remember Steve Jobs:“Let’s make a dent in the universe”). Once more, I remind: I’m not suggesting the above because I think it’s “cool” or “right” or “good.” I’m “suggesting” (demanding!) such an approach because there’s not much likelihood that you can do otherwise and survive in a truly global, technology-rich, ambiguity-laden “age of creation intensification.”