Visionary Leadership for the Dynamic Global Environment

Table of Content

IntroductionTo provide a general idea of the human odyssey we need to draft the chart of change in—or timescapes of—the Dynamic Society. As these timescapes are the result of the dynamic process, they offer helpful insights concerning the fundamental dynamic mechanisms. They are the ‘pictures’ of dynamic change that need to be studied using the general model developed.

Merely by utilizing this tripartite system of analysis—timescapes, existential model, dynamic mechanisms—can we completely understand the Dynamic Society.The Dynamic SocietyThe most readily presented evidence for the dynamics of human society is the size in addition to change in populations. From the sixteenth century in Europe it is likely to offer fairly consistent annual estimates of population (Wrigley and Schofield, 1981). Before then estimates are only available at uneven intervals, and can only be regarded as very irregular, chiefly as we go further back in time and comprise non-literate societies that did not trace their activities other than in their archaeological remains.

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Global population has augmented from about 0.125 million people a million years ago to 5,400 million people today. This change has occurred in three main stages: the era before the Neolithic Revolution when population expansion had been made likely by a new gatherer technology (the Palaeolithic Revolution); an era of much more rapid development from the Neolithic Revolution to the peak of Roman hegemony; and another burst of expansion ever since the Industrial Revolution. Population expansion, consequently, increased quickly following each technological paradigm shift, and in each case delayed as the paradigm advanced exhaustion.

This proposes that over the exceedingly long run, population as well as technology are concerned in a step-like relationship, and that technology is motivating this relationship.In ancient societies the conquest as well as commerce strategies made the grand wheel of civilization which formed their view of the world—past, present, and future. The world vision of ancient man was grounded in economic realism. The rationalization of the insight of life, thus, is to be found not on the mountain tops but in the plains.

It is typically disputed that the Judaeo-Christian tradition gave rise to the idea of linear or constant history (Morris, 1985:22): effectively, that the new world view was a product of cultural forces. God created the world which will carry on developing according to His will until the coming of the Messiah, who will bring history to a close. It is likely to understand this theocentric sight of history not as linear however as a single cycle which has its beginning and end in Christ the alpha as well as omega of the world (Gould, 1987:21). Nevertheless, within this sacred custom there were some—such as St Irenaeus of Lyons, St Basil, St Gregory, and St Augustine—who held the linear view of history whereas others—for instance Clement of Alexandria, Minucius Felix, Arnobius, and Theodoret—held the older recurring view (Eliade, 1971:143-4).

This rivalry between two Christian schools of thought continued all through the Middle Ages down to the 17th century, after which the linear view became more influential and finally triumphed during the 19th century—the century of Darwin and the social Darwinists (or more accurately the social Lamarkists—Bowler, 1988:39-40). Unneeded to say there were reactions against the achievement of progress, most particularly by the classical scholar Friedrich Nietzsche, who endeavoured to revitalize the idea of the eternal reappearance of antiquity.Evidently, the Judaeo-Christian tradition was not accountable for the dramatic change in the understanding of history, since it harboured both views until at least the 18th century. And certainly, in ancient society there had always existed a sense of historical account—as evidenced by the monuments marking events inside the a variety of dynasties of both the Old and New Worlds—even if this was embodied in the wider sight of eternal reappearance.

The most reasonable explanation of the appearance of the idea of development in history and life during the eighteenth as well as nineteenth centuries in Western Europe was the appearance at that moment of the dominant dynamic strategy of technological change. During the Industrial Revolution, Western civilization was able to break into the great wheel of civilization to make the great linear waves of economic change that have ever since produced systematic in addition to linear economic growth. This view is completely opposed to the conventional understanding which suggests that the emergence of the idea of linear time was accountable for the appearance of our modern technological civilization! Consider the claim of Richard Morris (1985:85): ‘It has been proposed by a number of writers that the reason a technological society expanded only in the West was that only the West owned the idea of linear time.’ This is an apparent statement of the unsupportable sight that ideas drive the Dynamic Society.

It is also literally incorrect, as the technological genesis of the West can be traced back to the early middle Ages; and the Sung Dynasty in China attained a notable degree of technological change as well as economic growth from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries.The revolution from the ancient to the modern economic dynamic had a thoughtful effect not merely upon scholars who, over the past few centuries, have in general thought in terms of constant development rather than recurrence, but also upon the enthusiasm of others to recognize these ideas. Any thought, no matter how thoughtful, that is of no use to the Dynamic Society will just vanish. The thought of evolution or development only became prevalent during the first half of the 19th century, as can be seen in the approaches of Charles Lyell to geology, Charles Darwin to biology, in addition to archaeologists to prehistory.

Of the latter, Bruce Trigger (1978:61) tells us that ‘[t]he main achievement of archaeology at this period was to document that technological development, rather than degeneration or cyclical processes was the most well-known characteristic of human history’. While there is at all times an internal momentum in the improvement of ideas, they only become broadly accepted if they are reinforced by what is occuring in the real world around us. And in the real world of Victorian England facts of economic ‘progress’ was profusely clear.At present the ecological engineers are challenging the idea of progress.

They consider that we can confront economic seriousness and create an everlastingly stationary society if we put ourselves in their hands. While we shall return to this daunting likelihood, it should be highlighted here that the Dynamic Society cannot stand still in a usually competitive environment—it cannot challenge economic gravity. It must continue to change technologically or relapse to the eternal recurrence. Their thoughts, like those of the ancients, will not be continued in the face of unrelenting economic growth.

Leadership in the Dynamic SocietyIn looking ahead, especially for the upcoming generation of leaders in the dynamic environment, our point is that the future is uncertain. However, there are lessons from the past that will continue to be an important part of the future’s landscape. In fact, research strongly suggests that the ability to look first to our past before we march blindly forward actually strengthens our capacity to see the future more clearly. Here’s what we think are enduring principles to guide the millennium generation of leaders as they travel into the future.

Myth associates leadership with superior position. It assumes that leadership starts with a capital “L,” and that when you’re on top you’re automatically a leader. But leadership isn’t a place, it’s a process and this becomes all the more important to appreciate going forward in time. Leadership involves skills and abilities that are useful whether one is in the executive suite or on the front line, on Wall Street or Main Street, on college campuses, community corners, or corporations.

(Fred Luthans, Kyle W. Luthans, Richard M. Hodgetts, Brett C. Luthans, 2001)And the most pernicious myth of all is that leadership is reserved for only a very few of us.

This myth is perpetuated daily whenever anyone asks, “Are leaders born or made?” Leadership is certainly not a gene, and it is most definitely not something mystical and ethereal that cannot be understood by ordinary people. It’s a myth that only a lucky few can ever decipher the leadership code. Of all the research and folklore surrounding leadership, this one has done more harm to the development of people and more to slow the growth of countries and companies than any other (McClelland, 1985).However leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices.

In nearly two decades of research we have been fortunate to hear or read the stories of over 7,500 ordinary people who have led others to get extraordinary things done. There are millions more. If there is one singular lesson about leadership from all the cases we have gathered it is this: leadership is everyone’s business. (Patricia A.

Mclagan, 2002).Melissa Poe of St. Henry’s School in Nashville, Tennessee as a fourth-grade student fearful of the continued destruction of the earth’s resources, Melissa wrote a letter to the president of the United States, asking for his assistance in her campaign to save the environment for the enjoyment of future generations. After sending the letter, she worried that it would never be brought to the president’s attention.

After all, she was only a child. So, with the urgency of the issue pressing on her mind, she decided to get the president’s attention by having her letter placed on a billboard. Through sheer diligence and hard work, the nine-year-old got her letter placed on one billboard free of charge and founded Kids for a Clean Environment (Kids F.A.

C.E.), an organization whose goal is to develop programs to clean up the environment.Almost immediately, Melissa began receiving letters from kids who were as concerned as she about the environment.

They wanted to help. When she finally received the disappointing form letter from the president it didn’t crush her dream. She no longer needed the help of someone famous to get her message across. Melissa had found in herself the person she needed (Isaac-Henry, Painter, ; Barnes, 1993).

Within nine months more than 250 billboards across the country were displaying her letter free of charge, and Kids F.A.C.E.

membership had swelled. As the organization grew, Melissa’s first Kids F.A.C.

E. project, a recycling program at her school, led to a manual full of ideas on how to clean up the environment. Her impatience and zest motivated her to do something and her work has paid off. Today there are more than 200,000 members and 2,000 chapters of Kids F.

A.C.E.Melissa Poe is proof that you don’t have to wait for someone else to lead.

You don’t have to have a title, you don’t have to have a position, and you don’t have to have a budget. By viewing leadership as a fixed set of character traits or as linked to an exalted position, a self-fulfilling prophecy has been created that dooms the future to having a limited set of leaders. It’s far healthier and more productive to start with the assumption that it’s possible for everyone to lead. If we assume that leadership is learnable, we can discover how many good leaders there really are.

That leadership may be exhibited on behalf of the company, the government, the school, the religious organization, the community, the volunteer group, the union, or the family. Somewhere, sometime, the leader within each of us may get the call to step forward. Ordinary people are capable of developing themselves as leaders far more than tradition has ever assumed possible.Despite all the advances in technology, after all the irrational exuberance over the Internet has come and gone, we’ll learn again what we already know—leadership is a relationship.

Sometimes the relationship is one-to-many. Sometimes it’s one-to-one. But regardless of whether the number is one or one thousand, leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow.Evidence abounds for this point of view.

For instance, in examining the critical variables for success in the top three jobs in large organizations, Jodi Taylor and her colleagues at the Center for Creative Leadership found that the number one success factor is relationships with subordinates. Even in this nanosecond world of e-everything, personal opinion is consistent with the facts. In an online survey the techno-hip readers of FAST COMPANY magazine were asked to indicate, among other things, “Which is more essential to business success five years from now—skills in using the Internet, or social skills?” Seventy-two percent selected social skills compared to 28 percent for Internet skills. (FAST COMPANY, 1999, pp 306).

Even when Internet literati complete a poll online, they realize that it’s not the Web of technology that matters the most, it’s the web of people.Similar results were found in a study by Public Allies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating young leaders who can strengthen their communities. Public Allies sought the opinions of eighteen- to thirty-year-olds on the subject of leadership. Among the items was a question about the qualities that were important in a good leader.

Topping these young people’s list is “Being able to see a situation from someone else’s point of view.” In second place, “Getting along well with other people.” (Public Allies, 1998) Young and old alike agree that success in leadership, success in business, and success in life has been, is now, and will be a function of how well we work and play together.At the heart of the relationship is trust.

Without trust you cannot lead. Exemplary leaders are devoted to building relationships based on mutual respect and caring. Similarly, customer loyalty is the secret weapon on the Web. When Web shoppers are asked to name the attributes of e-tailers that were most important in earning their business, the number one answer is “a Web site I know and trust.

All other attributes, including lowest cost and broadest selection, lagged far behind. Price does not rule the Web; trust does.” (Frederick F. Reichheld and Phil Schefter, 2000, pp 107).

Long before “empowerment” was written into the popular vocabulary; leaders understood that only when their constituents feel strong, capable, and efficacious, and when they feel connected with one another, could they ever hope to get extraordinary things done.When Charlie Mae Knight was appointed the new superintendent for the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto, California, she was the twelfth superintendent in ten years. She encountered a district in which 50 percent of the schools were closed and 98 percent of the children were performing in the lowest percentile for academic achievement in California. The district had the state’s lowest revenue rate.

There were buckets in classrooms to catch the rain leaking through decrepit roofs, the stench from the restrooms was overwhelming, and pilfering was rampant. Gophers and rats had begun to take over the facilities. As if this weren’t challenging enough, Knight had to wrestle with a ten-year old lawsuit, whose intent was to dissolve the district for its poor educational quality and force the children to transfer to schools outside their community.These challenges would discourage almost anyone.

But not Knight. After assuming the post, she immediately enlisted support from Bay Area companies and community foundations to get the badly needed resources. The first project she undertook was refurbishing the Garden Oaks School.Volunteer engineers from nearby Raychem Corporation repaired the electrical wiring and phone systems.

A volunteer rat patrol used pellet guns to eliminate the pesky rodents from the site. The community helped paint the building inside and out, and hardware stores donated supplies. Before long, local residents began calling to find out what colour paint was used for the school so they could paint their houses in a matching shade. They went out and bought trees and sod and planted them in front of their homes.

New leadership came forth from parents who began to demand more of a say. In response, an “Effort Hours” program for parents was set up so that they could volunteer time at the school. Teachers began to notice that something was happening, and they wanted to be part of it too. The district was on a roll.

Within two years of Knight’s arrival, the children exceeded the goal of performing in the fifty-first percentile on academic achievement scores. Today one of the district’s schools has climbed above the seventieth percentile, miles above the first percentile where they had started. The district was one of the first schools in the state to use technology in every discipline, outdistancing every school in California technologically, and it was the first elementary school to join the Internet. The lawsuit has been dropped.

And for the first time ever, East Palo Alto received the state’s Distinguished School Award, based on its improved test scores and innovative programs.If we are going to have a future—let alone thrive in one—we learn from Knight that leaders don’t wait for grand strategic plans to be completed, new legislation to be passed, or consensus to be built. Like other leaders, Knight knew she had to get started. “It’s hard to get anybody excited just about a vision.

You must show something happening,” Indeed, when high school students were asked to describe a time they had acted with integrity, their cases were ultimately about leadership. Faced with a challenge, some deviation from the norm, routine, principle, or belief, they felt compelled to take action. Many of these young people said they had no choice but to take action (to lead). (Barry Z.

Posner, 2000).In our well-intended efforts to thoroughly diagnose the situation, to craft artful change programs, and to build broad consensus, we stall progress. By all means be true to intervention theory and practice, but also get things moving. Focus on small wins— things like fresh paint and clean school yards.

Set up little experiments instead of grand transformations. Transformation is a scary word. It may even discourage people. It may also fuel cynicism.

Little successive victories earn a lot of credit, and they inspire confidence.Self-awareness is central to being a successful leader. And this is precisely what Dan Kaplan, president of Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, told us: “I know who I was, who I am, and where I want to be. So, in other words, I know the level of commitment that I am prepared to make and why I am prepared to make that level of commitment, personally.

I know what it takes to achieve success for me. That success for me comes from paying a big price, putting a lot of work and lot of sacrifice behind it.”Kaplan’s words reflect an ancient commandment: Know thyself. Warren Bennis called the “management of self” (knowing your skills and deploying them effectively) a leadership commandment.

“Management of self is critical,” he says, because “without it, leaders and managers can do more harm than good. Like incompetent doctors, incompetent managers can make life worse, make people sicker and less vital… some managers give themselves heart attacks and nervous breakdowns; still worse, many are carriers, causing their employees to be ill.” (Warren Bennis, 1997, pp 86).Self-knowledge is an essential part of becoming a leader.

To become a leader you must become yourself, and this prescription is one of life’s most difficult. “But until you know yourself, strengths and weaknesses, know what you want to do and why you want to do it, you cannot succeed in any but the most superficial sense of the word.”  (Warren Bennis, 1989, pp 40).The better you know yourself, the better you can make sense of the often incomprehensible and conflicting messages received every day: Do this, do that.

Buy this, buy that. Support this, support that. Decide this, decide that. We need internal guidance to navigate the permanent white water of today’s environment.

The moral is that like baseball, the leadership game is not for perfect people. If we somehow managed to become perfect, no one would let us play with them. What makes the game exciting is the process of discovery, the unexpected, the probabilities. And that’s exactly what the future holds in store for all of us.

Learning is an essential part of the leadership process for everyone involved. What carries us through life is our ability to grow, to discover new possibilities in ourselves, in others, and in our worlds. Successful artists, inventors, scientists, executives, and leaders in any field never lose that spirit. When they don’t know what they’re doing, they embrace the experience, realizing with every fiber of their being that they’re learning and that learning is what life is all about.

Just like fruit on the tree, when we stop growing, we start to rot.That’s precisely why leadership has to be everyone’s business. Why leadership will always be a relationship. How action brings forth the leader within.

And, in the end, how leadership is about developing oneself to be an instrument for making a difference. And these principles ring true—whatever the future has in store for all of us.The Dynamic Global EnvironmentWe define globalization as the gradual evolvement of the cross-border activities of economic actors that span the globe. These activities encompass mostly those of:  • Firms.

Corporate involvement in globalization concerns mostly international trade in goods and services and investment in production in other countries. It also concerns international collaboration for the purpose of product development, production, sourcing, transporting, financing and marketing. We give two examples. The management of a Canadian shoe firm makes a direct investment by opening a production site in the Philippines.

An international bank effectuates the payment by credit card by a Japanese salesman for a car rental in Argentina.• Individuals. Persons migrate internationally for seeking better living conditions. They diversify their investments internationally in order to seek higher returns.

They spread their consumption internationally, for instance by long-distance tourism to enhance satisfaction levels. For example, an Afghan intellectual migrates to the EU as a refugee, or a French student buys a specialist book he needs for his thesis in the US via the Internet.• Public authorities. The (external) effects of global interaction tend to be increasingly international and even global.

A case in point is global warming. National public bodies are less and less capable of coping with these problems, so there is an increasing need for regimes with a global dimension.• Non-governmental organizations. The articulation of the needs of the civil society has traditionally be done on a national level.

This is no longer adequate; problems in one country impact on the life of citizens in other countries. A case in point is shore pollution due to shipwrecking. Globalization has brought the need for worldwide action on such points.The modern economy has become increasingly global in character.

It is no surprise that organizations also take an international dimension. For the provision of private goods by private firms this means the formation of multinational firms. For public good provision, it implies the setting up of international organizations (IO). In line with the general definition of organization we define international organizations as purposive entities, with bureaucratic structures and leadership permitting them to employ their resources to deliver a public good and to respond to events.

IOs are mostly cooperation forms of national governments. Much in the same way as the public organizations described in the previous section are efficient solutions to a national coordination problem, international organizations are an efficient institutional solution to an international coordination or cooperation problem. International organizations provide the following functions to the participants:• Information on developments relevant for the attainment of the objectives• Platforms for consultation and negotiation• Rules for coming to decisions (voting procedures)• Fixing of contributions and access to resources• Legal forms of agreements• Monitoring of compliance of members• Rules for dispute settlement• Minimal mechanisms for enforcement• Some provision for accountability and liability for actions• Operational activities.International organizations tend to differ as to the way each of these elements is specified.

Important elements that are common to all international organizations are:  • Lack of coercion. All international organizations rely on national governments to comply. This difference in institutional strength influences strongly the capacity of IOs to provide effectively a public good.• Indirect accountability.

Within a democratic state the government is responsible vis-à-vis the parliament for its actions. On an international scale this cannot be done, and the actions of the international organization have to be made accountable via the national governments and their elected body.International organizations can be divided into three categories according to the degree to which they are restrictive in their membership:• Restricted. Most organizations tend to deliver advantages to members only and thereby discriminate outsiders.

Some do this for reasons of effectiveness. A case in point is OPEC, which only covers the largest oil-producing countries with a view to maintaining high prices for oil. Other organizations restrict membership because they want to create a strong sense of community in order to improve the internal cohesion and thereby create efficient institutions.• Conditionally open.

These organizations have a predefined set of conditions for membership but are in principle open for all those who accept to commit themselves to observe these rules. They are designed to foster collaboration of like-minded countries and to cope with the problem of free riders by exclusion. They can be compared with clubs: a price must be paid to get access to the organization (in other words, access to the advantages of an excludable club good). States that do not want to pay this price (in other words, that do not follow the rules) are excluded from these advantages.

A clear illustration of this case can be found with a regional organization, like the EU. The adherence to the European Monetary Union (that means the adoption of the common currency, the euro) is only open to members who accept the monetary rules of the European Central Bank and the macro-economic rules of the stability and growth pact.• Open. These organizations are mainly for information exchange and consultation.

They are not good at actions. They have often a limited resource base. They arise where the options of ‘restricted’ and ‘conditionally open’ are not feasible. Here, any autonomous state can apply.

A case in point is the UN, which has fairly minimal conditions and excludes only pariah states.Organizations change under the influence of external and internal factors. Change depends very much on the type of organization.Private organizations such as firms, including MNFs, operate in a competitive environment.

So they will be constantly looking for the best way to provide the needs of the consumers of their products and services. Moreover, they will be constantly searching for ways to improve the efficiency of their production and marketing and will adapt their governance structures accordingly. They will also increasingly take into account the views of civil society as consumers and investors check critically on the values that the company applies. Illustrative in this respect is that many firms have started to report on their contribution to sustainable production and consumption.

As the economy is always in flux, firms will have to adapt constantly to the changes in their environment.Public sector organizations are in a different rationale. They respond to political criteria. When a majority find it necessary to create certain agencies or departments or to change their governance, the state power will be used to do so.

Lack of efficiency is less of a drive for change here than in the private sector, notably because efficiency is difficult to measure. On the other hand, lack of effectiveness will quickly lead to complaints and political action to force government to make the necessary organizational changes.International organizations are in general created for the provision of a public good. Given the cost of collective action only one organization will be created.

IOs are thus not subject to competitive forces as they are the sole provider of that good. So the factors that trigger change in the private sector are absent here. The factors that bring change in the public sector on the national level do not operate very well on the international level either. The political and bureaucratic processes in IOs have to operate in the absence of a clear political authority that can show leadership and force change.

Change is thus dependent on major changes in the environment of IOs. On the one hand, the change in values and or principles can cause redesign of governance structures of international organizations. On the other hand, the emergence of new public goods can lead to such change.         Work CitedBarry Z.

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