13 December 2016

15 Commitments to Conscious Leadership and Chinese Classics - Get a Better View

Heard about this "15 Commitments to Conscious Leadership" from a Awesomeoffice podcast. It was highly praised. I find it great too. But is it good enough? Is that all to leadership?

More information for the 15 Commitments to Conscious Leadership can be found here.

So I do a quick comparison with the teachings from Ancient Chinese Philosophies and Classics on this as well. I recalled learning about Stephen Covey's 7 Habits for effective people and his 8th habit. They are very good stuff too. So I added it to get a more complete picture. Here is the mind-map that show the main points.

On further thought, how can you judge whether a teaching of leadership is any good? Is it comprehensive? You must have a model of the situation first. Here is my leadership reference model:

From which we can derive the following key things to judge any leadership.

Leadership should cover three key things:
  1.  The Leader's character, qualities, and capabilities. This is covered well in the 15-Commitments, Stephen Covey's habits, and the teachings of Lao Zi, Confucius.
  2. The Group Dynamics. This is covered in my I-Ching model of leadership.
    For more see 4 Basic and 5 Orientation Principles of Leadership from I-Ching
  3. Situational and People Dependence:
    Sean Thye Peng Ng (see his comments below) pointed out Situational Leadership of Blanchard and even though it is covered in point 2, I just want to bring this point out for emphasis. Geoffrey Moore is his book "Escape Velocity" covers four modes of execution and leadership and includes a transitional phrase which is usually omitted in the typical S-curve growth model.
Of course, leadership is such a broad and important subject to be covered in such a small mind-map. But I hope it is useful to cover the same leadership subjects from the perspectives of East (namely Chinese) and West.

One more thing, here is Lao Zi's on levels of leadership and teaches us that the very best leaders lead invisibly! The people said they achieve success all by themselves and are not even aware of the necessary underlying resources and structures provided by their leaders.

Lim Liat (c) 13 Dec 2016

Comments from FaceBook on an earlier version of the post:
Sean Thye Peng Ng Check out the leaderful concept by joe raelin. I think the focus of all such "attributional" kind of leadership is still too focused on a certain single individual. Of course it is relevant still but the question is "is leadership the issue for some individuals who are give the hierarchical positions or is it really the responsibility of everyone in the group". There is also situational leadership as pioneered by Hersey and Blanchard. Much of the western leadership models had moved beyond the "elite" and attributional models and focus a lot more on the group (as u also highlighted under group dynamics). Perhaps it is good to do a piece to link the Chinese classics against these group based leadership model.
UnlikeReply116 hrs
Liat Lim Thanks for pointing out situation leadership model. It is closer to the Chinese model of situational and personality dependent.
LikeReply14 hrs
Liat Lim I read Joe Raelin leaderful as suggested. It is similar to the self-directed, self-management, organization that are getting popular. See for example http://www.holacracy.org/. Ancient Chinese I-Ching #1 Heaven, the last ideal stage, said 用九:见群龙无首,吉。 Dragons in a group without a chief, Good Fortune. I-Ching says no chief is good fortune. That's the leaderless or better leaderful organization stage.

The traditional hierarchy is reaching its limits, but “flat management” alternatives lack the rigor needed to run a business effectively. Holacracy is a third-way: it brings structure and discipline to a peer-to-peer workplace.
Sean Thye Peng Ng Yes, all these like the Holacracy is based on the concept of complex adaptive system (CAS) which draws largely on the basis of social constructionism. Self-organization is the characteristics of CAS and it is through SO that emergence and evolution can happen. SLM and Leaderful concepts will thrive in such CAS context usually - or rather more relevant. Traditional Organizational theory is now found limited in terms of how to derive more value from organizational actors, in particular the "normal and traditional" way of organizing, leading and managing may no long suffice the current state of organizations, most of which are knowledge based. As compared to since F.Taylor management science times when the gap (in knowledge, skill, attitude - KSA) between mgr and workers were much bigger, the KSA gap now is significantly reduced, hence, requiring a different paradigm of leadership, management and organizing. Leadership is too big a topic to study in isolation, and needs to be looked at from various angles. - 群龙无首吉也,群羊不可无首。need to be looked at in the proper and appropriate context.
UnlikeReply16 hrsEdited
Liat Lim Like 群🐑不可无首。易经will say, 见群羊无首,凶。
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Liat Lim

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Liat Lim Sean Thye Peng Ng , you raised very good points. Can I copy your comments and post it on that blogspot post so that others can learn from it?
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Liat Lim thank you.
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25 November 2016

Skill vs Wisdom - Doing Things vs Becoming a Mature Man - DaoDeJing 48

The modern world stresses on acquiring skills to do things whereas the Ancient Chinese places wisdom as the development of character before acquiring of skills. We then better understand the problems of this modern world. DaoDeJing 48
DaoDeJing Chapter 48 Text and Translation:

1 为学日益,为道日损,
Education is about acquiring increasing knowledge of skills.
Acquiring the Wisdom of Dao is about decreasing the desires of self.

2 损之又损,以至于无为;
Decrease and decrease further until one does not do things to satisfy one own desire against the Dao.

3 无为而无不为。
Without insisting on selfish work will lead to doing everything that follows Dao.

4 取天下常以无事,
The way to gain the world is to regular no doing anything against Dao.

5 及其有事,不足以取天下。
If there be any work for self, then one will not be equipped to gain the world.

Skill vs Wisdom
We acquire skill so as to be more productive in doing work. Wisdom, however, is about how can we be a better person. All the knowledge and skill without the right character will only create a bigger threat for the world. Consider nuclear bomb vs swords, which is more destructive? Hence we can appreciate the wisdom of Ancient Chinese that places the development of a character before acquiring of skills. This is also where the modern education system fails. We stress on skills and not character and we wonder why highly qualified and intelligent graduates from the ivy league colleges cheated and create the great financial crisis of 2008-2009. Unless we change, expect more such nasty crimes. Oops! The banks and financial institutions were bailed out. The CEOs left with great pay and bonuses. Only the Icelanders did it right.

The Meanings of WuWei无为 No Action
This chapter teaches us some meanings of WuWei - No Action.
  1. It is not about no action. It is about the decreasing of the something that is against Dao. Lao Zi says the more we have of Dao we will have less of this thing against Dao. The best is there is no more such against. Dao is the righteous way and so the opposite will be sinfulness. More of Dao and less of sins is the teaching here. Hence,
  2. No action actually means no sinful deeds. i.e. no violation of Dao.
  3. Replacing no sinful acts with righteous acts is taught by Lao Zi in verse 3. As long as it is right, do it. Here we see the positive aspect of Lao Zi teaching. This is repeated by Lao Zi chapter 63 and 64 and other places as well. (63 为无为,事无事,味无味。64 是以圣人无为故无败,无执故无失。)
  4. The consequence of doing right and remove wrong will lead to the gaining of the whole world. We know why people who want to conquer the whole world fail. It is because their motives and their methods were wrong. They want to conquer by selfish gains and by force.
Lim Liat (c) 25 Nov 2016