Open Source Leadership: Reinventing Management When There's No More Business as Usual
October 24, 2017
Rajeev Peshawarian, former CLO of both Coca-Cola and Morgan Stanley, believes that people management practices must change in ways that seem counterintuitive, if not downright contrarian.
Rajeev Peshawaria's new book, Open Source Leadership, grapples with the reality that—as was stated in our Editor's Choice review last week—"The world has changed. How we manage it must change, as well." This is not because our old management practices were flawed, per se—though they often were—but rather because they were successful enough to build businesses that have accelerated the pace of change in the world, producing a classic "what got you here won't get you there" scenario.
We know this is true with regards to the products we produce, that:
Organizations that are unafraid of cannibalizing their own products before others make them obsolete … are the ones that win and thrive.
That is almost gospel in product development and innovation today, but it is equally true of the cultures out of which those goods and services flow. And, in Peshawaria's view, "there aren't enough examples of innovation in people management practices." Open Source Leadership provides more than a few ways to do that, including:
What if instead of stretch goals, employees were given goals that only specified the minimum level of performance outcomes required, and left everything else loose or undefined? What if instead of stipulating an annual limit, employees were allowed to take as much vacation as they wanted? What if we reduced supervision and management to a bare minimum? In other words, what if we adopted an open source performance management system driven by self-management?
Many, if not most, of the contentions made in the book are counterintuitive, if not downright contrarian. And that's by design. As Ben Casnocha notes in his Foreword to the book, there's a maxim in Silicon Valley that the only way you make money is by being "contrarian and right." And on that bet, Peshawarian goes all in, asserting that "minimizing supervision can maximize organizational performance," and that bold, top-down leadership is the best fit for a more open democratic work environment.
These suggestions aren't from some techno-libertarian soothsayer roaming the deserts of California proclaiming the coming of a new order. Rajeev Peshawaria is no novice. He has been the Chief Learning Officer at Coca-Cola and Morgan Stanley, and has held senior positions at American Express and Goldman Sachs. He has done extensive research in more than 28 countries, and shares stories and introduces techniques he's learned along the way that may be new to you, like the 360-degree feedback process to replace engagement surveys, and internal crowdsourcing to replace traditional succession planning.
But it also not a cut-and-dry how-to book. Rather, Open Source Leadership is a book that attempts to start a conversation, one that he acknowledges will continue to evolve—and that he hopes to help evolve through the Open Source Leadership Global Survey and future updates to the book.
If you'd like to join that conversation, we have 20 copies available.