Mastering Change: The Need for Collaboration

Mastering Change: The Need for Collaboration
DR ICHAK KALDERON ADIZES challenges the corporate world’s concepts of leadership and management and shows us what is required for really effective leadership in companies.

Over the years I have observed how the concept of solving problems for organizations has changed its name. First it was called administration, but when business administration programs did not produce the desired results, the concept of administration was relegated to a lower rank within the organization. Administrators just coordinated and supervised, and a new concept emerged: management. Gradually at first, and then rapidly, schools changed their name to ‘Graduate School of Management’.

Apparently that did not work well either, and management was relegated to the middle level of organizations. It lost its appeal and a new word was needed: executive. Graduate programs for executives and the concept of ‘Chief Executive Officer’ were born.

That shift did not produce the desired results either, so recently a new theory appeared: leadership.

I believe ‘leadership’ is just another fad. Soon, we will have another buzzword. Why? Because we are searching for an all-encompassing concept that will cover the skills necessary for running an organization.

We are all looking for a model that will describe and identify the specific kind of person who can provide the functions an organization needs so that it is effective and efficient in both the short and the long term, and that person simply does not exist.

The mistake in this way of thinking lies in the expectation: we expect all the roles to be performed by a single individual, whether he is called the administrator, the manager, the executive or the leader. In reality, one person, even someone extraordinary, can perform only one or two of the roles required to manage and lead an organization.

The terms ‘leadership’, ‘executive action’, and ‘management process’ are one and the same for me, because they follow the same wrong paradigm. The paradigm assumes that a single individual can make any organization function effectively and efficiently in both the short and long term.

An individual who can make all decisions required for an organization to be effective and efficient in the short and long term simply does not and cannot exist.

The roles that produce those results are internally incompatible. The ideal executive does not exist.

Building a company requires
a complementary team.
It needs collaborative leadership,
a team of leaders who differ in their styles yet
complement one another.

A single leader, no matter how functional, will eventually become dysfunctional. Over time, as an organization changes its location in the lifecycle, proceeding from early success to a booming position within the corporate field, that single executive will falter. The qualities that made her or him successful in the past can be the reason for failing in the future.

Building a company requires a complementary team. It needs collaborative leadership, a team of leaders who differ in their styles yet complement one another. But here is the problem: a complementary team, since it is composed of different styles, generates conflict. So, although conflict is good, although it is necessary and indispensable, it can be destructive and dysfunctional. What is needed to avoid this potential dysfunctional and destructive conflict is collaborative leadership based on mutual trust and respect

This is an excerpt from Dr Ichak Adizes’ revised and updated book, Mastering Change – Introduction to Organizational Therapy, and edited for publication in Heartfulness Magazine. More information can be found at Copyright 2015.




Dr. Ichak Adizes

About Dr. Ichak Adizes

Dr. Ichak Adizes is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading management experts. He has received 21 honorary doctorates and is the author of 27 books that have been translated into 36 languages. Dr. Adizes is recognized by Leadership Excellence Journal as one of the top thirty thought leaders of America.

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