Leadership / Management

Beep! Beep! Are you a Road Runner or Wile.E Coyote?


How many of you remember the Saturday morning cartoon Road Runner and the Coyote?

Today's post comes from my friend Don Dea and the DigitalNow community, who pointed out this nugget of a post titled, A leadership revolution and why it matters to you, by Cheryl Gegelman writing on Smartblogs for Leadership. 

Cheryl does a great job of explaining the new model for leadership based on the cartoon and the management book, Beep! Beep! Competing in the Age of the Road Runner.

She equates Wile.E Coyote as the bureaucrat trying to work "by the book," and the Road Runner as the speedy, innovative type, zigging and zagging his way to success by focusing on the destination and working creatively to overcome the obstacles put in front of him / her.

I really liked Cheryl's four points that summarize the "Road Runner" mentality. They are very much in line with my own experience:

  1. You must continually speak of and model the vision, values and purpose of your organization. 
  2. You must become a demolition expert who supports your team by blowing up obstacles that limit their ability to serve each other and your customers. 
  3. You must protect your culture by holding each other accountable to actions Nos. 1 and 2. 
  4. You must have an onboarding plan in place that keeps actions Nos. 1, 2 and 3 front and center — especially in a growing organization. 

She sums it up nicely with a quote by the late Stephen Covey (From Habit 6: Synergize): “Once people have experienced real synergy, they are never quite the same again.”

What Cheryl and Dr. Covey are describing is the new leadership revolution fueled by the social media phenomenon. It describes an organization capable of collaborating with its team members (employees), customers and suppliers in an open and transparent way based on its purpose, vision and values. 

Our first Leadership Academy graduates described this in a whitepaper titled, What Got You Here Won't Get You There. They describe the need for "networked collaboration" where leaders of the future will need to be strong "network leaders." 

Jim Collins said it this way in a recent interview in Inc. Magazine"We may be moving to a world of networks well led, as opposed to organizations well managed. ... You can't really manage a network."

We believe in the wisdom of the crowd, in strategic thinking (not strategic planning). We believe the strength of the team is in the strengths of the individual players working collaboratively, and we believe in the need to have boundary-spanning skills that enable you to co-create with your customers, suppliers, partners, inside and outside your organization.

What do you believe in? Can you (and your organization) pivot like the Road Runner?

Beep! Beep! Viva la Leadership Revolution.

Sign up for our fall Leadership Academy here (Dec. 4-6 in Timonium).