Leading From the Center
I originally wrote the following post in 2014, to describe the organizing principle for my two most successful ventures to date—The 2.0 Adoption Council, and Change Agents Worldwide. Simply stated, Leading from the Center means being the invisible orchestrator—creating an environment in which the members are the stars.
I am republishing that post below because it continues to be the credo of SoCo Partners. Our clients and their innovations are the heroes in our storytelling, and in collaborative networks that we organize and facilitate.
Leading from the center is a lesson in humility
This might be the most difficult lesson to learn for future executives. Power will not be automatically anointed by virtue of title, salary, corner office, or company jet. You’ll have to earn the respect and commitments of the individuals who are connected to you in the network. Hubris will be the fastest way to turn off your most capable, most creative, and best associates. A leader who leads with humility knows how to listen and can tap into the empathy required to fully embrace complex problems by seeing issues from all points of view.
In a strong network of confident allies, when leadership opportunities arise, an individual must know innately how to inspire and guide colleagues toward a collective goal. C.S. Lewis once said, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” Networks strengthen and grow fueled by a careful balance of self-interest and group interest. When leading in a network, you’re never in a forward position all the time. Sometimes you’re on the edge, sometimes you’re smack in the middle, and many times you’re pulling up the rear.
Real humility is a sign of confidence and courage. It’s a measure of character and discipline. Networks require that you yield in order to shape.
Here are a couple of PhDs and some research that validates this in case you’re skeptical.
And finally, we’re exploring whether the time is right for an early adopter community for large enterprises interested in understanding how they can prepare for the oncoming opportunities and challenges associated with the 5G transformation. If you want to be part of the exploratory group looking into this, sign up here. Naturally, the Council will operate according to leading from the center principles.