There’s a growing awareness that the old ways of doing things won’t work anymore. This has been felt across domains, from politics to media to business. Business leadership is an area where there’s an increasing focus on the need to change the traditional paradigm.
Before getting into the old power frameworks and their limitations, we need to clarify something. By ‘old,’ we aren’t just referring to legacy businesses or organizations. Any system that follows a rigid, individual-centric, and pyramid-like power structure with limited or little voice and access for others is an old framework.
How old power frameworks manifest in a business setting
Old power frameworks are rooted in the demands of a bygone era where power gets centralized and is deployed without any meaningful resistance. An individual – or institution – in power is never questioned, and all their decisions are carried out.
One of the ways in which the old power frameworks manifest in a business setting is through exclusivity. Only individuals from a predictable lineage, gender, educational background, ethnicity, nationality, etc., can lay claim to the upper echelons. An outsider is always treated with suspicion, and they face extraordinary resistance.
While the individual aspect of this argument is well understood, what’s often overlooked is the idea aspect of it. In businesses with rigid power frameworks, new ideas are resisted merely because they sound foreign. This scuttles creativity and innovation.
Another limitation of the old power frameworks is the way in which they discourage collaboration. It’s hard to create a participatory culture in such settings. Constant competition between individuals and domains and internal operations become zero-sum games.
How the new power framework answers the changing demands of the world
The new power framework is open-source as opposed to the confidential and limiting structures of the old systems. While the staid structures of the past focused more on the institution, the new rules concentrated on individual units. It isn’t just about what you can do for the system but about how the system can enhance your life and give you opportunities to thrive.
Instead of competition, the new power frameworks encourage collaboration. Business environments become non-zero-sum games where nobody is disproportionately rewarded or penalized. It also makes the system more transparent as opposed to the opaque cliques that define old power structures.
Finally, new power frameworks are notable for emphasizing action and not just expertise. Such systems encourage their participants for what they do instead of what they talk about. This is one area where technology works in favor of new systems by empowering individuals with the necessary information and resources.
How to translate the new power framework into business leadership
These actionable suggestions will help you translate the ideals of the new power framework into business leadership.
Incorporate new power models.
Be a cheerleader for the principles of the new power frameworks and actively advocate for them in your organization. You could lead by example by valuing transparency, sharing victories, admitting defeats, and asking for collective participation to solve problems.
Think how a competitor or rank upstart would view your organization. What areas would they notice? What technologies, processes, and systemic changes would they adopt? This will reveal strengths and weaknesses.
Get rid of needless reporting structures that curtail the mobility of individuals and ideas. Hold regular town halls and encourage individuals to question the system. Make the organization more horizontally interconnected as against silos.
Focus on work-life balance.
Work-life balance has to be one of the core drivers of the new power framework. An empathetic and inclusive approach encourages people to find work-life balance irrespective of whether they’re on-site, remote, or hybrid employees. Ensure that no part of the system is overloaded and that meetings, reporting, and debates are kept to a minimum.
Audit your efforts.
Every business leader needs to periodically monitor how they’re incorporating the ideals of the new power frameworks. This will ensure that the initial enthusiasm is kept alive and that leaders walk their talk. As a leader and an organization, figure out where you’re falling short, and share it with the employees.
Organizations that thrive in the coming years by releasing compelling products and services and attracting top talent will be those that learn to integrate the new power framework. Contact Kingdom Branding to learn how you can design a participatory, functional, and inspiring culture that can positively impact your bottom line.