SOLVING THE TOUGHEST MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES—TOGETHER GET STARTED

Build "natural", flexible hierarchies

“We have to de-couple authority and influence from hierarchical position.”

As change accelerates, authoritarian power structures will become ever more untenable. In traditional hierarchies, power flows down from the top, rather than up from the bottom. This model has several unfortunate side effects. It tempts senior executives to hire in their own image, and thus reduces genetic diversity. It encourages managers to safeguard their careers by “managing up,” rather than by managing out and down. It produces frequent misalignments between positional power and leadership capability, and thereby undermines employee morale. To overcome these failings, the traditional top-down pyramid must be replaced by a “natural” hierarchy, where status and influence derive from the ability to lead rather than from the ability to accumulate positional power. In addition, hierarchies need to be dynamic, so that power flows rapidly toward those who are adding value and away from those who aren’t.

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