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The New Normal: Orchestrating Co-Creation as a CEO

From the time we were young in school, we were taught that success is a function of our ability to get stuff done.  

Most of us have been promoted to leadership positions because of a demonstrated propensity to get stuff done. 

Unfortunately, getting stuff done is no longer job #1

To be effective in these leadership positions, we need to shift our approach from getting stuff done to leading, managing, and coaching others to get stuff done. If we don’t make that mental leap, we end up being like super-Heroes… except we often end up working long hours, never catching up, and risking burn out. 

CEOs & School Superintendents come to us to help themselves and their teams make this leap.

The changes ushered in by the pandemic experience of 2020 will change the nature of work and organizations forever. Our societal values, consumption patterns, distribution logistics, personal needs (and lots of other aspects of life) are all changing and will continue to change.  

As leaders of our organizations, we are called upon to ensure the creation of innovative approaches that meet those changing needs. 

If we approach the task of creating the innovative changes required like a “Super-Hero,” we will fail. In order to benefit from the vast reservoir of creative ideas within our teams, and gain the buy in of those teams, leaders must become facile at Orchestrating co-creation. 

Rather than a Super-Hero, this role is more like the conductor of an orchestra. An orchestra plays a symphony as one entity. Each member must play their part and be responsive to what the other members do but primarily to the conductors’ direction. Together they produce a rich, complex performance. Without a conductor, such coordination of masterful individual performances could never be merged into such a harmonious, coordination of sound. 

Conducting a classic symphony requires coordination, but the music already exists and has been played and perfected over time. The challenge we have today is more akin to improvisational jazz. Great creativity is required on the part of each member of the jazz ensemble. In addition, each member must be responsive to the others, follow or support that direction, then skillfully know when to lead in a new direction or rhythm. It is a creative effort that occurs between the members of the team, and it occurs organically rather than as a carefully controlled effort. 

The role of the conductor or CEO in co-creation is to provide an environment or culture in which this sort of performance can occur. Rather than controlling, perfecting, or even coaching the team, it is the CEO’s job to foster an environment in which the team can improvise, and like a jazz ensemble, do so in ways that produce great performances that may be unique, and get the job done, every time. Join other CEOs:  We are assembling a group of mission focused CEOs who value integrity and personal growth to share their ideas about the post pandemic world we must adapt to in order to thrive. 

If you are interested, you can simply reply to this email with questions or comments. Or if you’d like to chat about it, click here (Brad or Tom) to set up a 30-minute appointment.


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