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Leadership for the 21st century: less vision, more connection?


Leadership for the 21st century: less vision, more connection?

The world is changing. Organizations are more dispersed and less hierarchical. More information is more freely available. People want more from their jobs than they used to. Does this then change the role of the leader of change?

As we write this book, the US and UK governments are trying to persuade the rest of the world that war on Iraq was the only way to ensure a peaceful future. However, opinion polls within Europe and the United States indicate that increasing numbers of people are against armed conflict and no longer believe that this is a good way of resolving international issues. Perhaps things are different now. The increasingly globalized economy and access to news and information are perhaps encouraging people to form cooperative relationships with a measure of independence. Are people’s needs for strong leadership starting to shift? Perhaps clear, visionary, authoritative leadership is no longer working?

When we look inside organizations, the territory is also changing. John Kotter (1996) draws our attention to changes in organizational structures, systems and cultures (see Table 4.3). What does this mean for leading change? We think this means a shift from expectations of one visionary leader to the need for increased connectivity and overlapping agendas between different groups.


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