UNLIMITED: un·lim·it·ed, adjective – not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent. (example: “the range of possible ideas was unlimited”)
– Synonyms: inexhaustible, limitless, illimitable, boundless, immense, vast, great, extensive, immeasurable, incalculable, unfailing, infinite, endless, never-ending, bottomless, measureless
– Antonyms: limited, finite
This definition, when applied to leadership, sounds like the type of place where we would all want to work. A place where we pursue dreams, not mission statements. A place where we are inspired, not managed. A place where we care about each other, not tear each other down. A place where great ideas grow, where customers feel loved, and where we wear our company pride on our sleeves. A place, in other words, where we are inspired and high performance is the new normal.
Unlimited Leadership is a heartfelt movement that has grown from my latest book, The Bellwether Effect, exploring a different leadership path, one that steers us away from the dysfunctions in corporate life, and enables us to regain our passion for work life, which of course, leads to higher, and exceptional, performance.
How dysfunctional is corporate life? Here is some data:
- 80% of the population doesn’t want to go to work on Monday morning
- Nearly 80% of employees would change their current work role if given free choice
- 75% of employees are disengaged
- One out of two employees hate their work
- 65% of employees are consistently thinking about looking for a different job
- Only 37% of the population trust CEOs
- A mere 8% of the population trust banks
We are creating dismal and demoralizing environments in Corporate America that are causing people to abandon and distrust organizations.
There are two reasons why it’s important that we change this. The first is because it’s simply the right thing to do. But the second reason is just as important—our capitalist democracy rests on three foundations: church, government and commerce. (See this excellent article about the current risks to liberal democracies across the globe.) It can be argued that we are currently undermining all of these, but the dismal data above suggests that commerce is under siege as much, if not more, than the others. (Ray Dalio has much to say about this.) If the younger generation no longer has faith in, and is avoiding Corporate America, and a disenchanted older generation is departing or retiring as early as they can, then we run the risk of permanently damaging the potential of corporate life and, therefore, our liberal democratic society.
I propose that we join in a new movement that will inspire people in Corporate America to make changes from within our organizations, beginning with the removal of the eight demoralizing business practices described in The Bellwether Effect. They are:
- fear-based management
- motivation (aka, control and exploitation)
- separateness and silos
- employee engagement surveys
- performance appraisals
- salary grades and pay scales
- mission, vision, and values statements, and
- the use of war as a metaphor for business
Instead, we will be well served if we adapt our corporate cultures to ones inspired by an unlimited approach to leadership. The Bellwether Effect proposes radical and inspiring ideas that will reignite our passion for corporate life, offering concrete solutions that can be implemented immediately. This is the core message of many of my keynote speeches today. It is the operating manual for those who wish to be part of the new movement whose aim is to reverse the decline in the quality and passion experienced in our daily working lives.
How will you play a role in this new movement?