Mindful Leaders respect Partners. Organisations are complex systems that don't necessarily just sit in four walls. If we only think of our organisation in terms of those employed by us, then we are limiting our scope. The whole idea of organisations being a linear contained entity is rapidly being dissolved. Contractors, micro-contractors, broad ranging stakeholders, globalisation, hyper connectivity, and the digital revolution are all causing our organisations to become less distinct. Those that are embracing a multi-stakeholder view are doing well.
If we don't have this perspective and focus on the short term, then whilst we may get some initial gain, in the long-term or even in the medium term, we're isolating ourselves, limiting relationship, and arguably diluting possible competitive advantage. Certainly, in the longer-term, relationships and partnerships with multiple stakeholders is the only sustainable model.
If we are mindful to respect partners, then this becomes reciprocal. Those we partner with, even in the broader context, begin to respect us. This may result in increasing sustainability, greater protection in the downtimes, and almost always a better long-term outcome. Whilst anecdotal, in my dealing with leaders recently, the organisations and individuals who had open and transparent, mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers and customers, are the ones who have done well during this difficult time. The foundation of relationship allowed a greater degree of dialogue and flexibility to ensure that organisations could flex, change and embrace the new environment.
I think most organisations are getting away from the industrial revolution self-contained structured organisation. If you look at what has happened to how you make a movie, you get an idea of what has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen. Companies like Goldwyn-Mayer, and other large movie making organisations, used to own their own acreage, complete with actors, movie stages, sets, and even their own orchestras. They literally owned everything they needed to make a movie. Now the model has become a small agile group of experts, collaborate on a movie, and then hire in contractors, actors, editors, experts, people with good reputations and capabilities, to be able to deliver a great outcome. On completion this entity then dissolves, until it comes together again, sometimes with existing partners, sometimes with new, but often given a good experience, people are retained for the next project. Whilst we still have a lot of structured organisations and will continue to for some time, I think all sectors are on their journey on this continuum, to one degree or another. At the core of making this successful is being a mindful leader, respecting our partners regardless of the capacity in which we partner with them.
The old days of supplier bashing for lowest possible cost, may not be the best course of action, given a more dynamic environment. Personally, I've always found that partnering with suppliers and building mutual respect has garnered a better outcome, more loyalty, greater innovation and commercial success. I think we will begin to talk about organisations less with an industrial, straight lines, geometric kind of language.
The language of the organisation in the future will be much more organic in nature; more about ecosystems and symbiosis, rather than triangles of hierarchy and two by two matrices. It's about working together in mutual respect, understanding each other's priorities, and serving a broad range of stakeholders for a balanced sustainable outcome.
As Helen Keller wisely said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."