Volume 14 Number 3 - March 8, 2016


As the authoritarian “command and control” organizational structure has fallen out of favor, some believe that consensus is the replacement leadership model.

It is not.

In fact, finding consensus is best limited to innocuous situations. Working to build consensus can be helpful after a significant decision is made, but not before.

Do we really want to vote on strategy? On which bank to use? On pricing? On which markets to penetrate next?

Asking for input is one thing; waiting for consensus to build is just wasting time.

Come to think of it, what sense does it make to elect leaders? Can you think of an exemplar profitable business that schedules campaigns and debates, followed by an election for CEO?

Totalitarian governments have leaders. Unfortunately, their followers are often without free will. Legitimate leaders have followers that do so voluntarily. They may not always agree, but they are not being held against their will.

With common vision, mission and core values, supported by mutual respect regardless of position, leaders and followers can accomplish amazing things together. Leaders that listen, and that respect decisions made by followers. Followers that listen, and respect decisions made by leaders.

Sharing logic is valuable to learning. But voting? Getting everyone to agree before taking action?

Leadership is not a popularity contest. It is based on the confidence and support of followers. Spend your time building that, not consensus.

The Starting Pistol

George Bernard Shaw:
"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"Which explains why profitable businesses are not run by democracy."

March 30, 2016: Pittsburgh, PA: Industrial Scientific Corp is opening its facilities and its philosophy of Employees First for a one-day workshop. The headquarters facility supports over 400 employees in the areas of manufacturing, service, product development and administration, all of whom have dedicated their careers to ending death on the job in this century. Sounds like a mission we can get behind and an organization from which we can learn.

April 19-20, 2016: Akron, OH: This two day AME workshop presented by Goodyear, "Lean Product Development: From Idea to Profitable Product," demonstrates how that international business dramatically improved both the speed and success of converting ideas into profitable products. Goodyear executive Norbert Majerus will lead the workshop as we examine Lean Product Development processes and make the "fuzzy front end" crystal clear.

May 3-5, 2016: Rosemont, IL: The Industry Week Best Plants Conference is now the Manufacturing and Technology Conference. This two day event continues to offer keynotes, plant visits, and insights from leaders in the manufacturing industry, along with increased focus on technology advances of importance.

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