Your Old Team Will Lose The New Game — Don't Be Sidelined!

teams

What do you do when the game you have prepared for your whole life has changed? This is the question I posed in The Changemaker EffectOur centuries old one-leader-at-a-time past has given way to a new everyone-a-leader present. Leadership in this context requires everyone to see the big picture and advance solutions that contribute to positive change.

This new game demands very different skills and a new kind of teamwork. Here are 10 things you need to know:

#1 This Is An Everyone-Leads Game
The old one-leader-at-a-time system was based on one person big and everyone else small in any moment. With hierarchies falling, silos collapsing, and technology lowering the barriers to access, you now have the ability to contribute more fully in every aspect of society. In this new game, everyone plays. There is no room for smallness.

The everyone-leads game requires everyone to step into their BIGness.

#2 The Old Rules Won't Work In The New Game
The framework you learned for the one-leader-at-a-time paradigm won't serve you in this new everyone-leads world. Formal authority, expertise, traditional leadership, control of information, and skills-based teams were hallmark characteristics of the vertical game.

The new game relies on personal credibility, authenticity, new leadership, full transparency, and hybrid teams.

#3 The Changemaker Effect Is Game Changing
When everyone leads in every moment, the speed of change accelerates relative to our one-leader-at-a-time past. Why? Because leaders make change. And if you agree that everything you change changes everything, and everyone is doing it – that means everyone is a changemaker.

A new kind of teamwork is needed to innovate solutions that can outpace problems in this Everyone A Changemaker world defined by increasingly rapid change.

#4 This Is A Game Of Change Over Repetition
The old game was characterized by efficiency and repetition. One person had an idea and others applied their skill (and were rewarded for repeating that skill faster and faster) as a contribution to the end game. This is what informed our notion of teamwork.

Your old team, designed for efficiency-in-repetition, will lose in this game of change and innovation.

#5 This Is A Game Played With A Team-Of-Teams
Teamwork was based on having a skill and playing a position on a team. In our newEveryone A Changemaker landscape, individuals form fluid, evolving teams-of-teams across old boundaries to solve for today's complex problems and to seize opportunities. The value-add in any moment is the new team added to an existing one to meet the ever-changing nature of these challenges.

For every new challenge or opportunity — not a different department or silo — a different team.

#6 It’s A Game Of Possibilities
In the old game, you contributed to the team along narrow lines based on your position or function. In the team-of-teams game, you are recruited for your unique range of competencies, perspectives, passions, and experiences that can be brought to the pressing challenge at hand.

You are valued more for your possibilities than your job responsibilities — more for your aspirations than your position descriptions.

#7 Tear Down Walls
The value proposition has flipped to change over repetition. We must, therefore, rethink the definition of innovation in the technology era. Innovation is the ultimate result of a wall coming down between two sides that wouldn’t otherwise connect. Sometimes that is helped by technology and at other times, technology is an outcome. But, innovating is a very human activity.

When walls fall, innovation happens – tearing down walls is a requisite new leadership skill.

#8 Transparency Is Premium
Information was held by a few and doled out selectively on a “need-to-know-basis” – just enough to do your job or perform your skill. In the new system, where everyone must be able to form into a team-of-teams in a moment to solve a problem or seize an opportunity, information must be fully available for all to act on.

Full, open transparency is crucial for new-game success.

#9 Lead With Empathy
Cognitive empathy-based ethics takes on new importance in the new leadership landscape. On one hand, this is a system that is highly interactive. On the other, change must be undertaken responsibly. Rules can't keep up with the speed of change when everyone is a Changemaker.

Integrity is the new gold standard, and it is directly proportional to change pursued for the good.

#10 Everyone A Changemaker
Small people can’t do big things. That’s physics. In the team-of-teams system, we are only as big as the smallest among us. It requires calling forth from everyone the qualities of the Changemaker.

Innovative mind, service heart, entrepreneurial spirit, collaborative outlook – this is the new premium.

This article was originally published on June 18, 2015
Related TopicsCivic Engagement, Citizen / community participation, Innovation in Teams

Author

Henry F. De Sio
Henry F. De Sio is Leadership Group Member at Ashoka, where he advocates a new framework for next generation youth innovators. Previously, Henry served as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama.

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