Hierarchy the only hope in crisis? LO23055

Brian Gordon (briangordon@livetolearn.com)
Thu, 28 Oct 1999 07:21:07 -0700

Replying to LO23013 --

Malcolm Burson hit upon a point of personal fascination for me when he
quoted Peter Drucker as saying:

> "Hierarchy," and the unquestioning acceptance of it by everyone in
> the organization, is the only hope in a crisis.

This view seems to be commonly accepted in our culture, but I don't
believe it. It assumes that the military/church/nobility/etc. model is
the only one capable of producing leadership in a crisis situation, yet
today we are putting together self-directed teams because they react more
quickly and more correctly in a crisis.

Firstly, in any given situation, high-performance teams rotate the
leadership, not by vote or some formal system, but according to the
demands of the situation. For example, a fire may occasion the person
closest to it taking a leadership role, or the person who's a volunteer
fire-fighter, or whoever is most appropriate given the team's make-up.

Secondly, members of many high-performance teams have said that there were
numerous situations in which they all just "knew" what to do. There was
no need of an individual leader or chain-of-command. Everyone on the team
was in synch and moved as one.

I think that statements like Drucker's only encourage control-oriented
managers to hang on to power.


Live to Learn


"Brian Gordon" <briangordon@livetolearn.com>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>