Today’s American corporate world is a tale of two cultures. One, more traditional and common, is centralized and hierarchical. I call it Alpha. The other, smaller and rarer, is decentralized, horizontal, and inclusive. I call this one Beta. To flourish in today’s business environment, organizations and individuals need to transition from the outdated Alpha system to the fast-growing Beta paradigm. The increased communication and collaboration required of Beta organizations demand a new style of leadership and career planning.
Beta leaders need to be curators, not commanders. Rather than striving to be content experts on every aspect of their operation, they need to be able to collect, sort, analyze data, and edit all communication and collaborative streams of information that could potentially influence their business. Organizations need to have dozens, maybe hundreds, of individual experts, fully capable of idea generation and innovative thought. In turn, these experts must be encouraged to drill down deep in their own specializations, develop plans and strategies, and share them with the rest of the organization. Beta leaders then need to sort through the ideas, figure out how they fit together, and then recombine them so the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
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About the Author
Dana Ardi, Ph.D. is the founder of Corporate Anthropology Advisors and the author of The Fall of the Alphas: The New Beta Way to Connect, Collaborate, Influence – and Lead. She has served as a Partner/Managing Director at CCMP Capital and JPMorgan Partners and was a Partner at Flatiron Partners. Earlier in her career, Dr. Ardi was an operating executive at R. R. Donnelly & Sons and at McGraw-Hill. She also has a background managing and leading executive search firms. To read Dr. Ardi’s complete biography, click here.
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