How do the best leaders learn to let go?
When leaders find the courage to distribute rather than hoard power, creativity multiplies, trust deepens, and inclusivity expands… and a new kind of order emerges.
For decades, leaders forced their organizations to look like a pyramid, with all authority flowing from the top. That didn’t work. Next, experts told leaders to adopt “bottom-up” leadership. But that’s not working either. Top-down and bottom-up are the same organizational shape. And neither approach really enables innovation, collaboration, or enthusiasm. The problem is the Pyramid.
A few rare leaders have seen the pyramid for the trap that it is and have learned to embrace a new shape and mindset: Constellations. Organizations designed as constellations are dynamic and flexible networks of distinct yet interwoven individuals. Each member of the team feels like a singular star and is also connected to others to form something greater. That is how Visa re-imagined how we pay for things, how Wikipedia beat the richest company in the world and how Barack Obama and his grassroots team revolutionized political campaigning. These leaders did what most dread – they gave away power.