Tribal Leadership: Natural Groups and Thriving Organizations

The world is uncertain and chaotic. We recognize that people are vital and that the “soft stuff” is the “hard stuff”. But ultimately, it’s about performance and thriving in today’s reality.

What are we missing?

As Peter Drucker once said: “The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary human beings to do extraordinary things.”

How do we transform a Group into an Organization?

To transform a Group into an Organization, we need Structure and Process, an organizational structure and business processes.

How do we transform a Group into a Thriving Organization?

To transform a Group into a Thriving Organization, we need the right Structure and the right Process, the right organizational structure and the right business processes.

What do we mean by “right”?

The right organizational structure and the right business processes define the right Organization that will Thrive, which requires the right group and the right people. The right people are those who fit the Organization and the right Organization is one that fits its purpose.

What do we mean by “fit”!

Consider the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog! (See “The Scorpion and the Frog”). There was once a scorpion who wanted to cross a river. The scorpion asked a frog to carry him across the river. The frog refused and suggested that the scorpion would sting the frog and the frog would die. The scorpion assured the frog that he would not sting the frog since they would both die, the frog due to being stung would drown, and the scorpion due to being unable to swim would drown. After some thought, the frog agreed to carry the scorpion across the river. Mid river, the frog felt a sting, and then asked the scorpion: “Why did you sting me, we’re both going to die!” The scorpion replied: “It’s in my nature!”

Thus, the best fit is a natural fit, a natural fit is what’s right, a natural group! We cannot overcome our nature. We must live in accord with our nature or character.

What makes a “natural group”!

A natural group is a group that has commitment to shared values and alignment on a shared cause.

A person, through commitment and alignment, may have the merit to be a member of  the group. A person, through commitment and alignment, who can contribute value to advancing the group towards its cause has the merit to be a member of the group (based on their contributions). [See merit, meritmeritorious, meritocracy, meritocracy]

Most organizations don’t thrive, why? Because they are composed of unnatural groups! Groups who don’t have commitment to shared values and alignment on a shared cause!

Most leaders are challenged, why? Because they try to define or change the values or cause of the groups within their organization, and thus force the groups to become unnatural groups!

We don’t commonly use the word “unnatural” but we commonly use the word “dysfunctional“…

What is Leadership all about!

As Peter Drucker once said: “Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its limitations.”

Values define our standard and cause defines our vision. Culture emerges from values. Strategy advances a cause. Leadership is merely about synchronizing culture and strategy, naturally, using triads!

What is Tribal Leadership all about!

Tribal Leadership is about leveraging groups and building organizations, leveraging natural groups and building thriving organizations.

What is a Tribal Leader!

To cultivate natural groups and thriving organizations, Tribal Leaders synchronize culture and strategy and develop other leaders, naturally, using triads!

Synchronizing culture and strategy includes weaving people into and weaving people out of the tribe based on merit.

Thus…

As Peter Drucker once said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Strategy is constrained by culture, thus, we must upgrade our culture or modify your strategy based on the limitations of our culture!

Additionally, when working with people in any culture, we should always remember: “Give everyone a choice, and then work with the living; don’t try to raise the dead.”

Delivering Happiness, Good to Great, and Tribal Leadership

In Zappos’ Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness, Jim Collins’ Good to Great and Dave Logan’s, John King’s, and Halee Fischer-Wright’s Tribal Leadership are always referred to in tandem.

In the books Good to Great and Tribal Leadership, the authors looked at what characteristics separated the great companies from the good ones. One of the most important ingredients they found was a strong company culture. Core values are essentially a formalized definition of a company’s culture.

We did not invent the idea that having a vision that had a higher purpose was important. We did not invent the idea that having a strong culture and core values was important. Both of those ideas were highlighted in Good to Great and Tribal Leadership, and have been around long before those books were published.

Both Good to Great and Tribal Leadership discuss how a company with a vision that has a higher purpose beyond just money, profits, or being number one in a market is an important element of what separates a great company (in terms of long-term financial performance) from a good one.

See Zappos’ Tony Hseih’s Delivering Happiness for more information.

Tribal Leadership: Tribal Leader

Tribal Leadership — which explores leveraging natural groups to build a thriving organization — distinguishes between five cultural stages and the notion of a Tribal Leader.

  • Stage 1: Language expresses “life sucks”, people are alienated, and relationships are undermining.
  • Stage 2: Language expresses “my life sucks”, people are separate from one another, and relationships are ineffective.
  • Stage 3: Language expresses “I’m great (and you’re not)”, people experience personal domination, and relationships are established for their usefulness (dyadic).
  • Stage 4: Language expresses “we’re great (and they’re not)”, people experience stable partnerships, and relationships are important (triadic).
  • Stage 5: Language expresses “life is great”, people experience a team of stable partnerships, and relationships are vital (triadic).

See Tribal Leadership in a Nutshell for more information.

Good to Great: Level 5 Leader

Good to Great — which explores high performance organizations and those that achieve greatness (stock returns at least 3 times the market’s for 15 years after a major period) — distinguishes between five levels of capabilities and the notion of a Level 5 Leader who it at the top of the hierarchy and who is necessary for transforming an organization from good to great.

Level 1: Highly Capable Individual – Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits.

Level 2: Contributing Team Member – Contributes to the achievement of group objectives; works effectively with others in a group setting.

Level 3: Competent Manager – Organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives.

Level 4: Effective Leader – Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision; stimulates the group to high performance standards.

Level 5: Executive – Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical combination of personal humility plus professional will.

Tribal Leaders and Level 5 Leaders

Levels 1, 2, and 3 generally correlate to stages 3, and levels 4 and 5 generally correlate to stage 4. At stage 4, a tribe may enter in and out of stage 5, but a tribe does not generally stabilize at stage 5.

The Yin (Personal Humility) and Yang (Professional Will) of Level 5 offer a great description for a Tribal Leader.

Personal humility involves:

Demonstrates a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation; never boastful.

Acts with quite, calm determination; relies principally on inspired standards, not inspiring charisma, to motivate.

Channels ambition into the company, not the self; sets up successors for even more greatness in the next generation.

Looks in the mirror, not out the window, to apportion responsibility for poor results, never blaming other people, external factors, or bad luck.

Professional Will involves:

Creates superb results, a clear catalyst in the transition from good to great.

Demonstrates an unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.

Sets the standard of building an enduring great company; will settle for nothing less.

Looks out the window, not in the mirror, to apportion credit for the success of the company — to other people, external factors, and good luck.

As Jim Collins explains: “Good-to-great transformations don’t happen without level 5 leaders at the helm. They just don’t.”

Tribal Leadership Distilled: Paradigm, Process, and Model

Julian Bergquist (@JulianBergquist) has asked a fundamental question: What is Tribal Leadership?

However, Why, What, and How are intimately interrelated!

Why Tribal Leadership?

Consider:

See An Exploration of Industry, Culture and Revenue Growth and The Strength of Corporate Culture and the Reliability of Firm Performance for more information.

Thriving on chaos in an age of discontinuity — where the past is plagued with incoherence & inconsistency, the present is plagued with chaos and ambiguity, and the future is plagued with unpredictability & uncertainty — requires appreciating the interdependence of culture and performance to achieve organizational health (high performance cultures and thriving organizations).

What is Tribal Leadership?

Tribal Leadership is a worldview — which includes a paradigm, process, and model — that fosters organizational health (natural groups that form thriving organizations).

That is, Tribal Leadership is a proven transformational process and leadership model for fostering organizational health, which leverages natural groups to build thriving organizations by focusing on language and relationship structures within a culture.

See Tribal Leadership in a Nutshell for more information.

See Tribal Leadership in an Agile World for more information (if you are involved in Agile/Agility).

Paradigm

As a paradigm, a perspective or view, tribal leadership offers elemental concepts for engaging the world, including triads, stages, and strategies.

Transformational Process

As a process, a transformation or way of becoming, tribal leadership involves the transformation of a tribe through cultural stages and the transformation of individuals via triads.

A tribal leader focuses on upgrading a tribe (group) through cultural stages (one through five) using leverage points and stabilizing the tribe at stage four (“we’re great”) by leveraging commitment to resonant core values, aligning on a noble cause, and establishing triadic relationships.

Core values define what a tribe stands for, “principles without which life wouldn’t be worth living”. A noble cause defines what a tribe lives for, “pronouncement of a future state that a tribe will bring about through its coordinated action”. Triads are three-legged relationships where each leg of the structure is responsible for the relationship between the other two parts.

Leadership Model

As a model, a representation or way of being a leader, tribal leadership involves strategy, which is synchronized with culture, and developing other people who lead from their role and expertise.

A tribal leader sets a strategy that takes everything into account, especially the tribe itself, which involves engaging the tribe regarding values, noble cause, outcomes, assets, and behaviors.

Quintessentially, a tribal leader focuses on synchronizing culture and strategy while consistently stabilizing and effectively developing other people around them who lead from their role and expertise.

So … What is Tribal Leadership?

To Julian Bergquist‘s (@JulianBergquist) fundamental question “What is Tribal Leadership?“, I respond …

Tribal Leadership is a proven transformational process and leadership model for fostering organizational health, which leverages natural groups to build thriving organizations by focusing on language and relationship structures within a culture.

Tribal Leadership is a worldview — which includes a paradigm, process, and model — that fosters organizational health (natural groups that form thriving organizations). As a paradigm, a perspective or view, tribal leadership offers elemental concepts for engaging the world, including triadsstages, and strategies. As a process, a transformation or way of becoming, tribal leadership involves the transformation of a tribe through cultural stages and the transformation of individuals via triads. As a model, a representation or way of being a leader, tribal leadership involves strategy, which is synchronized with culture, and developing other people who lead from their role and expertise.

See Tribal Leadership in a Nutshell for more information.

See Tribal Leadership in an Agile World for more information (if you are involved in Agile/Agility).

Worldviews, Paradigms, Processes, Models

For more on worldviews, please see: Dictionary, Wikipedia, and Etymology.

For more on paradigms, please see: Dictionary, Wikipedia, and Etymology.

For more on processes, please see: Dictionary, Wikipedia, and Etymology.

For more on models, please see: Dictionary, Wikipedia, and Etymology.

Tribal Leadership in an Agile World

Agile is an umbrella term for Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean Development, Kanban, etc. whose roots are in Agility or the “ability to be agile”. Many consider Agile a technology approach; however, the “ability to be agile” (or Agility) applies to the whole enterprise or organization, business & technology including executives, management, and teams.

Tribal Leadership is a process for leveraging natural groups to build thriving organizations by focusing on language and relationship structures within a culture.

Tribal Leadership has proven to be vital in Agile transformation, that is, adopting, scaling, and sustaining greater Agility.

Agility: Self-organizing and Cross-functional

Quintessentially, Agility is a value system that emphasizes people, results, collaboration, and responsiveness. At the heart of agility is self-organizing cross-functional collectives (teams of individuals) that constitute an agile enterprise. Self-organization involves a team determining what needs to be done to accomplish a goal and being cross-functional involves the team having the skills and expertise to accomplish the goal.

Success with Agility involves a paradigm shift, which includes first focusing on principles & values and then pragmatic practices. While many organizations focus on the benefits of becoming a more agile enterprise — including accelerating time-to-market, increasing productivity, enhancing quality, and reducing risk & cost — they fail to achieve a return-on-investment because their approach engenders a transition rather than a transformation! Transition is a practice-based change that primarily focuses on surface level behavior while a transformation is a value/principle-based change that focuses on the DNA of an organization. The focus of a value/principle-based DNA-changing transformation is culture!

Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean Development, Kanban

Scrum is a framework for organizing work, Extreme Programming (XP) practices form a discipline for software engineering, Lean Development is an approach for applying Lean thinking in software engineering, and Kanban is a method for enacting change.

Scrum and XP generally involve:

  • Three Roles (Product Owner or XP Customer, Team (Scrum) or Team (XP) with define-detail & build & test perspectives, and Scrum Master or XP Coach)
  • Three Ceremonies (Sprint Planning Meeting or XP Planning Game, Daily Scrum Meetings, and Sprint Review and Retrospective Meeting)
  • Three Artifacts (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Burndown Chart)

Value: Organizations, Project, and Products/Services

Any organization (enterprise) focused on value (result) generally includes Business, Technology, Governance, Operations, Program/Project Management, and Enterprise Architecture functions involved in ongoing value discovery and value delivery cycles.

Business areas generally include Marketing, Sales, Support, and Products/Services (Product Management or Services Management with Product Managers). Technology areas generally include Engineering, Architecture (Architects), and Infrastructure. Program/Project Management (Project Managers) focuses on the human means to deliver value. Enterprise Architecture focuses on the technology means to deliver value. Governance focuses on oversight in the delivery of value. Operations focuses on supporting the delivery of value.

Any project (effort) focused on a product/service (result) involves a value delivery cycle.

Tribal Leadership

A tribal leader focuses on upgrading a tribe (group) through cultural stages (one through five) using leverage points and stabilizing the tribe at stage four (“we’re great”) by leveraging commitment to resonant core values, aligning on a noble cause, and establishing triadic relationships.

Core values define what a tribe stands for, “principles without which life wouldn’t be worth living”. A noble cause defines what a tribe lives for, “pronouncement of a future state that a tribe will bring about through its coordinated action”. Triads are three-legged relationships where each leg of the structure is responsible for the relationship between the other two parts.

A tribal leader sets a strategy that takes everything into account, especially the tribe itself, which involves engaging the tribe regarding values, noble cause, outcomes, assets, and behaviors.

Quintessentially, a tribal leader focuses on synchronizing culture and strategy while consistently stabilizing and effectively developing other people around them who lead from their role and expertise.

By developing other people around them who lead from their role and expertise, tribal leaders foster self-organizing cross-functional collectives (teams of individuals) across business & technology, including executives, management, and teams.

Transformation

As transformation coaches, we have leveraged Tribal Leadership to foster self-organizing cross-functional collectives (teams) in adopting, scaling, and sustain Agility across many enterprises/organizations.

Tribal Leadership has proven to be a subtle and potent catalyst for transformation — fostering organizational health (high performance cultures and thriving organizations) — where we operate as tribal leaders discovering and fostering triads across the enterprise:

  • To foster health within the value discovery and delivery teams, we foster triads among the Scrum-Master/XP-Coach role (that is, Project Manager), Product-Owner/XP-Customer role (that is, Product Manager), and Team (Scrum or XP) role (that is, Engineering Team).
  • To foster health within the value discovery and delivery teams, we foster triads among the define-detail perspective (business/requirements-analysts), build perspective (developers), and test perspectives (tests/test-analysts).
  • To foster health within the enterprise, we foster triads among members of Governance, Business, and Technology.
  • To foster health on the business side of the enterprise, we foster triads among people functionally in Marketing, Sales, and Product Management.
  • To foster health on the technology side of the enterprise, we foster triads among people functionally in Architecture, Engineering, and Infrastructure
  • To foster health within the enterprise, we foster triads among members who are Project Managers, Product Managers, and Architects.

More specific roles are highly dependent on each organization, and this is further adapted to the needs/context of the enterprise, but the intent is to foster stable partnerships (stage four) as self-organizing cross-functional collectives (teams).

Roadmap

Additionally, the transformation is enacted based on a three phase roadmap (generally within a 3 to 6+ month timeframe, which is further adapted to the needs/context of the enterprise):

The first phase focuses on sufficiently understanding the enterprise to derive a “minimal” value discovery and delivery framework (that imbues Agility) around which we can organize. That is, we don’t do Tribal Leadership for the sake of Tribal Leadership, but to discover and deliver value healthily!

The second phase focuses on launching value discovery and delivery efforts to exercise and elaborate the framework. That is, we focus on value and noble cause.

The third phase focuses on progressively refining and tuning the framework. That is, we focus on scaled/scalable and sustained/sustainable adoption.

Tribal Leadership in an Agile World

If you are adopting Agility but not achieving greater organizational health and a return-on-investment, consider Tribal Leadership.

Umair Haque’s Constructive Capitalism and the Constructive Paradigm

Note: While this post is about Umair Haque’s book, the post is synergistic with
– The Meaningfully-Purposeful Enterprise
– The Purposeful Enterprise: Communities, Collaboration, Kanban, and Tribes
– Human Leadership: Servant, Appreciative, WE-Centric, and Tribal Leadership
– The Art of TransformationThe Awesomeness Manifesto: Beyond Innovation
– The Generation M Manifesto: Movement & Meaningful Stuff that Matters the Most
– The Smart Growth Manifesto: Creative People Collaborating to Create Value
– Manifesto for the Resilient Enterprise (Update)
– Manifesto for the Resilient Enterprise
– The Resilient Enterprise: Beyond the “Agile Enterprise” or “Lean-Agile Enterprise”
etc.


In The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business, Umair Haque (@umairh) of Havas Media Lab invites us on a journey to reinvent capitalism and explore tomorrow’s prosperity.

Gary Hamel (@profhamel) of the Management Lab sets the context in the Forward of the book:

Capitalism is dead. Long live capitalism.

I’m a capitalist by conviction and by profession. I believe the best economic system is one that rewards entrepreneurship and risk taking, maximizes customer choice, uses markets to allocate scarce resources, and minimizes the regulatory burden on business. If there’s a better recipe for creating prosperity, I haven’t seen it — and neither have you.

While one should never underestimate the ability of risk besotted financiers to wreak havoc, the real threat to capitalism isn’t unfettered financial cunning. It is, instead, the inability (or unwillingness) of executive to confront the changing expectations of their stakeholders about the role of business in society.

If individuals around the world have lost faith in business, it’s because business has, in many ways, betrayed that trust.

Make no mistake, though: capitalism has no challengers. Like democracy, it’s the worst sort of system except for all the others — and that’s exactly why we all have a stake in making it better.

Umair Haque shares his goal:

I’ll sketch a blueprint you can use to conceive of — and then, if you wish, to construct — structures set on new cornerstones, that can yield not just more, but more powerful value.

Umair Haque shares his vision (blueprint) of twenty-first-century (constructive) capitalism versus twentieth-century (industrial era) capitalism (emphasis added):

A capitalism where companies, countries, and economies reach a higher apex of advantage — one where bigger purpose rouses untapped human potential of every employee, customer, and future customer, instead of deadening it.

One where fiercer passion makes innovation as natural as drawing breath, spontaneously combusting the spark of creativity instead of dousing its flame with lowest common denominators.

One where deeper meaning replaces the drab grind of repetition with challenging and compelling work that elevates the soul.

Where more authentic power flows from shared principles instead of (yawn) sweeter carrots and heftier sticks.

Where greater resourcefulness means being not the natural world’s conqueror, but its champion.

Where higher-quality value is created by doing stuff of greater worth. And ultimately where companies compete not just to change the rules, but to change the world.

The Blueprint

Umair Haque approaches the fundamental question: Must profit always require economic harm? By comparing revolutionaries or “insurgents” (who are answering No) to foils or “incumbents” (fierce, historic rivals of revolutionaries) using an exhaustive study (through case studies, financial modeling, and interviews), he synthesizes the data to identify various new institutional cornerstones utilized by the insurgents.

The five cornerstones … invisible fixtures of everyday economic life: value chains as the means of production, value propositions as the means of positioning, strategy as the means of competition, protecting marketplaces as the means of advantage, and inert, fixed goods as the means of consumption.

Twentieth-century capitalism’s cornerstones shift costs to and borrow benefits from people, communities, society, the natural world, or future generations. Both cost shifting and benefit borrowing are forms of economic harm that are unfair, nonconsensual, and often irreversible. Call it a great imbalance: not a transient event, like the “Great [insert ominous synonym here],” but an ongoing relationship, a titanic glitch in the global economy’s vast scales.

What I call deep debt is the harm institutionalized by the cornerstones of industrial era capitalism. It can be conceived of as debt owed to people, communities, society, the natural world, or future generations. Debt is simply shifted costs and borrowed benefits, from an economic point of view.

Twentieth-century (industrial era) capitalism is founded on competitive advantage, dumb growth, and thin value where the link between cornerstones & performance and institutions & returns is mere advantage.

Twenty-first-century (constructive) capitalism is founded on constructive advantage, smart growth, and thick value, which brings rebalance to the great imbalance. Constructive capitalists don’t just outperform, they redefine the boundaries of disruptive outperformance — they “minimize harm and maximize authentic, sustainable, meaningful value”.

Cornerstones

Umair Haque explores the cornerstones of industrial era capitalism versus constructive capitalism:

How production, consumption, and exchange happen — To utilize resources by renewing them instead of by exploiting them

  • Industrial era Capitalism: Value chains
  • Constructive Capitalism: Value cycles

Which products and services are produced, consumed, and exchanged — To allocate resources democratically and respond better to demand and supply shocks

  • Industrial era Capitalism: Value propositions
  • Constructive Capitalism: Value conversations

Why production, consumption, and exchange happen — To become more competitive over the long term instead of just blocking competition temporarily

  • Industrial era Capitalism: Strategies
  • Constructive Capitalism: Philosophies

Where and when production, consumption, and exchange happen — To create new arenas of competition (in their marketplaces), instead of just dominating existing ones

  • Industrial era Capitalism: Protection
  • Constructive Capitalism: Completion

What is produced, consumed and exchanged — To seek meaningful payoffs that mattered in human terms, not just financial ones

  • Industrial era Capitalism: Goods
  • Constructive Capitalism: Betters

The cornerstones of capitalism shift from chains, propositions, strategies, protection, and goods to cycles, conversations, philosophies, completion, and betters.

Sources of Advantage

Umair Haque explores the sources of competitive advantage versus constructive advantage:

Cost advantage vs. Loss advantage

  • Cost advantage stems from a value chain that exploits resources until they are depleted.
  • Lost advantage stems from a value cycle that renews resources and makes waste useful.

Brands vs. Responsiveness

  • Brands are promises that convey the benefits of a one-sided value proposition.
  • Responsiveness is the result of fluid, ongoing, many-sided value conversations.

Dominance vs. Resilience

  • Dominance of a marketplace is the zero-sum result of blocking competition by acting strategically.
  • Resilience, an evolutionary edge, is achieved by competing with an enduring philosophy.

Captivity vs. Creativity

  • Captivity of customers, suppliers, or regulators happens when a firms protect a marketplace from entry by competitors.
  • Creativity happens when companies strive to complete marketplaces, creating new arenas of competition.

Differentiation vs. Difference

  • Differentiation happens through skin-deep (or even imaginary) differences in the features or attributes broadly similar goods offer.
  • Differences happen when companies seek meaningful payoffs that matter; when companies produce betters, they literally make a difference.

The sources of advantage shift from cost, brands, dominance, captivity, and differentiation to loss, responsiveness, resilience, creativity, and difference — in correspondence with the cornerstones of capitalism.

Value

Umair Haque explores thin value versus thick value.

Thin value is not authentic economic value, and “dumb” growth is the growth of “thin” value.

Thin value is artificial, often gained through harm to or at the expense of people, communities, or society.

Thin value is unsustainable, often “created” today simply at the expense of forgone benefits tomorrow.

Thin value is meaningless, because it often fails to make people, communities, and society durably better off in the ways that matter to them most.

Thick value is authentic economic value, and “smart” growth is the growth of “thick” value.

Sustainable value is value that lasts beyond production and consumption.

Meaningful value is value that matters. It has a greater, more positive impact on people’s outcomes (at an equal cost) in ways that matter most to them.

Authentic value is value that grows; it benefits boardrooms, shareholders, people, communities, society, and the natural world.

The notion of economic value shifts from thin, artificial, unsustainable, and meaningless to thick, sustainable, meaningful, and authentic — in correspondence with the sources of advantage and the cornerstones of capitalism.

Generally, thin value focuses on returns that exceed only the financial cost of capital (return to debt and equity holders) but thick value focuses on full-spectrum cost of capital, which “exceeds the cost of financial capital because it factors in many different kinds of capital utilized in production — natural capital, social capital, and human capital … [and] factors in returns to holders of equity, financial debt, and deep debt.” As Umair Haque emphasizes:

The full-spectrum cost of capital is a higher standard. No company has yet mastered the art of measuring, applying, and monitoring it. But this much is certain: applying the full-spectrum cost of capital would instantly and radically devalue the profits of industrial era businesses, pushing many into de facto losses.

The Capitalist Agenda

Umair Haque explores the twenty-first-century Capitalist Agenda.

So here’s the twenty-first-century capitalists’ agenda, in a nutshell. To rethink the “capital” — to build organizations that are less machines, and more living networks of the many different kinds of capital, whether natural, human, social, or creative. And second, to rethink the “ism”: how, when, and where the many different kinds of capital can be most productively seeded, nurtured, allocated, utilized — and renewed. Put both together, and the promise is for companies, countries, and economies to climb to a higher level of advantage, to scale a steeper apex of achievement.

The aforementioned shifts, and especially the shift from viewing organizations as machines to living networks, provide the foundation for higher levels of advantage and greater degrees of achievement. This is “how commerce, finance, and trade might — just might — be transformed, and more vitally, become transformative.”

The Journey

Umair Haque explores the journey to becoming a constructive capitalist.

Following the trail they’re blazing is a journey undertaken in six steps: mastering the five new sources of constructive advantage and the new cornerstone each rests upon, and then, finally, learning to wield them with maximum effect.

Step One: Loss Advantage (From Value Chains to Value Cycles)

Step Two: Responsiveness (From Value Propositions to Value Conversations)

Step Three: Resilience (From Strategy to Philosophy)

Step Four: Creativity (From Protecting a Marketplace to Completing a Marketplace)

Step Five: Difference (From Goods to Betters)

Step Six: Constructive strategy (From Dumb Growth to Smart Growth)

The aforementioned shifts are steps in the transformation of industrial era capitalists into constructive capitalists.

Future blog posts will further explore these steps.

The Constructive Paradigm

Umair Haque’s work is profoundly rich (broad and deep) and heightens awareness that the shift to Constructive Capitalism is indeed a paradigm shift — “not a small step, but a giant leap from one system of thought to its successor, which recasts an art or science in a radical new light” — founded on economic enlightenment — ” industrial age prosperity can advance only under a narrow set of conditions, all increasingly detached from today’s economic reality.”

This isn’t to disparage the great achievements of industrial age capitalism — but to praise them. The greatest powerhouse of abundance the world has ever seen led to an explosive rise in income and living standards for vast swaths of the world’s population. But that was yesterday. Toda, perhaps it is yesterday’s very triumphs that lay capitalism’s decline bare.

Industrial era capitalism is founded on “creative destruction” (the Destructive Paradigm) where its cornerstones “systematically and chronically undercount the costs of destruction and overcount the benefits of creation” while Constructive Capitalism is founded on the Constructive Paradigm .

Umair Haque’s work is tremendous in “reinventing capitalism” and offers the Constructive Paradigm for reinventing much more!

We now have the onus to further explore the Constructive Paradigm… to re-conceive such things as the Enterprise into the Constructive Enterprise or Constructive Organization, Leadership into Constructive Leadership, etc. … our journey begins!

Please see The New Capitalist Manifesto for more information.