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Do CEOs Matter (Anymore)? - The Role Of The Chief In The Postdigital Era

By John Hagel and Suketu Gandhi

Whether you have been following the recent literature on political movements, or if you have been following recent trends in business publishing, there’s a good chance you are at least acquainted with the notion of the leaderless organization. We (the authors) first heard the phrase in the days just before the social-media business revolution, in a book that got fast attention but unfortunately too quickly faded: The Starfish and the Spider, by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom. But the idea got hot again in the throes of the social-media political revolution with the rise of the Tea Party, through the Arab Spring, and, more recently, with the Occupy movement.  At each of these moments, students of both political and business revolutions were prompt to say:  leaders, as we know them, do not matter so much anymore.  What matters is the little guy, the average citizen, who now with an arsenal of social rules and tools is doing the work of chieftains.  As the latest contributor to leaderless lit agrees – Carne Ross, author of The Leaderless Revolution – “ordinary people will take power.”

While the notion has merit and is certainly provocative, there’s more than a little intellectual sleight-of-hand in the leaderless doctrine.  For while it’s true that “ordinary people” are becoming more empowered, and – as the authors of this article recently opined in a blog post for Forbes – that this empowerment can vastly benefit the organizations they work for, the leaderless doctrine seems like a nicely crafted storyline for a particular audience:  the ordinary people who play the protagonist of this narrative.

Read more from the Forbes article.


Learn more about the authors:

John Hagel
Co-chairman, Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge

Suketu Gandhi
Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP





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