Past victories don't always translate to success in new environments. Here's why.
Researchers at the Rotman School of Management discovered that past victories rarely translate into new environments.
- Ineffective leaders mistakenly expect past victories to translate into new situations.
- By forcing their previous culture into new environments, they create ineffective cultures.
- Canadian researchers suggest that leaders need to treat their current role as it is, not as it's been previously.
What makes a leader great? There is no shortage of explanations. One recent example can be found in Ray Dalio's bestselling, Principles, in which he espouses the Burning Man principles of "radical transparency" and "radical truth" — because nouns are always more salable with adjectives. Bridgewater's exceptional output, Dalio writes of the company he founded, is due to "an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency."
Prefer a talk to the labors of reading? Most do, which is in part why TED Talks exploded in popularity. You can find plenty of leadership advice from Roselinde Torres, Drew Dudley, and Simon Sinek, among others — so many others, in fact, that TED has its own 12-video playlist of inspired leadership and another 69 talks on leadership in general.
Interestingly, what you'll often see in these videos and books is anecdotal tales. Sure, some researchers and psychologists spend years and decades interviewing Fortune 500 CEOs, compiling their perspectives into an easy-to-digest manual. For the most part, though, you're reading memoir more than anything else: this is how I became successful.
Following trails blazed by others rarely works out well. Innovation isn't innovation when every company is following the lead of another company. That said, roadmaps are essential for start-ups surveying the terrain. You can learn much from the successes and failures of others.
What you don't want to do, however, is recreate the culture you've just come from.
That's the topic of a new research paper by Yeun Joon Kim and Soo Min Toh, both associated with the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. To be published in Academy of Management Journal, their paper argues that the culture that leaders come from is the culture they create. We are all creatures of habit, it turns out — successful or not.
Case in point: Many Americans believed the country needed a CEO to take the reigns of political leadership to even the economic playing field. Running the country like a businessperson instead of a politician, it seemed, would solve our woes. Yet the reverse is occurring; the second round of GOP tax cuts is estimated to add an additional $3.2 trillion to our deficit. The reality is he is leading the nation as he did his businesses. The problem is it was never a democratic process.
Which, as Kim and Toh explain, is to be expected. They define it as "cultural transfer perspective," which is the act of re-creating old cultures in new situations, often to the detriment of the culture being formed. The leaders expect a clean transfer of results from old experiences to their new roles, which is rarely the case.
WASHINGTON, D.C. on SEPTEMBER 29: John Stumpf, Chairman and CEO of the Wells Fargo & Company, testifies before the House Financial Services Committee. The committee heard testimony on the topic of 'An Examination of Wells Fargo's Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response.' Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Kim offers a solution:
So what we need to do is to disconnect them from their belief. They should be aware that their past experience in their former groups could actually be a liability in this new situation. To create effective cultures, leaders should look at the current situation, not the past.
Easier said than done. Innovation and disruption, those two catchphrases of our umbrella tech culture, are less common than believed. Creating a truly innovative and groundbreaking product is the result of a merging of what the culture desires, even if it doesn't realize it at the time, and what you create to fulfill that desire.
Yet this research, while important, is not providing completely groundbreaking information. In a 2012 story on bad leadership, Forbes reports,
Leaders satisfied with the status quo, or those who tend to be more concerned about survival than growth won't do well over the long-run. The best leaders are focused on leading change and innovation to keep their organizations fresh, dynamic and growing.
Rehashing old tropes might provide comfort to some, but it's a terrible strategy for long-term success. If the culture isn't working, look first at where the leader came from. That will likely provide insights into how you've gotten to where you are. More importantly, it might provide a method of escape.
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
- French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.
- Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
- The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
- Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.