Leadership, management, and meetings


“Leadership is about the role of the catalysts in organizations who influence and shape both strategy and execution, while management is the discipline that guides how large numbers of people efficiently accomplish complex work. Organizations need both catalysts and discipline.

…leaders are facilitators and their defining characteristic is their ability to enable connections that drive effective collaboration among large numbers of people. When leaders are facilitators, organizations adopt the disciplines of self-organized networks that are designed to leverage collective intelligence.

…the biggest challenge for traditional organizations will be whether or not they can reinvent both leadership and management and transform themselves from top-down hierarchies to peer-to-peer networks.”
Forbes interview of Rod Collins, author of Leadership in a Wiki World: Leveraging Collective Knowledge To Make the Leap To Extraordinary Performance

Rod was the COE of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program with over $19 billion annual revenues. I like how he distinguishes between leadership and management. Although he’s talking about organizations, his definitions apply beautifully to the roles of leadership and management at participant-driven meetings.

Replace “organizations” with “meetings” in the quotes above. Rod’s vision for the viable future of organizations becomes the same set of principles I’ve championed for effective, powerful conferences:

  • Supporting and encouraging conference participants to network & collaborate.
  • Using meeting designs that leverage the experience & expertise of the group.
  • Transforming meetings from top-down presentations to peer initiated & led sessions.

Isn’t that interesting?

How do you see leadership and management roles play out in your meetings? What works, what doesn’t?

Image attribution: From the classic paper by Paul Baran, “On Distributed Communications: MEMORANDUM: RM-3420-PR,” AUGUST 1964, the Rand Corporation

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