Think of it as a shift from valuing size to valuing significance. “How much?” and “How big?” aren’t the right questions. Instead we should be asking how we can create organizations and societies that mirror our deepest values. We live in the Era of Behavior. ~Dov Seidman
A friend recently introduced me to the book, How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything, by Dov Seidman. Dov says,
"The flood of information, unprecedented transparency, increasing interconnectedness—and our global interdependence—are dramatically reshaping today's world, the world of business, and our lives. We are in the Era of Behavior and the rules of the game have fundamentally changed. It is no longer what you do that matters most and sets you apart from others, but how you do what you do. Whats are commodities, easily duplicated or reverse-engineered. Sustainable advantage and enduring success for organizations and the people who work for them now lie in the realm of how, the new frontier of conduct."
The idea of behavior and leadership isn’t new, and Seidman would agree with that. However, Seidman would say that behavior has taken a new priority, new importance, and a new mandate for organizations and individuals. He believes that what will really set organizations apart is how they do what they do or stated another way, how they behave. He suggests successful organizations will be those that outbehave their competition.
For some time now, as the year draws to a close I’ve maintained the tradition of contemplating the coming year – what I want to accomplish, what I want to achieve, what my priorities should be, etc. As you can see there’s always been a theme: what. Seidman has now challenged me to alter my long-standing tradition of thinking about “what” as I approach 2012 and instead contemplate “how.” How would 2012 look different from 2011 if I focused my energy on thinking about how instead of what? That certainly reframes my personal and professional planning for 2012. It seems prudent to give Seidman’s approach a try and make 2012 the year of how. How will I behave this year? Sounds like I’ve got some work to do this week.
Organizationally, Seidman also suggests that we shift our thinking from valuing size to valuing significance. In some regards that almost sounds un-American. We want to super-size everything! And we’ve been taught to live by the mantra that you’re either growing or dying, bigger is better, etc. Imagine for moment how your own organization might look different if the focus became significance as opposed to size? How your organization might look different if it truly mirrored your deepest values; mirrored them so clearly that they were evident to anyone within the first few minutes of interacting with your organization? Would that difference establish a degree of significance that set you apart from all other organizations that do what you do?
Anyone willing to join me in making 2012 the year of how as opposed to what?