SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

Are you just being a leader?

The turnover in the Fortune 500 list is well known.

One specific data which I remember was that only 13% of the companies which were there in the list in 1955 were still there in the list in 2011. I don't know whether that 13% has shrunk further in 2014.

What make organizations last? Is it sheer luck that they happened to be in the hands of very capable leaders? End of the day, an organization is just a concept - it exists in records and in the assets it owns and produces - what gives them life is the people. So, it's actually quite surprising that they usually outlive and outlast the people who set them up in the first place. They almost develop a soul of their own - a collective consciousness which is more than the sum total of the people working in them. 90% of the people working in IBM today were not even born in 1955. It's almost as if IBM, the organization, attracted them and hired them to grow and sustain itself.
We need institutions and organizations which last. We need them to withstand the test of time. We need them to outlast and outlive many times over the people who set them up in the first place. We need them so that they provide the eco-system for people to constructively contribute, compete, collaborate and grow - for their own and collective good.

If you delve deeper you'll realize that nations and states are also similar entities. Most of them outlive the people who establish them. What keeps them going?

While multiple books have been written on successful and great companies, the most comprehensive and authoritative being Jim Collins' 'Built to Last', the question I have for myself and for you is - what actions does it translate into, at an individual level?

These are 2 fundamentally different asks.

One is to lead a group of people towards a goal.

Other is to set up an organization which does exactly that - not once but forever, literally. The goal will change, people will change but the outcome will still be met.

In your own capacity today - ask yourself this question - which one of the above two are you doing?

They are very different things.

When we're leading, the focus is on the goal which is well defined and has a finite target date. The focus is on how to utilize whatever resources we have to achieve that goal. Attention is paid to ensure that communication is crisp and clear, to ensure that the different players collaborate effectively and efficiently. Once the goal is achieved, your mission is complete.

However, in the same context, what will you do if you're asked to build a team which drives successful initiatives? In other words you have to build a 'initiatives factory', which takes a project charter at one end and delivers the project successfully at the other end. Every initiative will have a different goal, different resources at disposal, different challenges and yet, you want the same outcome - successful initatives.

As we grow in our jobs and careers, we gradually move to positions where we're expected to do more than just lead people or accomplish outcomes. We need to establish institutional capabilities. If you're heading a department or running a large program - ask yourself the question - will that department or program be able to sustain without you? Will you be leaving it stronger and more institutionally capable to accomplish its outcomes than what it was before you took over? Will you, in your own small humble way, add another brick in its foundation so that it can withstand that one more storm?

In my view, lasting organizations have somehow inculcated this institutional capability building skill in its people. People are somehow incentivized just not to lead but to also prepare the led to lead others. And they do that in multiple ways - first and foremost by sharing, by codifying their knowledge and experience, by institutionalizing the successful meta processes, by empowering teams to take decisions, by providing space for analyzable failures and most importantly, by being very brutal about feedback and facts.

So, the question - are you just leading or also preparing the led to lead? 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Sujoy Sen

Sujoy is a TOGAF Certified Enterprise Architect, a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Manager of Organizational Excellence from American Society for Quality, a PMP, a CISA, an Agile Coach, a Devops Evangelist and lately, a Digital enthusiast. With over 20 years of professional experience now, he has led multiple consulting engagements with Fortune 500 customers across the globe. He has a Masters Degree in Quality Management and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. He is based out of New Jersey.

Latest Stories
The KCSP program is a pre-qualified tier of vetted service providers that offer Kubernetes support, consulting, professional services and training for organizations embarking on their Kubernetes journey. The KCSP program ensures that enterprises get the support they're looking for to roll out new applications more quickly and more efficiently than before, while feeling secure that there's a trusted and vetted partner that's available to support their production and operational needs.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Serverless Architecture is the new paradigm shift in cloud application development. It has potential to take the fundamental benefit of cloud platform leverage to another level. "Focus on your application code, not the infrastructure" All the leading cloud platform provide services to implement Serverless architecture : AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, IBM Openwhisk, Oracle Fn Project.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
DevOps has long focused on reinventing the SDLC (e.g. with CI/CD, ARA, pipeline automation etc.), while reinvention of IT Ops has lagged. However, new approaches like Site Reliability Engineering, Observability, Containerization, Operations Analytics, and ML/AI are driving a resurgence of IT Ops. In this session our expert panel will focus on how these new ideas are [putting the Ops back in DevOps orbringing modern IT Ops to DevOps].
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
Serverless applications increase developer productivity and time to market, by freeing engineers from spending time on infrastructure provisioning, configuration and management. Serverless also simplifies Operations and reduces cost - as the Kubernetes container infrastructure required to run these applications is automatically spun up and scaled precisely with the workload, to optimally handle all runtime requests. Recent advances in open source technology now allow organizations to run Serv...
GCP Marketplace is based on a multi-cloud and hybrid-first philosophy, focused on giving Google Cloud partners and enterprise customers flexibility without lock-in. It also helps customers innovate by easily adopting new technologies from ISV partners, such as commercial Kubernetes applications, and allows companies to oversee the full lifecycle of a solution, from discovery through management.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
SUSE is a German-based, multinational, open-source software company that develops and sells Linux products to business customers. Founded in 1992, it was the first company to market Linux for the enterprise. Founded in 1992, SUSE is the world's first provider of an Enterprise Linux distribution.
Dito announced the launch of its "Kubernetes Kickoff" application modernization program. This new packaged service offering is designed to provide a multi-phased implementation and optimization plan for leveraging Kubernetes on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). Kubernetes, a relatively new layer of the modern cloud stack, is a production-ready platform that allows companies to deploy and manage containerized applications, update with zero downtime, and securely scale their deployments.
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It's clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Th...