Leading in a networked world

Success will mean changing the hierarchy and traditional control structures of management.
By Doug Macnamara
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/03/2001

The new economy is a networked economy — a system of systems. Key to understanding a network is the inter-connections and inter-relationships among the systems and components.

This connectivity will become a fundamental consideration in leadership thinking and decision-making. Leaders must now act with the awareness that everything they consider, and potentially everything their employees do, is indeed connected to everything else. For example, many companies now depend on a complex web of advice and work from employees and contractors often connected electronically around the world. A decision made in Toronto might affect a team member or business unit in Calgary, Hong Kong or Delhi.

If “leadership” is fundamentally about sensing and identifying the need for adaptation, then leaders will have to help employees shift perspectives and adapt frames of reference for a new context.