At the Skoll Forum I attended Session this morning (March 26, 2009) titled “Leadership Challenges: Balancing creativity and control” moderated by Dr. Maximilian Martin, Global Head, Philanthropy Services, UBS. The panel addressed issues that are fundamental to entrepreneurship generally, such as how to grow maintain a spirit of innovation even as the organization grows. Martin noted that, “Change cannot be achieved without vision and some one who has the ability to push that vision.” More specifically, a key issue Martin identified was how to successfully pass on an innovative organization to a new generation of leaders.
To frame the panel discussion, Martin highlighted three types of leadership. First, there is “epic leadership” which is based on the charisma of a single person, the entrepreneur, to move people to do amazing things. Second, there is “engineering leadership.” This approach has roots in the scientific management approach of Frederick Taylor and is the ability to set up institutions and incentive systems that reward aligned behaviour. Lastly, there is “enlightenment leadership.” This approach catalyzes leadership action across all levels of an organization, empowering people, unlocking enormous commitment and harnessing change potential. Martin concluded his remarks by reiterating that in order to understand how to grow an organization we need to understand the life cycle of organizations.