Archive for September, 2012

Is “Level 3 Leader” really a new idea?

As I listened to chapter 6 of “Tribal Leadership” on the behaviors associated with stage 3 leadership, it made me think of Prometheus. As you may recall he was the guy who stole fire from the gods so they chained him to a rock and had an eagle visit him every day to eat out his liver. Prometheus operates under the assumption that fire like any power is something to be hoarded so if you want it you will have to take it by force. He assumes there is nobility in his quest for self-actualization and greatness. I can see him thinking “I am chained to this rock because only the truly brave would do this.”I’m great! You’re not!”  Does this attitude construct the punishment? Doesn’t it make him look brave and noble for stealing the fire? Doesn’t it make him so much greater than us?

This quest for autonomy and individual achievement is such a major part of our culture that it can be seen in every sit com, every car commercial, and reality show. Look at all of the products designed to help us make better use of our time, to get us ahead, to make us happier, healthier, more competitive.

This is not a new story. Every civilization has their version of it weaved into their cultural history. I am assuming that if you read this book you recognized your own desire for collaboration and a spirit of “everybody wins” and these are great cultural values. But there is also a part of you that is thinking “this will never work in the real world!” How come? Can this stage 3 thinking be overcome? If we are honest do we really want to overcome it?


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Dan Clark

Dan Clark

Principal of Bowline Consulting, process designer/fixer, wireless telecom veteran, addicted pick up soccer player, fly fisher, backpacker, beer brewer, guitar player, choir singer, recovering bag piper

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