Leadership: Experience Should Be A Guide, Not A Master
In defense of situational management.
We all know corporate executives who use the strategic principles, operational tactics and managerial methods that have led them to succeed in their previous positions at different companies.
This is a mistake because a company is first and foremost a human community that, without even mentioning the specificity of its markets, is uniquely defined by its raison d’être, its values, its culture, and the social composition of its workforce.
Executives who implement copy-and-paste management practices believe in proven recipes for success. It is often a misleading security. Like when used in computing between third-party software, copy-and-paste does not always work from one company to another.
This does not mean, however, that experience is useless. But it should be a guide, not a master. Experience is beneficial when it informs the decisions of an executive. It becomes dangerous when it degenerates into an ideology that prevents her from thinking for herself.
The best remedy against this is situational intelligence. It separates leaders from managers. The latter put themselves at the center of their ecosystem by relying heavily on their cognitive baggage. The former listen to their ecosystem and combine experience and experimentation.
However, they don’t give up their managerial nature, i.e. their values. But they take care to apply those in harmony with the human community in which they operate. To do this, they are genuinely interested in their teams.
Indeed, the other beneficial aspect of situational management is to put open dialogue at the heart of leadership.