A posting on Vineet Nayar’s blog caught my attention, “Youth Leadership, from Work-Life Balance to Work-Life Integration. I think we are all experiencing the ways in which the boundaries between work and personal life are disappearing. The article is about Tony Hsieh, the 37 year old CEO of Zappos. This is the paragraph that jumped out at me:
Tony’s generation is adept at adapting. They are quick at spotting opportunities and scaling up to capitalize on them. And they are able to do so because of the absence of hierarchies and rigid structures. This is the very same formula that defines enduring success in today’s dynamic world. One has to be quick, flexible and guardedly spontaneous. Hanging on to processes, just because they were a best practice in a yesteryear, isn’t likely to bolster a company’s performance.
Yes of course as an improviser I relate to being quick, flexible and (not so guardedly) spontaneous. I also think the absence of hierarchies and rigid structures is essential to creating an environment for growth and development and creativity. Over the weekend I attended an improvisation workshop with Dave Razowsky, who is often called the Guru of Improv (for his Buddhist, mindful approach to improvisation). He spoke against the dogma of improvisation, which I loved. I’m not a fan of dogma of any kind; to me dogma is rigid and hierarchical and prevents creativity and spontaneity.
I agree with Nayar that most young people do not focus on materialism but are, in fact, looking to change the world in which they live; that has been my experience working with young people at the All Stars Project Inc. in New York (www.allstars.org). It is up to those of us who are working with young people in the workplace and elsewhere to abandon our “best practices from yesteryear” and create new and innovative business models and organizations.