Umair Haque of the Harvard Business Review strongly believes that we have a “leadership deficit” in America. In business and elsewhere we have a preponderance of “wannabes” and not enough visionary leaders. The difference?
Wannabes are something like metric-maximizing robots. Given a set of numbers they must “hit,” they beaver away trying to hit them. The leader knows their job is very different: not merely to maximize existing metrics, which are often part of the problem (hi, GDP, shareholder value), but to re-imagine them. The leader’s job is, fundamentally, not merely to “hit a target” — but to redesign the playing field. It’s architecture, not mere archery. If you’re hitting a target, you’re not a leader. You’re just another performer, in an increasingly meaningless game.