Thursday, January 31, 2013

Introducing - The Leadership CLoud

    There is a perennial debate over whether leaders are born or made. However, for leadership to be born and sustained there needs to be 3 ingredients – a leader, a purpose and the circumstances that create the leadership space.  So, what comes first - the leader, the action which ‘makes’ the leader, or the thought that drives anyone to be a leader? This question has been attracting the imagination of leadership enthusiasts and researchers for a very long time.
In my article below, I have attempted to share my views on this very abstract aspect of the leadership conundrum. I have used certain ideas from the metaphysical as well as the scientific theories to create a link between the art and science of leadership.
The understanding of the concept of the Leadership Cloud took shape after I noticed some similarities in cloud computing, the way we derive our thoughts, and the manner in which men enter into the leadership voids to become Leaders.

On Cloud Computing
Cloud computing refers to the use and access of multiple server-based computational resources via a digital network ( WAN, Internet connection using the World Wide Web, etc.). Cloud users may access the server resources using a computer, netbook, pad computer, smart phone, or other device. In cloud computing, applications are provided and managed by the cloud server and data is also stored remotely in the cloud configuration. Users do not download and install applications on their own device or computer; all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server.

The  Concept of Cloud Thinking
Computer systems and technology have only started exploring the possibilities that always existed in the human minds. Historically also, whatever the human mind had the capacity to create, got ultimately created. If man once dreamed of flying like a bird, he invented a aeroplane. If he dreamed of exploring the oceans, he invented submarines. And to think that all this was possible through only real time and physical collaboration would be incorrect.
Surely, beyond physical handover of ideas through teaching/learning, and through collaboration on projects, there has to be a creation of collective dream – or a thought cloud – which exists in the same way as a server cloud.
What if there was such a cloud present anyway? What if there was a larger mind (akin a server farm) which released the requisite thought whenever the mind with the matching bandwidth was faced with the required situation? Does this not explain the phenomenal speed with which the human race has been able to move ahead, converting dreams into reality?
I am sure many of you would have experienced this: You think of an idea for a business/solution, and while you are procrastinating over it, one fine day you see the same being implemented by some one else, and you almost scream ‘that was my idea’. If this is not an example of ‘cloud thinking’, what is?
How Thought Cloud Works
So, if there is a thought cloud, how does it work?  Surely, the power responsible for our creation has thought through this perfectly.  According to my interpretation, the thought cloud has been always there, to ensure what gets thought in a lifetime doesn't get wasted. It stays in the cloud, till the time it gets passed on to the right candidate. As humans grow, they become receivers for these thought signals as per the wavelength and frequency of their brain cells. Therefore, a person studying aeronautical engineering will tend to be a better receptor for such thoughts that match his inclination to produce better aircraft. Such signals, when received, get accepted as ideas/brainwaves/creativity, and give the opportunity to the incubator of the thought to take it forward. Since there is more than one receiver for this thought, it brings in a variety of options and hence a competition, wherein the best thought out ideas gets implemented.

Nature’s way of Carrying the Legacy Forward!
The ‘Thought Clouds’ are also the logical way of ensuring that the legacy of mankind is not only retained, but also improved upon.  Just like the next generation of computers has a better hardware configuration due to the advancement of the chip, the next generation of humans has better capacity for further growth due to the handing over of the genetic data from the earlier generation. We learnt to handle gadgets like laptops and mobiles in our 30’s, but our children are comfortable with them before turning teens. No wonder now, that the human exploration into outer space is becoming a reality and is no longer science fiction.

How the Leadership Cloud Works
The concept of leadership cloud is the same as the thought cloud, except that instead of thoughts getting receptors to further improve upon them, there are situations (which create thoughts) that awaken the collective consciousness of many. However, these situations await the right candidate(s) with the leadership abilities to translate them into actions that can have far reaching results.

Take the example of the Jan Lokpal Bill, also referred to the Citizen's Ombudsman Bill, an anti-corruption bill drafted and drawn up by civil society activists in India seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body to investigate corruption cases. The Lokpal Bill was first introduced by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. But before it could be passed by Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha was dissolved and the bill lapsed. Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008, but none of them were passed. However, the issue was taken up by Anna Hazare as a result of his conviction that only a strong Lok Pal Bill could remove corruption from Government offices. In 2011, Hazare initiated a Satyagraha movement for passing a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal bill in the Indian Parliament, which caught the entire nation’s imagination. An honest and patriotic citizen and activist with a proven track record, Hazare was perhaps the best candidate to take this ‘agenda’ from the ‘Cloud’ and make it come alive again, with his established credentials as a difference maker.

I am sure the readers will be able to recount similar examples that are contextual to them.

Credits: This is an original article on the subject, using the term ‘Leadership Cloud’ in the manner used here for the first time ever. Any subsequent references elsewhere will be automatically linked to this article.