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Walk on two legs

One of the main challenges for a lot of companies and people in companies is that they often only use one leg to walk.

This leg concerns itself with increased sales, market shares, cost reduction, the streamlining of work processes, re-organisation, the cost of shares and so on. These are all crucial elements that most leaders have been trained on. However, they do not tell the whole truth about a company, since another large part and leg of the company is not being addressed at all. In a worst-case scenario, this results in a mechanical and distinctly rational approach that will never realize the company’s true potential or reflect the true reality of what the company is.

It is a one-string approach that does not fit into how the world and companies actually operate. The truth is that all companies greatly need to incorporate the dimensions mentioned above and that these are realized effectively every day. Another truth, however, is that all of this must be achieved with the help of people who will not only utilize their creativity, their commitment, or their initiative through purely rational and technical approaches. The prerequisite for accessing these important human capabilitities – and the other leg – in any business is for the everyone to start walking on both legs and one of the most effective places to start is by looking at the current leaders.

If these leaders do not recognize, master, and comprehend the idea of walking on both legs daily, they, as well as the company, are facing massive problems that cannot be solved by arranging 3×2 workshops on modern leadership. If the same focus and perseverance is not shared and used among all people in the company, the company will not be able to use both its legs and will suffer from that. If a human-centered perspective is not equally integrated into the company’s DNA and core processes as the classic MBA virtues, it will be difficult to achieve the obvious competitive advantages that lie ahead.

Our experience, after working with many companies across an ocean of industries and countries, is pretty clear. In principle, everyone can be taught how to walk on both legs. However, it is not always the case that the current leaders are the right people to mobilize the company onto a new and more relevant path. It requires a willingness and ability to expand your perspective in terms of what a company truly is and how it operates more efficiently – and how relevant leadership can be securely implemented. You must be able to not only pour new methods and tools into your cup but to a larger extent also expand the cup and your consciousness, which requires an extra effort. You have to the see the world, other people and yourself in a broader perspective than what you are doing today – and that is hard and takes an effort.

You need to shift from logic and behavior dictated by managing – to logic and behavior that is all about how to mobilize. Things are what you manage. People are not and should never be managed – but mobilized instead.  

The first thing to happen when you embark on this journey is that you have an instinctive experience of a loss of control, which is not at all real; however, it does feel very real when you are standing in the middle of it. Nevertheless, there is no way around it if you wish to move forward faster and more meaningfully. And you will find massive benefits once you get past the feeling of losing control and things starts to move more quickly and with greater impact.

Logically, it makes sense that a great business uses both its legs to walk rather than one.

Walking on two legs provides you with major competitive advantages as you are engaging with every available resource in the company. Everyone gets the opportunity to contribute. It is not just the organisational chart that dictates what is going on and how it is progressing. Instead, you use certain keys that open the door to the ultimate superpower in any business: people’s commitment, creativity, and initiative.


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