'Build it and they will come’ doesn’t work; ‘Let them build it and they will come’ is what works.
This is my second article featured on HR Director on the changing landscape of leadership development, particularly in using in-house leadership development communities.
The articles are based on eight years of running such a community of practice for one of the largest companies in the world.
What is 'Open Source'? A collaboratively developed system where the users guide its direction (otherwise known as 'emergent development'). Linux is perhaps the best- known open source software developed collaboratively by its users.
Here's an extract from the article...
Open Source Leadership: The future of leadership development?
I first wrote about this as an idea in a research paper titled Open Source Leadership, almost ten years ago. In 2008, Tracy Robbins, then EVP HR at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), asked me to try a pilot to see if we could make the theory work – bringing together 1500 leaders scattered across the world to turn them into a global community of leaders aligned behind a common purpose with, effectively, the rest learning, by example, from the best.
The users – leaders in the organisation – co-create their own leadership development system (with a bit of help from us: they tell us what they want in it, my team builds it) AND (over time) the learning content that populates it. They build the latter by sharing and critiquing, honing and finessing their own leadership practice.
So, at IHG, I asked 50 potential users, in 10-minute phone conversations each, what they needed to help them as leaders. Users in this new way of developing leaders help to design and build the online leadership system that sits in their company intranet as their own ‘community of practice’.
Because ‘build it and they will come’ doesn’t work; ‘Let them build it and they will come’ is what works.
They then help to populate the platform; sharing examples of putting leadership behaviours into action to achieve real-world business ends – discussing and sharing uncommon solutions to common problems, tapping into and sharing the group‘s collected wisdom.