Thursday, December 13, 2007


A strong synonym for leadership is influence. Another suitable substitute is catalyst. But catalytic leadership draws on different tools than the old "command and control" style exemplified by CEOs. Listen in as Ori Brafman describes the catalytic leader:

"A CEO is The Boss. He's in charge, and he occupies the top of the hierarchy. A catalyst interacts with people as a peer. He comes across as your friend. Because CEOs are at the top of the pyramid, they lead by command-and-control. Catalysts, on the other hand, depend on trust. CEOs must be rational; their job is to create shareholder value. Catalysts depend on emotional intelligence; their job is to create personal relationships. CEOs are powerful and directive; they're at the helm. Catalysts are inspirational and collaborative; they talk about ideology and urge people to work together to make the ideology a reality. Having power puts CEOs in the limelight. Catalysts avoid attention and tend to work behind the scenes. CEOs create order and structure; catalysts thrive on ambiguity and apparent chaos. A CEO's job is to maximize profit. A catalyst is usually mission-oriented."

Auren Hoffman, in speaking of catalysts, says, "It does take a certain personality, someone who likes to help people. Lots of people just know a lot of people." A catalyst, on the other hand, is "someone who every time they have a conversation with someone they are actively thinking How can I help this person? Who can I introduce this person to? I just want to help this person. I just want to make this person better. People really, really want to help other people. And that they are the most underutilized tool there is."

Do I hear an "Amen"?

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