Ladder vs. Lattice: Do We Need One Designated Leader?


What do the two newest American grass-root movements, The Tea Party Movement and now Occupy Wall Street, have in common? There are no discernible leaders.

What does that say about current attitude about leadership?

So far this era is not producing the “Martin Luther King Jr’s” of the past. Instead, with the invention of social media, large groups can communicate quickly eliminating the need for a centralized hub of coordination. Anyone can start a Facebook group. To start a movement, we’ve logistically eliminated the need for a narrow circle of leadership.

A model with less centralized leadership is not entirely new. Progressive corporations such as W.L. Gore & Associates have been doing it since 1958. They say: Gore has been a team-based, flat lattice organization that fosters personal initiative. There are no traditional organizational charts, no chains of command, nor predetermined channels of communication.

Instead of direction concentrated with one leader, everyone is expected to initiate and have responsibility. The organization’s strength is in the numbers.

Should business be looking to our political movements and corporations like Gore for guidance?

Are people yearning for a culture that provides ownership to a large group rather than a discernible few?

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