How could distributed leadership help unlock the blockchain potential?

Originally posted on Medium. 


Distributed leadership and distributed technology have similar problems concerning mass adoption. Like this new leadership style, blockchain technology is a powerful and relatively new concept that has enormous potential to change financial services and business operations.

Still, we don’t yet know how to implement such radical ideas in our everyday lives.

Business surveys regularly report that many current blockchain solutions will need to be replaced by 2025. This assumption is mainly due to the maturity and scalability of some blockchain technologies.

Nonetheless, distributed leadership and distributed networks can unlock all of the potentials for greater autonomy, collaborative problem-solving, and better networking between organizations and ultimately streamline clunky business processes.

First start with yourself

Distributed leadership must start with self-leadership and those with official leadership titles distributing their power effectively.

You can’t just come in one day and say everyone is a leader. If you do, a pyramid organizational structure will re-form, and bosses will emerge.

  • Self-leaders know when to set boundaries
  • Self-leaders are excellent keepers of their own time
  • Self-leaders know when to grow and when to sow
  • Self-leaders know when and how to receive feedback
  • Self-leaders can partner with their future self and see the bigger picture
  • Expert self-leaders know when to follow too

Do you remember the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes? This humbling Hans Christian Andersen tale is one worth remembering for self-reflection for any leaders.

Something that distributed leadership is not; it is not a delegation of your tedious tasks.

Distributed leadership is purposeful and cultivated.

Great leadership is an art. 

A railroad organization

Many companies operate a railroad organizational structure, but changing current norms by empowering people to make decisions and trust them to do so can be hard for centralized leaders to embody.

Giving up your control can be scary for some.

Still, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and this seemingly permanent technological change, maybe it is time to rethink how we organize society to succeed in the future.

If you hold the title of leader, one way to start with distributed leadership is to create space to allow the distribution of your power.

A way you can do this is by listening to learn from everyone.

And not just listening to respond, thereby leaving space to let people step up, and feel safe to seize the opportunity.

  • In what ways can you create this safe space for people to be heard and understood?
  • How can you create opportunities for better processes that distribute power away for centralized systems?
  • How can you create shared power and have power-more employees who are happy and helping your customers have a better experience?

Perhaps you explore these new concepts of distributed technologies and leadership and realize it does not work for your organization.

Below are the eight tips for getting involved in blockchain in a recent Medium article I wrote. This to help those new to blockchain, and for you experts out there, feel free to add your own tips in the comments.

A courageous road

Maneuvering the emerging technology landscape is a courageous road to take for any leader.

Since 2008 and the design of Bitcoin, entrepreneurs and traditional businesses have become captivated with the underlying technology, which is blockchain and what this foundational technology could do to help them thrive in a digital world.

The appetite for distributed technology shown by academics, computer scientists, economists, visionaries, and businesses for blockchain development is backed up by annual reported spending on research and development by the IDC. The IDC said worldwide spending on blockchain solutions is forecast to be nearly $2.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 88.7% from the $1.5 billion spent in 2018.

Even with the compelling spending on blockchain research and development, there are still very few cases of legacy businesses accepting this fundamental change.

Two of the exclusive benefits blockchain can provide is that unlike centralized platforms;

1. blockchain has unparalleled security built into the core, and

2. it can also enable a personal data stewardship model — you own your data-self

Algorand Ecosystem creates Covid-19 community tracking application

An example of the power of ecosystem distributed innovation is Algorand creating an open global data repository for people to share their coronavirus info. Built on their innovative blockchain technology to ensure free, permanent public access.

Emerging technologies and choosing the right solution

As you implement new technology solutions choosing the right solution becomes a problem when you do not have certainty in a specific outcome.

Uncertainty makes it harder to form strategies for implementing emerging technologies. These innovative technologies can carry a higher financial loss than current proven solutions that seem to be working well enough already.

Not that long ago, cloud technology was in the same boat as blockchain, and now most businesses, once wary of using the cloud, are moving to complete cloud solutions. I would suggest there are unseen issues with doing this, but companies seem happy with the cloud products provided.

The front of the hand with implementing new technologies is being a first-mover can be lucrative.

However, the back of the hand is that you don’t know which blockchain promises to trust.

How does distributed leadership play into new technologies?

Once you empower and trust those without the official title of leader, it creates space to enable innovation and to listen to other points of view different from your own, which in turn could lead to business benefits you are blind to because of single-focus.

Final thoughts

Could exploring a distributed leadership model help blockchain and our transition into a successful fourth industrial revolution?

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