In an increasingly complex world, none of us can meet all organizational challenges and objectives alone. We all have people we turn to for insight, guidance, assistance, motivation, and various other means of support. Our ability to reach out to the right person is often integral to success. Moreover, it is rare that a singular figure fulfills all our needs. The expert who harbors critical information may or may not be the trusted personal advisor or confidant to turn to with a sensitive problem, or the influencer who rallies people together. We must look in multiple directions to access the expertise and resources necessary to accomplish our goals. In this vein, leaders commonly rely on networks to address their needs and achieve desired results. Those leaders who find the most success have fine-tuned networks in place to support them, offering diverse knowledge and resources. The ability for leaders to recognize the nuances of their networks and to optimize them has clear importance towards accomplishing objectives. For organizations, understanding the exact nature and dimensions of leadership—such as where leadership is concentrated, high-functioning, overlooked, or underperforming—can enhance leadership capacity and growth as part of an overall, pragmatic effort to navigate complexity and capitalize on leadership’s immense value.

Networks not Hierarchy: Expanding Leadership Capacity and Impact in a Complex World