The story of the '19 thoughts'
It was 2009. A lot of organisations experience a lack of 'leadership'. Employees are unhappy with how they are being lead. Team leaders and managers feel stuck in the middle. Leaders at the top are frustrated with the lack of strategic agility and entrepreneurship in their management. Customers complain about being treated in a paternalistic and/or bureaucratic way.
At the same time organisations invested heavily in leadership and talent models and processes. It was almost as if the more they invested, the bigger the leadership and trust gap in organisations became.
What was happening?
We started researching the leadership 'gap' and came to two major findings. First and foremost: the narrowing down of the idea of leadership to having formal positions and roles. While leadership is also in the agency of people. Not all leaders have formal power and not all people with formal power are leaders. That means that more people, regardless of their position or role, can be invited to develop and demonstrate leadership to increase collective leadership.
Secondly. Leadership is shared. Organisations thrive because a group of leaders co-act. Being a strong, forceful 'leader' doesn't suffice. That means that leader development in groups and between leaders is important to increase collective leadership.
The 19 thoughts
We developed 19 thoughts as a resource and tool to open up the space for leadership development. We present leadership as an aspirational idea that is worthwhile to strive for and makes life and work more meaningful. Starting question is: "What happens if you start considering yourself as a leader?"
The first version of the 19 thoughts in 2011 went viral. Since then we continued to update the 19 thoughts and became more precise on how put them into practice. We are now working with the fourth completely renewed set of thoughts. Part of the magic of the 19 thoughts is our dedication to keep them aligned to what's happening in society.
Our mission is to demystify leadership and open up people in teams and organisations to the idea of 'me too, I am a leader'.
From there on adventure begins, with the 19 thoughts that inspire, bring comfort and understanding, make curious and challenge.