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Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it.

Be an Agent of Disorganisation

Complacency is a virus in an organisation. Love of the status quo is the first step towards becoming a museum of how a once-useful organisation used to do things. And the complacency virus quickly leads to worse strains, namely delusion and arrogance. And once you hit delusion and arrogance – that you do all things well and best – then you’re only a few steps away from complete organisational collapse.

The leader’s job is not to be the head and chief organiser. The leader’s job is to be the chief disorganiser. The leader’s job is to question everything. To be constantly sceptical that the way we currently do it is really the best way to get it done, or sceptical that what once was the best way is still the best way. To be vigilant in noticing how the organisation actually operates and what rules and laws, both explicit and implied, are followed and believed. To consistently doubt the developed habits of the organisation and to consistently doubt conventional wisdom.

An agent of disorganisation keeps picking at and harassing the systems and assumptions and routines in the organisation. To check under the bed, to open the cupboards, to wipe a finger along the tops of the bookshelves. To keep digging and to keep probing and to keep rattling and to keep shaking and so to constantly refine the organisation.

Contentment and complacency lead an organisation to slow down and drift towards immobilization. More organisation is not the answer.

Be an agent of disorganisation.