Leadership Lessons on #egypt: Independence is infinite! You will not lose Yours by Giving it to Your People!

Revolutions like in Egypt show us the best – or worst – in countries, companies, people, societies, and of course leaders. And we can learn a lot by just observing what happens, or not.

I don't want to blame (or judge on) specific countries, companies or leaders – the later mentioned are just pars pro toto.

Country and company leaders tend to take away independence and individuality from their people – in order to secure stability or to stay successful. This is a philosophy deep embedded in our DNA: control your surrounding and your back, control your followers, ensure the status quo by doing so – a philosophy of dominance, a philosophy of ancient times, its success story coming to an abrupt end at the turn of the (last) century.

Digitalization, the web, and mobility maximize human's new individuality, independence, and impatience with unprecedented power – as we learn in Egypt, Tunesia or Jordan, as wikileaks shows us, or our reaction to the politician's ridiculous ideas on internet censorship, freedom of speech, or even citizen's involvement in democracy.

Leaders must leap-frog ahead into the future – not into the past. Leaders must follow one small rule: treat others like you yourself would like to be treated. Sounds naive, sounds simplistic – but think about it and you will understand its beautiful truth:

In which company would you prefer to work? At Google and Twitter, supporting the Egyptian movement? Or at vodafone, choking the same movement? Or Siemens and Nokia, which built censorship in Iran? (see #egypt: Hypocrite of the Year Award for vodafone's 'power to you' campaign)

With which of those corporations would you like to be associated? A country or corporation facilitating and challenging independence, freedom, and and a future for all – or one choking it?

Where would you imagine being more enthusiastic, more involved and motivated? More committed? Where would you like to work, live, pay your taxes?

Heading which of those corporations or countries would you like to be famous for? The Apple or the Microsoft of this world? The Iceland and Scandinavia or the Egypt, Tunesia, and China of our world?

What do you think, by which leader your people would prefer to be lead?

You may love a corporation or country where people do what they are told, never questioning orders, never reflect your morale or ethics.

What do you think, my dear business leader or politician, where you yourself will be better off in the long run? In a creative, innovative, passionably striving-to-grow country or corporation, or in a chicken-hearted, sheepish, performing way below average one?

Seize the day – not your lordship!


Please enjoy also Alan Friedman's Davos Is Silent as Egypt Burns in the Atlantic and Ten Things You're Not Allowed to Say at Davos, by Umair Haque at HBR.