Level 6 Leader

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Introduction - Level 5 Leadership

The book by Jim Collins, Good to Great - has popularized the concept of Level 5 Leadership, which OSE stands upon to formulate the concept of the Level 6 Leader:


Here is an excerpt from the website:

"The good-to-great executives were all cut from the same cloth. It didn’t matter whether the company was consumer or industrial, in crisis or steady state, offered services or products. It didn’t matter when the transition took place or how big the company. All the good-to-great companies had Level 5 leadership at the time of transition. Furthermore, the absence of Level 5 leadership showed up as a consistent pattern in the comparison companies. Given that Level 5 leadership cuts against the grain of conventional wisdom, especially the belief that we need larger-than-life saviors with big personalities to transform companies, it is important to note that Level 5 is an empirical finding, not an ideological one.

The eleven good-to-great CEOs are some of the most remarkable CEOs of the century, given that only eleven companies from the Fortune 500 met the exacting standards for entry into this study. Yet, despite their remarkable results, almost no one ever remarked about them! … The good-to-great leaders never wanted to become larger-than-life heroes. They never aspired to be put on a pedestal or become unreachable icons. They were seemingly ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results. …It is very important to grasp that Level 5 leadership is not just about humility and modesty. It is equally about ferocious resolve, an almost stoic determination to do whatever needs to be done to make the company great.

Not long ago, I shared the Level 5 finding with a gathering of senior executives. A woman who had recently become chief executive of her company raised her hand and said, “I believe what you say about the good-to-great leaders. But I’m disturbed because when I look in the mirror, I know that I’m not Level 5, not yet anyway. Part of the reason I got this job is because of my ego drives. Are you telling me that I can’t make this a great company if I’m not Level 5?”

“I don’t know for certain that you absolutely must be a Level 5 leader to make your company great,” I replied. “I will simply point back to the data: Of 1,435 companies that appeared on the Fortune 500 in our initial candidate list, only eleven made the very tough cut into our study. In those eleven, all of them had Level 5 leadership in key positions, including the CEO, at the pivotal time of transition.”

She sat there, quiet for moment, and you could tell everyone in the room was mentally urging her to ask the question. Finally, she said, “Can you learn to become Level 5?”

My hypothesis is that there are two categories of people: those who do not have the seed of Level 5 and those who do. … The second category of people—and I suspect the larger group—consists of those who have the potential to evolve to Level 5; the capability resides within them, perhaps buried or ignored, but there nonetheless. And under the right circumstances—self-reflection, conscious personal development, a mentor, a great teacher, loving parents, a significant life experience, a Level 5 boss, or any number of other factors—they begin to develop.

In looking at the data, we noticed that some of the leaders in our study had significant life experiences that might have sparked or furthered their maturation."

The OSE Way - Level 6 Leadership

OSE takes it a step further - a focus on ethical Enterprise as defined by Moral Intelligence. We add the orientation not only for the company - but external - as in the inclusivity of an economy of abundance. This is congruent with the OSE vision. This implies solving pressing world issues and leaving nobody behind - via open collaboration towards open enterprise, also known as Distributive Enterprise. This means not just a Level 5 Purpose (without built-in Moral Intelligence), but a Level 6 Superpurpose: the purpose of enterprise macroethics - or creating a humane world. That is, a value orientation based around improving the lot of human kind, in harmony with natural life support systems.

Jim Collins, in his books, lays out the brutal facts of corporate reality: there is no universal value/ideology that makes a company great. It is, instead - the conviction of and srong adherence to a set of values - which makes a company great. That has a dark side. Some companies, which Collins classifies as great - sell death - such as Philip Morris. This is an unsolved issue and critique of institutions: many institutions tend to be outdated as they are compromised in the execution of their work. For exmaple - a state that promotes genocide (Russia) is a permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2024.

OSE's goal is to redefine greatness as something that leads to continued evolution, transcendence, unlimited possibility, tangible opportunity - and as Drucker implied - making enterprise both efficient and humane.