“Interdependence is a higher value than independence.”
— Stephen R Covey
This quote was taken from the first line in the acknowledgements of Stephen R Covey’s landmark work, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This is a book I studied at great length just after it was published in 1989, and of course, it is still as much valued today as then when it was a fresh idea.
With this Leadership Week, I’ve tried to talk about different things than might be typically presented because Leadership is such a wide and deep subject that it takes thousands of books to treat it and it is still being treated anew.
I do love history, particularly certain portions of it, and as I just finished watching the almost 4 hour PBS presentation of Benjamin Franklin, (which if you haven’t seen it, is a 10 on my scale of 1 to 10), I was amazed all over again of the depth and width of the man and all that he accomplished, much of which we have long forgotten. To say he was a leader is insufficient. He was a masterful leader and if we were to analyze his genius and his negotiation skills and scientific skills, we could very easily focus in on him as a singular super star.
Yet, as I watched, still appreciating as fully as I could his genius, I see that he is not independent, nor dependent, but interdependent.
The latest news of the passing of a world icon such as Steve Jobs is so similar. Everywhere I see him as the singled out leader in creating the personal computer and leading us into the information age and on and on. Of course, he was a masterful asset in this process, and he is a brilliant genius, yet he knew just how interdependent he was to the creation of any of the assets for which he is remembered.
To me, in all my study of leaders throughout history, the strongest and most successful were aware of their need to depend on others and so always focused on surrounding themselves with talent whenever that opportunity existed. Some one person can always be the visible leader, the icon even, but it is always the interdependence and synergistic alliances with others that creates the success.
Leaders who don’t understand this are obvious sooner or later and their legacy is very different. Truth is, we need each other. We need each others market. We need each others skills, and we need each other’s ideas. No one succeeds alone. No one.
This Is Not An Excuse To Avoid Leadership, But To Be A Strong, Yet More Appreciative Leader.
Spread Some Joy Today–Think about all that goes on around you that serve you that you don’t even know how it is done, or who does it. We are helped in so many unseen ways to have a better life. Isn’t that marvelous? Get excited about that!