Capitalism 2.0 Q&A – With Adrian Stalham and Peter Haydock

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10.08.22
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Capital markets are better than the alternative, but the version we’ve had have some major flaws and faults in it.

Capitalism 2.0 reinvents and transforms the whole environment businesses operate in. It influences the structural and people side, the organisational design, leadership styles and hierarchies.

During this Q&A, Adrian Stalham and Peter Haydock talk about the capitalism of the past, the present and how to embrace capitalism 2.0 in your organisation.

Adrian Stalham I’d like to introduce management consultant extraordinaire Peter Haydock. Good to meet you, Peter. Let’s start off just a little bit about yourself. How do you end up as a consultant working with leaders across the organisation?

Peter Haydock: Having been an operational manager and leader, I have first-hand experience of things that I did well and didn’t do so well. So I feel a certain empathy for leaders grappling with complexity nowadays. I like being truly helpful to individuals, teams and organisations.

Adrian: Maybe we’re at a transition point between the capitalism of the past and the present, switching to 2.0. This could influence the organisational design and could influence leadership styles. What’s wrong with capitalism and what does capitalism 2.0 looks like?

Peter: I’m a believer in capital markets because I think that’s better than the alternative. But the version of capitalism we’ve had has some major flaws and faults in it – because it has driven organisations for shorter-term benefits. It’s also driven us to not consider the implications on our environment, planet and people. And I think that’s where we need to change the whole environment that businesses operate within. 

We’ve transitioned from very hierarchical organisations to thinking more about agile, self-organising teams… Those sorts of things. Hierarchies are not the problem. It depends on what they’re in service of and what they’re predicated on. 

Striking a balance between alignment and autonomy 

Adrian: There needs to be a sort of balance between alignment on autonomy. Too much alignment and people are disempowered and no leader sets the path which essentially is too much autonomy. It’s slightly chaotic and everyone’s happy, but they’re doing their own thing and it’s trying to get that heady balance between the two.

We beat up organisations that are very hierarchical with outdated ways of working. We could argue that a shift in human consciousness is underway, to realise what’s no longer acceptable. And sometimes we’ve got the opposite of command and control. Organisations where hierarchy is a totally flat structure, but that’s very difficult to do and it often fails. 

Peter: This makes me think about one particular client I’m working with at the moment. Part of the team in this project has implemented self-organised teams. You need to remember that the word ‘self-organised’ means that you actually need to organise. You need to have a negotiation and conversation about how we are going to work together and how to be a team. There is interdependency. Without direction, you lose the sense of clarity. 

Adrian: Yeah, I think that’s great. I think I’ve seen the same thing. The ability to lead a team so that they can self-organise is to give them the right kind of initiatives, guidance, guardrails, and some influence to get them to a point where you can take hands off more. It’s really key. I’ve seen it fail so many times. 

Often, we talk about servant leadership. We’ve forgotten the second word in servant leadership is leadership. Sometimes you need to be able to listen to everybody needs to be able to listen carefully to every person’s input, but then decide the direction.  

We need more debate. If we all say yes, great, we’ll go ahead and execute. The key to disagreeing and committing is to commit, right? So you’re going to say that ‘I think we should see something different. However, I’m part of a team. And now I need to commit 100% to make that a success, not sabotage but actually commit to making that successful.’ 

Peter: Sometimes I get frustrated because I see the consulting industry, which we’re part of, as selling more things, solutions, approaches to organisations. They’re a bit of a ‘one-size fits all ‘as opposed to being really discerning about the context. 

Adrian: A bit like the diet industry. What’s the next diet industry? We know they don’t work. We’re going to sell you a different one this time. This time it’s lemon juice with your coffee or whatever it is. 

Peter: Which is why I have that love/hate relationship. And as a consultant, I’ve said to clients to be very sceptical and suspicious of consultants. I’m going to try and help you. But at the end of the day. You’ve got to make your own mind up.

Coaching as an industry

Peter: I see the same kind of situation in the coaching industry too. It’s turned into a thing when in actual fact, I think the underlying skills and qualities of coaching, asking great questions, giving somebody their attention, listening, giving them some space to reflect, helping them kind of think through their own solutions and problems and try and articulate all that sort of stuff. 

Adrian: Coaching is a management style. A lot of organisations don’t push that, even though we know coaching can be very useful in certain situations. What are your thoughts on coaching as a management style? 

Peter: I’d like to say if leaders and managers were able to adopt some of the core skills and qualities within that wrapper of coaching when actually we’d have better managers and leaders. 

Capitalism 2.0 and ethics

Adrian: If I have great leaders who work in a different style, maybe I can be more engaged at work and get more meaning out of the work. All those things you just talked about, what else is capitalism 2.0 going to drive into organisations?

Peter: I think some component parts of what we need are ethics. It needs to be part of developing leaders. And I hate to say that we need to teach leaders ethics, but I think that needs to be a subject that is discussed and debated and becomes part of the thought process, becomes part of the identity of a leader thinking about ethics from a leadership point of view. 

Maybe there are elements of how we structure organisations: ownerships, for example, how some of the decision-making utilising distributed technologies and things like that. I think we need to take a more whole view of organisational structure.

Transparency is rising. And even if you do try and hide things. Bad leaders or bad organizations, they’ll get found out. It’s very difficult to offer a poor product or service nowadays without some form of transparency. The public will be outing you. So I think that’s good. I think we’re heading in the right direction there.

Adrian: So maybe transparency is the trigger and maybe that’s been delivered to us through technology for capitalism. 2.0. 

Fantastic. Peter, I want to say thank you very much for this session. I’ve really enjoyed it and we’re looking forward to working with you. 

If you want to watch this talk in its entirety, please visit our Youtube channel for the full episode. 

Written by
Sullivan & Stanley