There are two ways of handling this.
The first is to centralise: to bring all the relevant information to one central leader, so that she can take decisions. The other is to decentralise: to make everyone a leader; give everyone in the organisation the same attitude, understanding and skills that the centralised leader would have, so that they can do what the organisation needs, without needing to be told.
The first approach works well for activities of limited time and scope. It works well for the US military when they have a specific mission, and the generals can watch events unfold in real time.
But when the time period is longer, when your organisation is trying to win the peace and not the war, events will always happen that are outside what you expected. In this case the decentralised approach works.
Danone has spent the last five years training 65,000 of its 100,000 employees in the fundamentals of its leadership philosophy. The programme is already creating tangible benefits in better quality, fewer problems, less waste, and the company is committed to training up the remaining 35,000 leaders as soon as possible.
At Danone, “everyone can be a leader”.
So when a ‘situation’ arises, anytime, anywhere, the organisation will be able to respond quickly and effectively, without waiting to be told, and without the need for a costly central overhead to tell them what to do.
For more information visit the Hay Group blog, here: http://blog.haygroup.com/how-to-create-100000-leaders/
Or read the full interview with the program director, here: http://www.haygroup.com/bestcompaniesforleadership/research-and-findings/misc.aspx?id=124