Unpacking the Corporate Mindset by Exploring Harvard Business Review’s “Top 10 Must Reads”

At TandemSpring we believe that all people are designed to be leaders, and that the greatest barrier to realizing that full potential is the Corporate Mindset – the survival-of-the-fittest leadership-by-title thinking that drives the modern corporatocracy.

Characteristics of the Corporate Mindset:
  • Leadership hierarchy
  • Leadership-by-title mentality
  • The linear illusion of success
  • Lack of strengths-based perspectives
  • Lack of leadership models that promote collective leadership

We call the conflict that we all inevitably experience when we try to achieve authentic success within the Corporate Mindset, the Corporate Mindset Challenge.

We have experienced the Corporate Mindset Challenge across every level of the organization. From new staff to long-standing middle managers, from transplanted senior executives to CEOs, at the crux of everyone’s leadership identity is a deficit orientation that is constantly questioning, and thereby limiting, their confidence, fostering negative self-talk and doubt, and minimizing successes. When left unchecked, these negative ways of thinking result in a series of maladaptive behaviors and cover-ups that then become infused into the unspoken rules of the corporate culture. This is the dance of the Corporate Ball – the corporate culture that requires you to do whatever it takes to “fit in” and impress the powers that be.

We have seen the Corporate Mindset Challenge across every industry. Organizations often feel like they are trying on new leadership styles and frameworks, and they are. But, they continue to shop at the same stores. So, the same biases about leadership remain embedded in the very fabric of new leadership theories and frameworks.

To find the meaning, and real sustainable success, that people are seeking out of their lives, we encourage leaders to unlock from the corporate mindset in an effort to reach their full potential. As a part of this unlocking we are going to go on a reflective exploration of more traditional models of leadership.

It is almost without question that most leaders accept anything coming out of Harvard Business School as being damn near gospel. What is being put forward in Harvard Business Review’s “Top 10 Must Reads” is some of the most renowned and accepted thinking about where leadership is today and where it is to go in the future. As such, we can look at these “Must Reads” as leading indicators of where leaders are, and where they are being told, and aspire, to go. But, when we consider these writings through the lens of strengths and the corporate mindset, we can more clearly see how leadership thinking is aiming for evolutions and not revolutions, and the consistent and ongoing flaws in thinking become more evident.

As we read through Harvard Business Reviews classics from the, Top 10 Must Reads On Leadership, we will explore:

  • How traditional leadership models relate to the Corporate Mindset
  • How a strengths-based perspective can inform a deeper understanding of each of the leadership concepts
  • How Strengths can lead to a more sustainable application of traditional models of leadership

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