Humpty Dumpty and All the Kings Men
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” A familiar nursery rhyme from a 1902 Mother Goose storybook by William Wallace Denslow. You may have forgotten that this rhythmic recitation was originally a riddle. There are many theories, one being that Humpty Dumpty was an egg. Always questioning, I wondered who was Humpty Dumpty? He was obviously in a place of importance since the King’s men appeared to attempt to save him, but they were not able to save him from his ultimate demise. Was this an intentional choice made by his men?
When leaders choose to be more interested and invested in themselves than others, it will eventually catch up to them and have a negative impact on all they worked to build. When we see firms pursuing growth only to get bigger and not to add any benefit for their end client, it becomes obvious that it’s all about them and their return – not necessarily their marketed value propositions. How do they achieve growth? By building silos with teams that have different directives and compensation. At times, the silos start building their own businesses inside the original business in order to make it appear like they’re adding value.
It’s an easier path to build a business in this model, but it is not the only way, and there are certainly other options. Size and scale matter, but there are more important issues that matter to clients and employees, who don’t want to become just a number. Many firms employ models that truly focus on taking care of clients and members of the firm, and have leadership in place with the sole purpose of supporting and answering to their clients and their team. When you are considering what may be next for your firm, make sure you truly understand all the choices and consequences.
One can choose to lead by creating and embracing fear, or by evaluating and collaborating with emotional intelligence. Remember what happened to Humpty Dumpty.