Our book Host has the subtitle ‘Six new rules roles of engagement for teams, organizations, communities and movements’. Of course, the phrase ‘rules of engagement’ is commonly used in the military. It’s the conditions on which troops can open fire or engage with the enemy. These rules have to be followed all the time. (And in military terms, that’s a good thing.)
We think that leadership is not like that. It’s not a matter of finding the right thing to do and then doing it all the time. Rather, we have defined ‘ROLES of engagement’. A role is something one can step into, and step out of, to suit the situation. So, rather than having rules of how to lead, our book tells you about our six roles that good hosts and host leaders use.
It seems we are ahead of the curve. A new book has just been published by General Stanley McChrystal and others, entitled Team of Teams: New rules of engagement for a complex world. The idea is that that in an ever-changing world (which is a context we are very interested in as host leaders), it’s good to think of an organisation as a ‘team of teams’ – with small groups moving forward, experimenting and sharing their experience. That sounds pretty sensible to us. It’s interesting that General McChrystal is still drawing on rules – rather than roles – to convey his thinking.