Anywhere Leaders are everywhere. And they often don’t get to choose their political oversight. They have to succeed regardless of the politics, regardless of the policy. I’ve spent a lot of time with leaders in a democratic society. And now I’ve spent a lot of time with leaders who operate under a communist regime. While how these people lead differs greatly, the results can be similar.
I met with more than 30 leaders this past week while I was in China. Some of them were Anywhere Leaders and some of them were not, but they all operated under communist policies. The Anywhere Leaders were driving significant progress and change, while the others showed few results. Two villages in particular stood out to me. These villages and their leaders operated differently and saw different results too.
First, the similarities: Both villages were destroyed by a major earthquake. Both villages are in the city of Pengzhou. Both villages received significant funding from the government for rebuilding their communities.
That’s where the similarities end.
The first village took the governmental funding and moved into government-provided housing and got city jobs. They are comfortable. The houses are fairly nice and their jobs are steady. The communist government has provided well for them – socialism at its best. The leaders are there to maintain the life and enforce the policies. The second village chose a different path following the earthquake. Instead of moving into government-provided houses, they used the funding to rebuild the homes in their communities. They are also rebuilding their businesses and investing in new businesses, focusing on the sectors of leisure and tourism, and clean air. Their houses are nice, but their jobs aren’t steady. There is an element of risk involved. Getting a city job would have been more secure. The government provided well for them, but unlike the first village, this group has taken what they received and leveraged it for growth – quite a capitalist mindset under communist influence.
If I was investing my money, it would definitely go to the leaders of village No. 2. Why? Because they are driving progress and leveraging their resources for growth, taking the harder road in hopes of greater rewards.
Even though communism and capitalism are opposing philosophies, both need Anywhere Leaders to drive progress and growth. Neither of these political philosophies guarantees growth and development. I believe, however, that capitalist principles naturally set leaders up with the right mindset for progress, while communism, over time, can allow complacency to set in, stifling progress and growth.
If you’re an Anywhere Leader, don’t allow the politics to drive your results. Figure out ways to drive progress and influence others. If you’re operating under an extreme socialist philosophy where everyone receives equally distributed wealth and support, make sure you continue to invent and reinvent in your laboratories, share and welcome more ideas, and continue to take risks behind good business opportunities.