Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom, in their book The Starfish and the Spider, make a
compelling argument for the power of leaderless organizations. They
point to examples like Al Quieda and Alcoholics Anonymous to
illustrate how much can be accomplished when a network is left to its
own devices without a centralized command structure.
Today I had the opportunity to sit in an orchestra. It was
an incredible experience. At one point the conductor left the stage and
asked the orchestra to play a piece without him. Each group of
musicians responded to those around them and the result was beautiful.
Was it better with a conductor. Perhaps. But I was amazed at how well
the orchestra played without one. The point is they didn't need him up
there to make great music, but he was able to bring out the best in
That's what a great leader is like.