Wael Ghonim, Google's marketing manager for the Middle East and North Africa, had been held captive by the Egyptian government for 12 days. Recently released, he has been doing interviews describing what's going on his country in which he describes it as an internet revolution, 'Revolution 2.0' is the name he has given it. Here's a 5-minute CNN interview with him, in which he comes across as insightful, articulate, and passionate to an inspiring degree.
'Revolution 2.0' is a classic example of how a scene breaks down when a high status player doesn't share the narrative with the other players in the scene. It doesn't matter whether the scene plays out over 30 years, as with Mubarak's reign, or whether it's the duration of your company's offsite, the dynamic is the same: Scenes in which one player tries to script and control the narrative are doomed to fall apart in a networked environment.
Not that I'm putting myself in the same lame league as a world-class scene hog like Hosni Mubarak, but 'scripting' is my own biggest challenge as an improviser performing on stage. For much of my career, I got paid for telling stories. I made a career out of coming up with ideas that others on my team were tasked with implementing. I led by articulating a vision that others would follow.
Through improvisation I have come to see that when you participate in a narrative without controlling it, the stories tell themselves. I understand now that collaboration is the shortest path to implementation. I realize that vision is only as good as what you can see in the moment, and that the best leadership is actually skillful following in disguise.
'Revolution 2.0' is a demonstration of the power of a shared narrative, and a global referendum on what leadership will look like in the Networked World. The Egyptian narrative belongs to the Egyptian people and the harder Hosni Mubarak works at controlling it, the more tragically obvious this fact is going to become.
(UPDATE: ON FEB 11, 2011 AT 1600 GMT, HOSNI MUBARAK RESIGNED THE PRESIDENCY AND HEADED FOR THE BEACH WITH HIS FAMILY. CONGRATULATIONS TO WAEL GHONIM AND THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE FOR TAKING BACK THEIR NARRATIVE!)
Mike Bonifer is the author of GameChangers -- Improvisation for Business in the Networked World, and the CEO of GameChangers LLC.