A fallacy of modern business states that successful businesses shine due to the visionary brilliance of a lone heroic leader. Alas, that’s a simplistic view that sidelines others’ talent. Business leader and coach Lorna Davis explains the difference between the hero model and the collaborative model of leadership. She doesn’t suggest specific techniques to build the “radical interdependence” that businesses need, but that’s the point: There is no one-size-fits-all framework. Companies thrive only when they invite all employees to contribute their unique skills and ideas.


To solve problems, leaders must abandon the hero myth and embrace “radical interdependence.”

When Lorna Davis headed Griffin’s Foods, a New Zealand snacks company, in 1997, she announced her lofty ambition to capture 25% of the New Zealand snack market. Davis fancied herself as a sole hero who could inspire change, but change didn’t manifest. Though moved by Davis’s intentions, employees didn’t know what was expected of them, nor did they realize that Griffin’s Foods needed their participation to realize its vision.

The hero myth is counterproductive, because it leads people to believe that one person has all the answers and can go it alone. “Radical interdependence,” on the other hand, seeks the input of all. Radical interdependence is a hallmark of B Corporations, a movement of companies that have received certification for embedding the public interest goals in their missions and give back to the communities they serve as well as to their shareholders. They see themselves as part...

About the Speaker

Business leader Lorna Davis is a global ambassador for the B Corporation movement. She coaches companies on incorporating people and the planet, as well as profits, into their corporate missions.

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