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Hack your life, be incomplete!

Most of you know the article In praise of the incomplete leader written by Ancona, Malone, Orlikowski and Senge in 2007 for Harvard Business Review. The present article is the net and humboldt result of joining this great formulation with an article that definitely gave a twist to my life: How to become a hacker by Eric S Raymond.

I have to confess, every day I care less leaders. Probably because one thing is to take the lead and the other is to lead. Some considerations that you can´t control come into play in the latter scenario. Some people have said that leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. In 1990, in the early birthgiving of the knowledge society, Peter Senge said “learning organizations are organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.” I think this was more than a rethoric speech if you follow Senge´s work during the following years. Some others have spoken after in this way. The idea of learning organizations is still now totally innovative for most companies. But only just now I understand the scope of his work after a clear reading.

Some weeks ago I discovered Deborah Ancona and her X-Teams propossal. One of the most relevant lessons I´ve ever learned to stop suffering a constant frustration in teams has been to deny the perfect leader position. In free software is very usual to find that an aparently perfect software eventually become a complete abandonware. Most of our leaders become abandonwares inch by inch during their professional lifes. When I read Ancona´s approach to leadership, I quickly though Charlene Li and her Open leadership. But there was an interesting concept I´d never heard of: the incomplete leader. A person who complements other from the base of which is always incomplete and can learn at any time of others. Powerfull idea, my friends, Don´t think so? For me it was like be in front of a theater of self-consciousness and assist to a vorpal representation 😉 I love this idea because it speaks of leading teams, not about taking leadership on teams but think on a leadership team narrowly defined by the ratio of each team member.

This idea talked about relationships, not nodes; spoke about thinking on you from others, not on others from you. In fact, the subtitle of the book was “how to bild teams that lead…” not “how to lead teams”… Move from the personal to the collective responsibility through compromise is something I’ve always defended. This propossal cares about this over everything else. So once I read the article in the Harvard Business Review I find a survey to evaluate leadership ability of each person. I recommend you read the survey.

On the same side and redounding on this idea, a few days ago in WOBI Mexico, Peter Senge said that the most convincing explanation for leadership he ever heard is “the capacity of a human community to shape its future” So I was thinking while dancing alone completely naked in my usual bedtime night dance. What if we mix the concept of incomplete leaders with the great concept of the hackers? Can you imagine something like How to become an incomplete hacker or In praise of the incomplete hacker? For sure if you think deeper on this, you can write some thoughts very similar to this…



  1. You can not survive by yourself. 110,000 million people have failed before. Relax.
  2. Hack your life, be incomplete. Don´t learn how to be a perfect leader, be an incomplete hacker and for sure you become a perfect leader. For you. For others.
  3. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved. (1) Choose a challenge and devote yourself to solve it with passion and commitment.
  4. Don´t manage your expectations, build them with others. Start from yourself will make you lose the beauty of other landscapes in the travel.
  5. Live as if you were alive. Don´t live as a reference for others, live as a reference for yourself.
  6. Don´t be another, be part of the others. All that we are is the sum of small parts that help to shape the others. Complete the desktop of your life with other lives. If it doesn´t work, restart continuously. This always works.
  7. Don´t talk to others like if they were yourself. Talk them as if they were themselves. Fortunately for you, not everyone on the earth is like you
  8. Define your own way and experience it. Failure is the previous level to success in every videogame.
  9. Do all with others. Remember when you were a kid and you were afraid to be alone. Nothing changes.

That´s all, friends. Hackers bless you.



In praise of the incomplete leader here in spanish.

How to become a hacker here in spanish.

(1) Great inspiration of Raymond

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