I was thrilled when two colleagues thought to provide me with this quote from Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Indeed, the quote follows my philosophy exactly. Everything we do is about relationships--the work we do, the education we provide, the life we live, the kids we raise, and the fun we have.
In business, too, it's all about relationships.
This new kind of business hero ...must learn to operate without the might of the hierarchy behind them. The crutch of authority must be thrown away and replaced by their own ability to make relationships, use influence, and work with others to achieve results.
Interestingly, when I started to investigate the origins of the quote, I also found that John Kevin Humphrey wrote a review of the book in Journal of Extension in 1992 indicating how the concepts in the book are applicable to Extension.
By establishing strategic alliances (sometimes with past adversaries), building quality teams, and developing synergies, product quality can be enhanced. Shifting from a philosophy of "individual stars" to "groups of stars" also achieves higher levels of quality with less bureaucratic structure. Kanter argues that a move away from bureaucratic structure to a post-entrepreneurial structure will facilitate needed changes and increase corporate effectiveness.
The quote and the concept of building relationships--even if these relationships are at a distance and outside of our organizations--are even more applicable today.