THE LEADERS WE NEED
Our world today has been described as VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Leaders in all sectors are called on at this time to shine a light into the gloom and step forward. Together we must build hope vested in action.
The businesses that will thrive in this uncertain future will be underpinned by four acknowledgements:
Reparation – an acknowledgement of the harm to our planet caused by humans, and our collective responsibility to engage in reparative activities – to clean up and make good; and the understanding that care in all its manifestations is a better basis for prosperity than fear, greed and blame.
Risk – an acknowledgement of the inherently risky nature of business in a fast moving and turbulent world, hence a primacy on innovation, flexibility, a piloting mentality and intrapreneurship – spreading an entrepreneurial mindset within the organisation.
Regeneration – an acknowledgement of the finite nature of our planet, hence the need to reconfigure our ideas of growth from proliferation and bigger to deeper and wiser; and to assist the planet to regenerate. Following the adaptive cycles of natural living systems – growth, conservation, collapse or release, re-organisation – will replace our outmoded notions of continuous and linear growth.
Resilience – an acknowledgement of the abrasive nature of working in today’s competitive world, of the anxiety generated by unstable and unpredictable environments, hence the need to enhance not just our ‘bounce-back’ but through our inherent capacity for learning, to use challenges to ‘bounce forwards’.
WHY CHANGE? WHY REGENERATION?
We all want meaning in our lives, for our work to have purpose, and for our lives to mean something to others. The coaching journey to uncover these core human drivers is a natural, exciting and rewarding process.
In these turbulent and transforming times we know that the future will not be a version of ‘business as usual’. To invest work with meaning involves a paradigm shift in consciousness – in how we see the world and the story we want to tell for our future. The new story is one based on regeneration.
HOW DO WE CREATE LEADERSHIP IN AND FOR THE WORLD?
Our world today faces its greatest challenge: we might view ourselves on the brink of a kind of self-created holocaust, the threatened destruction of our biosphere. These challenges are so huge, so multi-level, so complex, many turn away in confusion or denial.
There is an African saying: If you want to travel fast, go alone; if you want to travel far, go together. At this juncture in our planet’s history we must travel both far and fast. The great leaders today are looking not to become heroes in the old mould, but to change the rules of the game. If we understand everything to be interdependent then we can move on from the notion of the ‘Lone Hero’ out front to empowering, sharing and distributing leadership throughout organisations.
Building our capacity for engagement and infusing our inquiry with compassion, care and thoughtfulness builds leaders who lead both in and for the world. The shift in consciousness required is not work done alone.