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I’ve landed (and the how & why of it)
From Westrope Leadership Inc.
There has been admittedly, a lull in my reporting. But silence does not speak to inaction or indolence. Indeed, my neurons have been firing at a particularly active rate of late. And the point I find myself at in the moment is in fact a landing point. I have arrived here and have concluded thathere marks the beginning of a journey I believe will be profound, remarkable and important – certainly for me and I hope for you.
For those who have followed me and my musings over the last year or so, you will know that I have been exploring options for my next play – my raison d’être. Something that caught my imagination, my propensity for big ideas – something that mattered. It needed to be something that leveraged my 30+ years as an intrapreneur, consultant and entrepreneur AND my newfound understanding of the power of leadership coaching. But as I probed and scoped for things to do, I realized that context was for me, missing. Here I was trying to find my fit in life for the next x-xx years, and I hadn’t nailed the context for life – for living (both capital ‘L’). Sounds kind of existential. It was.
So I started scanning and reading articles about innovation and technology. Tens of articles became hundreds and hundreds thousands. And not just about geekspeak developments in the pureplay tech space, but about how such advancements were floating all our boats – advances in material science, nanotechnology, healthcare, robotics/AI and so much more.
While I had always considered myself au courant, I found instead that the breadth, depth and pace of change was at a state far beyond what I understood to be. It was immeasurably more than what that over-used term ‘disruptive’ allows for. In fact, I realized that we are approaching a watershed moment in human development and history, a time that has the potential to see Man transcendent in all the ways that can be considered good, and yet with the very real possibility that we will either shrink from that future because of fear and ignorance, and/or we will corrupt the nature and quality of that transcendence to something mean and common – even evil.
So. A pressing future was revealed to me that was at once awesome and terrifying. Given the potentially terminal consequence of failure, humanity’s picking the wrong door was not an option. Which begged the question – is our leadership prepared to lead us through, to and beyond this watershed? Do they have the intellect, values, courage and vision necessary to guide us and inspire us?
You will not be surprised that I concluded in the negative – no, nyet, negatory, definitely not. No.
So. Timing is everything. Just as I was pondering the inevitable decline/demise of us and our collective – at minimum a descent into mediocrity – I discovered a discipline/POV that had been conceived of and incubated over the last half century in the best business schools in the west. It is elegant, even beautiful, it is startling intuitive and simple, and it is dense. The academics who laboured away at it for those five decades clearly didn’t want anyone finding out about it. The problem is, I think it may represent a new way of defining leadership and empowering leaders that is unique and vital to the imperative of picking the right door(s) that I noted above. Rather than provide a one-size-fits-all prescriptive answer (like the million biz-philosophies and guru’s du jour), it provides a new way of understanding oneself, ones family, ones business, ones community – onesenvironment. This way of thinking provides a new framework for asking questions, that in the answering is far more likely to lead to genuine and helpful enlightenment.
So. (Likely) Problem identified. (Likely) Solution identified. We have something like 25-40 years to get our act together and start acting like a species that can make the earth what it can and should be and shoot for the stars at the same time.
Who then to take the lead? Government? I think not – for not only are they too slow, cumbersome and self-interested, their mandate is by definition driven by narrow local, regional and national perspectives – when the best solutions are more often than not, global. The answer I’ve concluded, is business. Not the Bernie Madoff, Wall Street-that-nearly-destroyed-us kind of capitalism, but one that reframes itself by asking the right questions and pursuing thoughtful answers (note I didn’t say the ‘right’ answer – more on that later) that engage and profit all stakeholders. No surprise then, if you’ve managed to follow my logic (gold star for you), I’ve netted out that we must distill and develop this new leadership mindset and insert it into an eco-system of millions of actors so that intellectual Darwinism does its job of testing and refining said mindset as an agnostic alternative to a world made small by orthodoxy.
Now THIS is something I can sink my existential teeth into! Being party to the cracking of the problem/solution definitely captures my imagination, and it certainly qualifies as a big idea, but most importantly – it matters. For the future that is unfolding demands that we each take what we are and do more with it. So, for my part, I will roll up my 30+ years of intrapreneurial, consulting, entrepreneurial and coaching experience to start the process of distilling, testing and refining this new POV with those of similar mindset – for business leaders who perceive their corporate success as an exemplar, a tool, for something greater.
Let the journey begin.