Reconsidering Leadership Development
What is Leadership? I ask the question, as I believe that most of the time, most people, have difficulty answering this question.
The difficulty lies in that leadership is a social phenomenon, which appears differently depending on the context. Leadership within a group of fire fighters evacuating a building and dealing with a blaze, will be utterly different to that of a group of academics running a University department. Indeed, precisely what made the fire fighters effective in leadership would make these academics ineffective.
Uncovering the Grammar of the Social Field
“If you are interested in the invisible dimension of leading profound social change — and in a blend of action science and consciousness to illuminate that blind spot – then read on…” This was Otto Scharmer’s invitation on his Huffington Post blog recently. Otto went on to explain “Today, in most social systems, we collectively produce results that no one wants. These results show up in the form of environmental, social, and cultural destruction. The ecological divide (which disconnects self from nature), the social divide (which disconnects self from other), and the spiritual divide (which disconnects self from self) shape the larger context in every large system change today.”
Could Teal be the new Green?
It is old news: the planet is in crisis. The signs and warnings can be ignored, but the consequences are increasingly unavoidable. The media, though it may dance between the arguments of climate change affirmers and deniers, nonetheless presents a gloomy, foreboding future. So you could be forgiven for skipping this article thinking that it is yet another fear-mongering, guilt-inducing polemic. But hear us out: we are introducing a promising organisational approach that we believe can heal the rift between businesses and the planet.
Communities of Practice: it’s about loving the work
I recently had the privilege of working both with my colleague, George Pòr and the NHS in Yorkshire and Humber on a project involving the establishment of a network of Communities of Practice (CoP’s). George is an expert in introducing CoP’s in Europe and the client in the NHS was hungry to learn.
Communities of Practice (CoP’s) break through the traditional boundaries of organisations to bring together those with a deep knowledge and passion for their work. Whilst, in the instance of our NHS client the context was health and, ultimately improving the experience of care for patients, the context for a CoP can be anything from heavy industry to research labs or retail. What is at the heart of the approach is that the people involved have their own strong motivation to be part of it.
What does Wholeness mean in the context of Teal Organising?
Here at Future Considerations, we are engaged in an inspiring and challenging exploration of how to practically apply the insights from the work of Frederic Laloux and his best-selling management book “Reinventing Organizations”. This exploration is taking place both internally, as we evolve to the next stage of ‘teal’ organising at Future Considerations, and externally with teal-orientated clients, practitioners and collaborators. The term ‘teal’ refers to the new paradigm or level of consciousness from which the leaders and next-stage organisations operate.
Wherever the exploration is taking place, there’s one thing in common: there’s some big questions being asked and new ground being charted. One such question is what does Wholeness mean in the context of ‘teal’ organising?
Summer Reading List
With the summer solstice behind us and the promise of lazy vacation days ahead, we asked our Future Consideration colleagues to recommend their pick of some of the best ‘leadership’ books around at the moment. From Rushkoff’s observations of the “always-on now” cultural phenomenon to Shackleton’s heroic sea journey almost a hundred years ago – we’re sure our Summer Reading selection has something for every taste.
Sustainable Development Goals: time to bring in the Millennials
We are inheriting an economic value system where we value more a dead fish over a live one, a dead tree over a forest, sick people over healthy ones, war and threats of war over peace. An economic value system where we privatise profits and socialise losses, and a disconnected system that works on the economic logic of unlimited growth of organizations on a Planet of finite resources.
I believe the time is now for the transfer of power from the Baby Boomer plus generation to the Millennial Generation.
Millennial Power: Let the Future Decide its Future | TEDxUniversityofStAndrews
Darshita Gillies, an Associate of Future Considerations, delivered a powerful TEDx talk earlier this year at St Andrews University. A Millennial herself, Darshita calls for the transfer of power from the Baby Boomer plus generation to the Millennial Generation in order to safe guard the future of humanity.
Listen to her integrated proposal of how to engage Millennials worldwide to participate in the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
A Unique combination of Oshry Systemic Frameworks and Mindfulness
An opportunity to both practice mindfulness as well as to enter into an unusually powerful learning experience about our organisations’ dynamics (Oshry) is a rare experience – in fact it might well be unique. The ‘Resilient Leadership for Turbulent Times’ workshop that I attended last month certainly offered much to savour, for mind and for body.
By guest writer: Matthew Mezey, On-line engagement/culture change specialist and co-author of “Anti-Hero: the Hidden Revolution in Leadership & Change”. @MatthewMezey
Integrating leadership development, innovation and social impact for purpose-led growth
2015 is being heralded as the year for action on climate change, inequality and poverty. Two pivotal UN summits are the focus: the post-2015 development agenda will result in new global goals to end all forms of poverty, discrimination, and inequality; and COP21 where 196 countries will meet to agree on a new climate change agreement.
There is no denying that the world needs strong political leaders and multi-stakeholder collaboration to address these complex challenges. And there’s no denying that some global corporations are proactively stepping up to play their part too. However, with the exception of a handful of leading organisations, much of these efforts can feel like ‘bolt ons’, separate from the core activity of leading the business and innovating in the market place.
Lateral thinking: Alzheimer’s & Entrepreneurs
60% of people with dementia wander off, an issue that can prove hugely stressful for both patients and caregivers. Teen inventor Kenneth Shinozuka explains in this video how he came up with a novel solution to help his night-wandering grandfather and the aunt who looks after him … and how he hopes to help others with Alzheimer’s.
How can core purpose influence leadership in sustainability?
Otto Scharmer says that leaders need to shift their consciousness from an ego-system awareness to an eco-system awareness in order to serve the well being of all rather than benefiting the few. It’s a shift that requires us to expand our thinking from the head to the heart.
New research published by MIT Sloan Management Review, BCG and the UN Global Compact – Joining Forces: Collaboration and Leadership in Sustainability shows that
Reinventing Organisations – where talent blooms and our callings are honoured
Frederic Laloux’s highly acclaimed management book Reinventing Organizations explains how every time humanity has shifted to a new stage of consciousness, it has also invented a radically more productive organisational model. I witnessed this new stage of consciousness come alive in the audience at the RSA London last week, as Laloux talked about his Evolutionary-Teal perspective and his view on How to become a Soulful Organisation. You can watch a 7-minute excerpt of his talk here. Or if you want more, you can find a 20 minute version of it (the talk is 20 minutes, the rest is Q&A) here.
Spirituality – refreshing the parts that performance management can’t reach
The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in the UK published an ambitious report last month: Spiritualise – Revitalising Spirituality for 21st Century Challenges. The report seeks to integrate scientific understandings of human nature with an exploration of the role and understanding of spirituality in society. It’s a bold initiative which aims to straddle academic rigour, readability and practical insights for policy and action. Five themes struck me about spirituality in organisations:
The Art of Conversational Leadership
I recently attended a fantastic session with the poet David Whyte entitled “Life at the frontier: the art of conversational leadership”. I know his poetic work and have admired it for a long time but I am also intrigued by his work in organisations and, as the title suggested, his “take” on leadership.
Simple arithmetic or counting souls
So far, on most days and for most things 1 + 1 does equal 2.
This beautiful certainty brings a warm cradling to the unsteady world.
But what about counting souls?
Growing the fruits of Shared Mindfulness
Instead of talking about, can we try talking from and to mindfulness? From mine to yours, from yours to mine. Embodying it right here and now, as I’m writing these words, and you embodying it wherever you are, as you’re reading them. Even separated by time and space, and connected by a shared curiosity, we can be mindful together. But mindful of what?
Are we facing a ticking time bomb of myopic management?
In 2013, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management (APPGM) in the UK created a Commission on the Future of Management and Leadership to investigate how both would need to adapt and change in order to deliver sustainable economic growth for the UK by 2020. Their findings were published last month. What was their message? Brace yourself – it’s not pretty.
In order to lead today, leaders at all levels need tools to engage people on topics they are passionate about. And to do so, they must develop the ability to listen in new ways and engage with tension and alternative views. Tools like World Café and Art of Hosting help to highlight views which conflict with our own ideas, which is a necessary ingredient for transformative change to take place.
Watch Lara Toensmann speaking at TEDxReset 2014 about her experience in connecting and collaboration to effect change.
The gift of Mindfulness
I was overwhelmed by the simplicity and at the same time the emotional impact of this approach: rather than delving into my habitual “enthusiastic workshop attendee and competent coach persona” I felt stripped of any such social and narrative constructs.
By guest writer: Clara Seeger, NeuroLeadership and Emotional Intelligence Coach
The failure of the England football team is systemic
Whether you like football or not, it’s hard to witness the nation’s deflated spirit here in London after England went out of the World Cup in the first round. And the papers on Monday were speculating whether this means the end of the road for England manager Roy Hodgson. It reminds us of a similar call for the head of Fabio Capello after the nation’s poor performance in the 2010 World Cup.
Sharing the credit
How can we keep goodwill flowing in our direction all the time? How do we ensure that people around us are always willing to cooperate with us?
It is 50 years to the day, that Nelson Mandela was convicted in the Rivonia Trial and sentenced to life imprisonment. Reflecting on how, 27 years later, he emerged as a revered leader, Martin shares his view on how Mandela unlocked the powers of goodwill.
Mandatory mindfulness training for Leaders
Within a two week period, in two unconnected conversations, two people told me that practising mindfulness had probably saved their lives. Now, you may think this sounds like an exaggeration. If I hadn’t known both of these people pretty well, I would have agreed.
Mindful of the cynics
I recently read a great article by Madeleine Bunting of The Guardian who argued that soon we would all come to see mindfulness as a necessity to life. On first reading I thought this was a masterful piece, covering the history, practice and application of mindfulness in every aspect of our lives. Then I read through the comments from readers; there were some supportive responses and a fair few negative and cynical ones. Making an effort to suspend my knee-jerk reactions to be a) dismissive of and irritated by the anti-mindfulness lobby, and b) to start questioning whether mindfulness is really of value in the modern world and will be a passing fad, I pondered on some of the objections.
Can mindfulness help an organisation in crisis?
How did mindfulness help Hewlett Packard turn a crisis situation into a belief system, not only for the functional teams, but their families and surrounding communities? Dr Joel Levey, U.S. pioneer in mind-fitness for organisations, explains…
Putting the challenge into context
A colleague of mine was chatting about the Longitude Prize that was launched on the BBC last week. The competition is to commemorate 300 years since the first challenge was set (and consequently won by gruff Yorkshire clockmaker John Harrison with his stable marine chronometers) and the prize of £10 million will be awarded to the person/s who can find a solution to one of six of the world’s greatest challenges.And this got me thinking about some of the challenges our clients face.
Let’s talk about love and happiness: global metrics are transforming the world.
After attending the Global Presencing Forum (GPF) in 2014, Celine shares a number of lessons that we as Future Considerations practice in order to have greater impact in what we do at work and beyond work. Here is the last one in our series of six.
Work less! The positive impact of reducing work hours
After attending the Global Presencing Forum (GPF) in 2014, Celine shares a number of lessons that we as Future Considerations practice in order to have greater impact in what we do at work and beyond work. Here is the fifth in our series of six.
I was fascinated to hear Juliet Schor, Professor of sociology at Boston College, share her research about how we can have a positive impact on the environment by working less. It’s simple really; productivity gains (derived from the information revolution increasing the productivity per person per hour) are channelled into reducing working hours.
How to generate collective power through the sheer act of listening
After attending the Global Presencing Forum (GPF) in 2014, Celine shares a number of lessons that we as Future Considerations practice in order to have greater impact in what we do at work and beyond work. Here is the fourth in our series of six.
Say “I’ve had enough!” How craving and fear stand in the way of eco-awareness.
After attending the Global Presencing Forum (GPF) in 2014, Celine shares a number of lessons that we as Future Considerations practice in order to have greater impact in what we do at work and beyond work. Here is the third in our series of six.