This is our second last article in this series. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been trying to get your attention because we believe the world is not in good shape and we need like-minded people to work together to help the planet and in the meantime create organisations that thrive and prosper.
To restate a premise in our first article, is your organisation:
Delivering real value (not artificial value) to your customers?
Creating ongoing wealth for your shareholders and prosperity for all your stakeholders?
Doing the above two things in a sustainable and enduring way that is to the benefit of society and the community?
If not, you may want to think about how the Integral Framework can help you make sense of what’s going on.
Apart from having a meta-model like the Integral Framework to assist in sense-making, we think you’ll also need some critical leadership skills and they are:
OK, so that last one (VUCA Navigation) is a bunch of skills rolled into one label but we’re trying to be concise so we don’t lose your attention…. but let’s start with VUCA Navigation. In a previous article we defined VUCA as a way of describing current organisational life – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The role of leaders today is to navigate this terrain and not only is this not easy, we have not been taught how to do this and as such our skills are sorely lacking. See this blog from one of our highly respected Wise Elders on the research around this which essentially shows that the VUCA skillset of leaders today is universally poor. How Good Are Leaders VUCA Skills?
Working up the list above of critical skills is Collaborative Capacity – this is not a ‘nice to have’ it is an absolute must in a VUCA world. Our view of contemporary organisational life is that it is characterised by blurred or non-existent local-global boundaries, ever-expanding technologies, fast-paced competitiveness, an indefatigable drive for shareholder value (and the often associated cost cutting), relentless focus on performance along with mergers, acquisitions, restructures; then add customer and community considerations, international trading agreements, environmental impacts, takeovers and re- engineering activities. Take a breath! Put together, these elements have created an environment that is stunningly complex and turbulent. And it’s not going away; if anything, complexity, pace and turbulence are going to increase. What this means is, unlike The Phantom, we cannot work alone in navigating this world. We simply must collaborate with each other to make the best decisions in a complex environment. No one leader can possibly have all the answers. Not only do we not individually have the answers, we do not have the capacity to see the totality of what must be seen; we can’t see, let alone take in the plethora of data that exists and that must be taken into account if we are to make fully informed, cohesive decisions. It’s just too much. Beam me up Scotty!
If you are with us so far and agree that collaboration is required to navigate complexity, then you must surely agree that to truly collaborate, which in part necessitates the ability to seek and coordinate others’ perspectives, then Intellectual Humility is also a must. Carol Dweck defines Intellectual Humility as ‘acknowledging the partial nature of one’s understanding and valuing others’ intelligence’. Without it, we are disabled from learning. With it, we are in a state of openness to new ideas and we have a willingness to be receptive to new sources of evidence.
The Upper Left and Upper Right Quadrants bounce back and forth between each other and are informed by each other. Intellectual Humility and the willingness to collaborate are critical Perspectives; actual collaboration and VUCA Skills are critical Capabilities. Mastery in both Quadrants is required to shift Culture and Systems along the spectrum from toxic to vibrant and from obstructive to constructive respectively. What this looks like at Cornerstone is seen by the graphic below - what we call Ascension.
There’s a lot to explain and explore here and we’re just about cooked. We are super keen to have a dialogue with you around the concepts we’ve shared in these last few emails and to hear your perspective. To do this, let us know if you’d like to be part of an upcoming session in either Sydney or Melbourne where you’ll be joined by no more than a dozen or so like-minded folk. Be prepared for feisty perspective sharing, intellectual robustness (with a good dob of humility we hope), and collaborative networking with your industry peers that may just give you a way forward for either that thing that’s been keeping you awake at night or the organisational gem, yet to be discovered, that you care deeply about.
That’s Option 1.
Option 2 is to join us in an upcoming webinar on Tuesday 24th September – registration details will be in our next email but please let us know today if you’re interested.
Option 3 is to have a complimentary whiteboard session with a couple of our directors where we’ll use the Integral Framework to make a first pass evaluation of your organisation/division/function/team.
Enter your details here and insert Option 1, 2 and/or 3 under Message. You’re most welcome to take us up on all three offers.
The previous articles in this series are: