Monday, 30 November 2009

Avoid Tunnelling

It was early 2007 and I was passing through Heathrow airport when I first discovered Taleb’s The Black Swan book. I had read Fooled by Randomness and was so enthralled by the concepts articulated therein that I just had to read The Black Swan.

To this date, I am fascinated by how little I know, and the fact that perhaps I could make this work for me. I unashamedly adopted the name blackswan for the business I was involved in setting up, and it has been an eventful, unexpected and learning experience. I have tried in my own small way to create an environment where we create chaos, innovate like crazy, do the opposite to the norm, be intently different, and some wonderful experiences have been created.

The actual rhythm of the business has fluctuated like crazy, but the core trend has been upward in a coiled spiral that had me reaching for Beck and Cowan’s book Spiral Dynamics to see if I could make any sense of it all. Parallel to all of this opposite thinking, I have been heavily involved in understanding the role trust plays in Leadership and in Sales and have followed the work done by Covey (The Speed of Trust) and Greene (The Trusted Advisor).

The application of trust within a business model whose guiding principle is to do the unexpected has created some tensions, a lot of success, and a great deal of fun. I have articulated many times the need for tougher yet more enlightened leaders, who can operate in New Time where the old patterns and shapes are being replaced by new and faster circles, and where we need to operate in more shadows, at more edges, looking into divides and riding more rhythms.

Too often it is certainty we seek, and that luxury is disappearing. Our thinking needs to be more joined up and the application of ‘and’ rather than ‘or’ decision making needs to be inbred to our psyche. My career has been built on focus and drive, and the belief that if you are relentless enough you will achieve the objective. My learnings over the past couple of years are that nothing is certain, be careful of the herd, drive to be different, focus on what you don’t know not what you do know, and unexpected things happen. The outcome for my thinking on Leadership is that we need New Time leaders who embrace the edge, who innovate like crazy, who focus on what they don’t know, apply ‘and’ thinking, harness the power of culture, have trust at their core, rewrite the rules and are disruptive by nature.

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