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  • Keith Wells

Start 'being', and...


One subject of two conversations gave me three 'things to think about'. The subject was leadership through (and beyond) this pandemic, and while there's been plenty of comment and opinions already, those three points feel more essential and more right than most:


First, "We're human beings, not human doings". Leaders are having to show up as themselves - often literally, thanks to zoom and Teams. And they're having to show up more than they might have been used to, because MBWA is harder in the virtual world. But what's more important is what one person described to me as leaders' "humility": being prepared to acknowledge their own vulnerability and uncertainty, and therefore a new type of generosity in understanding other people's positions and concerns. They need to be present in new, many, ways.


Leadership has become far more about 'being' than about 'doing'.


Second, "no organisation can ever be anything its leader is not". This has always been true, but it has real meaning now: every leader has to be the personification of his/her organisation's values. Any contradiction or inconsistency is spotted, matters and will be remembered.


Third, Peter Drucker wrote that "the danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence, but to act with yesterday's logic". Any organisation or individual who thinks that s/he or they can go back to what they used to do, once we're through this, is going to find the world (and their competitors) has left them behind.


Even before Covid struck, there was compelling evidence of companies achieving and maintaining higher rates of growth because of their willingness to make 'bold moves'. That delta is going to widen further.


Structures, operating models, positioning, values...everything about an organisation must now be up for review and assessed for this next normal. But they all come back to the core idea of being prepared to develop and act on a new consciousness.


In short, and in the words of Marshall Goldsmith, "what got you here won't get you there".

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