Our business schools are pumping out the leadership and business models from last century. I find it stunning and incomprehensible that this is so.
As Albert Einstein so famously quoted…
“The significant problems we face today cannot be solved from the same level of thinking that created them.”
Where are the schools that are training and developing leaders for the future? Where are the schools that are interested in the business models and road maps we will find essential for tomorrow? If we keep teaching our leaders the same old stuff…how will they be able to lead through the chaotic waters of our immediate tomorrow?
If we were going to create a leadership development program what would we put in it? What are the critical components? And why? What are the required attributes that speak to leadership development trends?
The following is my opening volley. I’ll start with what I consider the foundation of any leadership development program that speaks to how to really address future issues.
1. Be the Model.
They would understand at an intimate level that everything effects everything else. There is no small act, no thought in isolation. How I act, what I say, what I think, what I feel, what I do, my health, all of these things are relevant.
Therefore our ideal leader would be in good physical shape, ensuring a healthy level of exercise, good diet based on fresh local vegetables and fruit, low in fat. (Body) They would be sure to get enough rest. (Body and spirit) The would have quality time with the significant people in their lives.(Relationship) They would maintain a daily practice that would include contemplation, learning, reflection.(Mind and Spirit)
These things are foundational. For years we have negotiated with them and allowed them to be of lesser importance that the business of making money. We only have to look around and see that the business of making money as the soul focus is a hollow one.
As within so without. An overweight, unfit, overworked, out of touch with family kind of leader sets a really bad example.
Therefore a leadership development program would include subjects on the following.
*Physics and metaphysics- including an introduction to quantum models
*Integral Health 101
*Spiritual Practice and contemplation-exploring different options and looking at the lives of the mystics, past and present (I would include Albert Einstein and Buckminster Fuller in this category.)
2. Know History
A leadership development program would also address the foundations of our culture. Subjects would include;
*History, not for the sake of learning dates, but for understanding how we got here
*Philosophy- to explore the wisdom of the ages
*Anthropology- to understand people and culture at a deeper level. This would include developmental theory.
3. Know People
Leadership development would ensure a heavy emphasis on communications and relationships skills. Leaders are by their very nature, leaders of PEOPLE. They need to be advanced in their ability to communicate with others, both in the individual and group setting. Foundational to this is a deep understanding of our human operating system.
*Basic and Advanced Communication skills, such as the Dare to Care program (Speak the Truth ebook), which would incorporate negotiations, sales, conflict resolution, coaching skills, message management. Distinctions between coaching, managing and leading.
4. Know Business
Know how business has been done, and how it will be done in the future. How we do business is changing from dominator hierarchy to self-managed deliberately developmental flat agile teams. We are deploying different technologies such as blockchain to account for multiple levels of value, to remove the middle man, and to break down borders. There is a significant push to the right combination of centralised, decentralised. Of public/private.
A powerful leadership development program would of course include the future of business basics, such as:
*Reading complex financial data
*New models of governance and organisational design
*Blockchain and other disruptive technologies
However, all of these subjects would not be studied in isolation. They would be viewed in the most comprehensive manner possible, with diligent training in how to consider consequences generations hence forth. Studying the economics of a company or country is a limited view of the world and no longer viable unless the economics of the whole is considered. Refer back to point #1.
5. The Future of Business is Integrity
Leadership development must include an exploration of ethics, sustainability, integrity. This area has been allowed to lapse for too long.
*Sustainability short and long term
*Integrity-personal and corporate as well as national and global
*Responsibility and accountability-personal, corporate, global
Again these topics must be studied considering the whole and not just the parts in isolation.
While for many the stretch to include art, music, design may seem difficult, leadership development would benefit from including these aspects. Creativity, beauty, design, aesthetics are integral to a healthy happy world. Students would have the option to explore from several disciplines within this space.
*Arts, music, acting, dance, movement, cooking
*Creativity-how to nurture, develop and grow creativity
7. Know the difference between Chaos, Simple, The Complex, Complexity
Of critical importance is how to incorporate into leadership development the ability to work within chaos and uncertainty. The world is not slowing down, and the complexity is only increasing. Leaders need to be able to be comfortable in rapid and unpredictable change. They need to have high personal resilience, experiential learning in how to think under extreme stress and with constant change.
8. Collaboration and Partnership
One of the great leadership development trends is the ability to work in collaboration and not isolation. Building and developing sound relationships while always exploring win/win/win solutions. These skills will be developed as all of the above are studied and experienced. In addition, learning social technologies are critical for the integral leader.
*Social technologies such as U Theory, Dare to Care and Relational Synergistic Design
*Collaboration and leverage
9. Different models of governance and organisational design.
An exploration of new models for business, such as holarchy and relational synergistic design. Our business models have been with us for 400 plus years. While we do not want to throw out the baby with the bath water, it is important to explore new ways of being in business relationship, new structures and forms of business. Our technology is allowing significant change in our daily work life, yet our business models remain the same.
*New models of Business (see http://www.holacracy.org/)
All of these skills and classes would be taught in an advanced style, using traditional tools such as books and teaching, plus technology, games, real case studies, experiential learning, role play, real play, dialogue, off-site adventures and learning, contemplation, dance, music, silence, physical body work, etc.
The integral leader as a student would be challenged, informed, taught to think creativity, openly, expansively, to ask great questions, to be unafraid to not know the answers, be able to stand in humility, and authority, to inspire through their own being, to dance with change, hold their nerve, have great compassion, take responsibility, acknowledge their shadow and weaknesses, speak with clarity and truth, and live a life that reflects their deepest values. They would do this through building models, not simply exploring the theory.
Have I missed anything? (Some great comments below, FYI..I missed much.)