September - October 2007
Published by Geoff Kelly, Kelly Strategic Influence
Wisdom to lead minds:
"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift."
Why some leaders stand way above the pack
Today’s 24 hour a day seven days a week real-time world of real-time communication, compressed time frames, and fragmenting media it is easy for leaders and their followers to lose sight of each other.
When in 2000 Bill Gates launched his iconic book “Business @ the speed of thought” he confirmed the mantra for the first years of the new century. Speed. And technology is delivering more and more of it in all areas.
However, along with higher productivity, reduced costs and greater reach has come a darker side. Business relationships are straining under these increased pressures, with more and more interpersonal transactions taking place by email, SMS and other “social” media. In the same way that speed dating is a great way to meet many new people but a feeble way to build and maintain deeper relationships, the new tools have their place. But they too are too feeble to underpin crucial business relationships.
In a world demanding instantaneous response it is seductive for leaders to speed-date decisions, innovation, communication and the vision thing, many who travel this path are frustrated and failing. Their core messages and sound bites are failing to win the attention and support of those they most need to move, and their targets too often view them as losing touch or self-serving.
It has always fallen to the leader to make meaning for people. It is a defining role of leaders, and has never been so important to their followers who now live in the most over-informed and over-communicated society in history. Studies by Stamford University and others estimate that the world is adding to its stock of information at over 30 percent every year. So no-one should be surprised that people are shutting off to all but the most obviously relevant communication just to survive the constant onslaught.
Yet there are leaders who are cutting through the clutter to communicate with ideas, perceptions and guidance that is moving people to action. People like Bill Gates in his drive for global equality of opportunity on health, education and economic development; Al Gore in his campaign to raise global awareness and action on Climate Change; and countless leaders in every field who have established that position by connecting the dots and making meaning that helps others make sense of their world.
These leaders make meaning that makes a difference because they resist the urge to add to the mindless chatter that comes from only thinking and responding moment to moment. They understand that developing meaning that matters relies on thoughtfulness and clarity, and they carve out the time and space to achieve it.
They observe their world and ask themselves burning questions about their worlds and themselves. Such as taking a commonly held view and asking “Is that really true?” “How do I know that it is true?” “Could an alternative or the opposite be true or truer?” Gates kept hearing that nothing could be done about world poverty. Gore that Climate Change was unknowable and too big to deal with in any event. They asked different questions of themselves and others, and filled their minds with specific information in search of answers.
And in this search they made time for reflection and intuition to play their part in developing answers that have resonated with millions around the world.
Gates told the story of his journey in his Harvard University address in June this year. It is a story of questioning, searching for answers and making the time to reflect on alternatives. No instant answers, and no flashy sound bites. Just a man who felt the world should be a better place, and dissatisfied enough with the solutions to take the time and effort to find some meaningful responses.
Today’s true leaders develop their visions and ideas that matter in the same way as those of previous generations and eras. They ask themselves questions that stimulate their search for better answers. They gather and weigh information, insights and perceptions that might address these questions. And they make time to reflect and allow their intuitions to connect the dots in ways that previously were beyond them.
What burning questions will stimulate you to take a similar journey to find the answers your field so badly needs? How will you make the time to explore them?.
More next month...
Geoff Kelly works with leaders who are frustrated that others don't fully support their ideas and strategies. He mainly works with corporate leaders around the world, but also leaders in Government and Not for Profit. He is also a popular speaker on this and related subjects. See www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au, email [email protected] or call +613 9678 9218 for more information
© 2006 Geoff Kelly All rights reserved.
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