The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic - Peter Drucker

Being trusted across the divide: The real leadership challenge?

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To be trusted across barriers. Certainly a goal worth striving for in times of social, political and organisational change. Leadership of the highest order must surely be one that builds unity on difference. 

Trust in a divided context

Nelson Mandela died a year ago today. He devoted his life, and forfeited his freedom, to bringing unity to South Africa. His legacy was a blueprint for leading in a way that inspired trust across divisions.

Reflecting on what Nelson Mandela represented gives us a glimpse of what is needed in a leadership that transcends difference. First there was the courage to stand firm for equality, even though it often meant standing alone. Then there was the compassion and understanding which enabled him to forgive those who had acted against his efforts. 

Both political and systemic, the divisions can be traced back to 1948 when the Afrikaner National Party won the general election under the slogan “apartheid”.

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Helping change leaders find their way through complexity

 

lighthouse 4

Whether responsible for leading it or involved in implementing it, planned change can be overwhelming and isolating regardless of your experience and competence as a leader. So it's a major focus for TurningTides. Our Executive Coaching Framework comprises three elements - individual, relational and systemic. It's the systemic element that I want to focus on in this post.

Leaders can lose their bearings in organisational complexity 

Work environments are complex these days. Organisational boundaries are less clearly defined as services integrate and centralise in pursuit of greater collaboration and efficiency. Leading change in this context can be pretty demanding. There's a lot to think about, not least of which is connecting with, and maintaining positive relationships with the people involved in the changes.

In reality 'planned change' is a bit of a misnomer. The complex adaptive nature of systems means that the environment within which organisations operate is constantly changing and the human response, both inside and outside the organisation, tends to be unpredictable.

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Leading Improvement: Words that Transform

 

Carpe Diem

Feeling particularly energised during a conversation with a client yesterday, the words Carpe Diem (seize the day) popped into my mind. Simple words. But put them together and they create something bold and confident. They inspire and uplift. Amazing how words can do that.  

Written almost 2000 years ago by the Latin poet, Horace, the Carpe Diem line in its full expression, includes quam minimum credula postero – ‘put little trust in tomorrow'. It's about taking action for the future today because 'the present' is all we can be sure of. Adding my own interpretation, it represents having the presence of mind to act, to 'catch the wave' because the opportunity - these set of circumstances - may never come again. Just thinking about the words evokes feelings of optimism. I literally straighten my back!

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Neil Pettinger
Your interpretation (in your second paragraph) of Horace's meaning brings to mind Brutus in Julius Caesar (Act 4 Scene 3): There ... Read More
Sunday, 20 July 2014 11:58
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