Leadership: Optimism On the Other Side
This topic came to me
today while I was interviewing
Dr. Otto Laske for the CPR Design Marathon. If you
haven't joined in those free calls yet, you can do so by
registering for our
One of the most difficult things for leadership to
realize as we begin to awaken out of the sleep we have
been in over the past 60 years of human development, is
that people have a pre-wired capacity, capability and
One of the first remarks I receive is about
pigeon-holing or categorizing people, either with
assessment models of models of development that identify
people at particular stages of growth and development.
To many who have flowered in the humanist movement since
the 50s, 'limitations' seemingly created by putting
people in boxes is worse than taking castor oil.
is clearly a reason to be frightened by box builders,
but 'on the other side of complexity' is a simplicity
that arises with great optimism. Instead of remaining
pessimistic about systems and you might say, leadership
that focuses on identifying people through developmental
models--in effect boxing them, there is actually great
Let me explain.
One thing I've found in every corner of the globe with
everyone I've ever worked with in leadership is that
people are happier when they are doing something that
for which they are fit. So many people are trying to
'fit' into the world, instead of being fit by the world.
While change is important and will occur, development
actually provides greater efficiency, effectiveness and
Here's why in my opinion.
As complexity become exponential, we no longer have any
way to match it's growth. Some call this the 'red queen
effect.' In fact, I doubt even the brightest, most
highly developed human stands even a knat's chance of
managing anymore. That's my fact number 1. Fact number 2
is that if you try to chase complexity it will outrun
you. So, take a deep breath and think about what I'm
going to say now.
How can you bring complexity to you?
In all actuality, it's a matter of matching you to your
circumstances, at least a range which has a higher
probability to produce resilience--an ability to
navigate, transcend, bounce-back from failure, largely
influenced by your ability to reach out.
Now, aside from natural resilience, most of us have very
little range in terms of broad spectrum resilience
required today. I guess that might paint a pessimistic
picture to some. To me, it provides leadership with the
opportunity we've been waiting for in my view.
In order to really succeed today in leadership, you have
to reach out, so that's one leg of resilience that will
naturally resolve itself in my paradigm.
The next place of leverage is probably based on
Clearly, the opportunity has arisen to begin to accept
that we can't be all everyone wants us to be, so what
can we be?
And the answer to that solves yet another leg of
So, I'll leave you with this idea.
In order to bring complexity to you, there are three
things to be optimistic
1. Nobody can manage alone.
2. You have something to offer.
3. Somebody has something to offer you.
In leadership, I believe our role is to facilitate this
collaboration. In my view, that can be done by
supporting the discovery, disclosure and acceptance
required to bring complexity to us, as fit.
To me, this brings about a tremendous space for
optimism, rather than continuing to try to manage the
amount of change required to keep pace by ourselves, we
merely need to see ourselves as a fractal--a complete
part of the whole.
I hope you'll discover more about the paradigm of which
I speak in my new book, CPR For The SOUL. Until next
time, may the wind be at your back,
Mike R. Jay, Founder
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