Business not as Usual

We are at the end of an era. In the previous era leaders were sent away to be developed and to have things done to them in business schools and retreat centres. From this exalted position they were expected to visualise the future and learn about applying tactics to coerce reality to align with their vision.

This approach no longer works. The era of easy prediction is over. Business as usual has reached the end game. And therefore, learning needs to move out of the retreat centre and into the centre of the action where everything is real and continuous.

This trend has been evident for some time, now amplified by the pandemic and the environmental crisis.

We can only really learn in the crucible. It is in the crucible that we move beyond tactical recipes that are based on assumptions from the past and discover who we really are; how resilient we are and what we are really good at.

Finding time to reflect is key to moving our learning forward so that we can learn the way forward. If you just go blindly through this crisis in a panic you will not learn very much. To harness your potential you must find moments to pay attention on purpose.

In times of crisis we must make decisions based on what is right and not on what is most comfortable or routine. When we are really scared – what have we got to hang on to? The only thing  we can hang on to is – what is the right thing to do? Because nothing else can be trusted as real.

Finding the right thing to do is easier when we simplify things to their essence. It is less about what we need to add to the strategy and more about what can be eliminated as unnecessary.

In fashion design, Coco Chanel mastered this with the little black dress. Get rid of all the unnecessary elements, get rid of the fluff, capture the essence, and build from there. That is the right thing to do.

The question is how do you get through the complexity to the simple stuff that matters?

It involves standing up for what you believe in. It requires asking fundamental and awkward questions. It includes abiding by your principles. While doing this can feel uncomfortable – it is very seldom wrong.

Business as usual is over!

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