DEAD vs LIFE Leadership

Dr Kathy Allen made many excellent points when I spoke to her about her work at the intersection of leadership, system change and innovation.

One point was that old paradigms get really ‘loud’ before they fall. I noticed that in 2008 with the last bank crash. Paradigm winners get really greedy as they try to exploit as much as possible before the collapse, because they know they’re not going to be able to keep extracting so ruthlessly for much longer.

I’ve noticed it this time as well. Disaster capitalism loves war and now pandemics because again, the crony politicians and greedy corporates have ruthlessly exploited the situation. There would be no wars if there was no profit. More and more research is being uncovered to show that our earlier ancestors didn’t engage in war until hierarchy and exploitation became the main drivers of colonialism.

This leads to another well-made point by Kathy.

People are often coming up with ‘types’ of leadership such as adaptive, transactional and transformational.

Business owners and managers are often taught them on institutional leadership programmes.

These ‘types’ reflect people’s personalities and/or they described what was happening at a certain time and place in history.

You usually find that ‘great’ leaders emerged from society to overcome the challenge that society was facing i.e., they were the right person, with the right skills and attitude, at the right time and place.

When that time passes, we then find there is another type of leadership required and invented.

Kathy suggested a new way of describing leadership.

How about describing the outcomes of traditional leadership such as polluting, exploitative, cronyism or, as Kathy described, leadership that ‘makes places unliveable’.

At the end of the day, leadership is leading to our demise or it is liberating and life affirming.

#leadership #leaders #regeneration #society #climatechange #socialjustice #sustainabilityleadership #sustainability #businessowners #change

Fascinating talk here: https://youtu.be/8-9fX2uX9hY

3 Types of Mindset

Mindset differs for mavericks, rebels and change agents.

Mostly people are limited by the economic, political, social, academic and philosophical boxes they grew up in.

Some people can think outside the box, but they ask permission of the box.

Through fate or enlightened insight, there are those who can see the matrix of the box and want to find a socially just, sustainable and spiritually fulfilling alternative well outside the influence of the box…But not on Mars!

#elon #eliteidiots

#stoicpilgrim

#stoicpilgrimphilosophy

#robust

#resilience

#mindset

#mentalhealth

#survivalskillsforlife

#doingwhatsrightnotwhatseasy

#adventure

#alwaysalittlefurther

#redefinesuccess

Adam Smith, the grandfather of capitalism said:

“Concern for our own happiness (self interest) recommends to us the virtue of prudence (self-command), concern for that of other people, the virtues of justice and beneficence –- of which the one restrains us from hurting, the other prompts … (us) to promote that happiness.”

He didn’t intend for some people to become extremely wealthy at the expense of everyone else and everything else including nature.

Much like the stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius, Smith believed in the virtue of moderation because it threatens our social structure and the capacity for effective decision-making when you confuse wealth and power with wisdom.

Unfortunately, economists seem to have taken what benefits elites and ignored the warnings for excess.

How will business leaders operate in a future world which can no longer accept simplistic and short term thinking, decision-making and hierarchy?

#power #happiness #leadership #ecologycheck #decisionmaking #decisionmakingskills #complexity #future #business #superteamconcept

Don’t Be a CAD Leader!

Unfortunately, the world of work and capitalism is driven by stressful neurotransmitters such as cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine.

Founders and Entrepreneurs have to be driven people when it comes to breaking new ground and competing for their place in the world.

Technology and processed foods need to be addictive and give you a ‘RUSH’ otherwise you’d probably get off your phones and go spend more time in nature and eat fresh local produce.

People who’re very competitive rise to the top of the food chain in hierarchical organisations. They get a rush from crushing the competition. Status and power give them that adrenaline and dopamine rush they crave but it triggers the stress hormone cortisol in those around them.

From a leadership perspective, this feels great for the leader but it can mean that an organisation is reliant on the leader to keep driving. After all, if you can get by as an employee doing the bare minimum so as not to irk the mansplaining chump at the top, then why not?

It just isn’t very satisfying to live under the rule of a CAD driven leader, is it?

I sat in a meeting not long ago with one such white male (there were two females in the room). He asked if he could give me some blunt feedback. “Sure” I replied, realising I shouldn’t have taken this meeting whilst recovering from a dose of flu!

As he pontificated the two females were silent. It was obvious he was getting his dose of CAD at my expense as he continued to ‘no-mark’ me.

After he ran out of steam he asked “So why do you want to work with us?” …. By that time, I didn’t.

Normally I’d have asked to give him back some feedback in return, but I was pretty drained by then and I knew it would have fallen on deaf ears.

Why should I compete with his ego to explain why he and his ‘world-class’ organisation suffered from simplistic thinking, He didn’t realise there was a difference between complicated and complex. He is materially successful selling old world ideas and style over substance because he’s great at competing for business.

We’re experiencing stressful times; we don’t need more trauma inducing leadership.

In a world of ambiguous and novel challenges, we need more self-aware, purpose focussed and supportive leaders who are open-minded and willing to learn collaboratively their way forward.

Leaders who don’t need to be rewarded with the rush of cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine at the expense of those around them.

#business #leadership #work #power #entrepreneurs #leader #complexity #traumainformed #leadership

 

Eco-Coaching – What is it? & Why the World Needs it Now!

Like most ideas in life, people have various viewpoints on what terms mean and entail.

Eco-Coaching will be one of those too.

From my perspective eco-coaching can be utilised out in nature and if possible, should be for 4 reasons:

  • Whilst walking side-by-side in nature we begin to feel a level of connection, and as we exercise our legs and our lungs, we begin to release beneficial neurotransmitters. One in particular is Anandamide. Anandamide derives from the Sanskrit word for bliss and it opens our blood vessels allowing oxygen and nutrients to flow more easily around our body and brain. It also makes us more creative.
  • The natural world has 3.8 billion years of evolutionary wisdom embedded. Being amongst it allows a skilled coach to utilise examples of the natural world as a metaphor during the conversation.
  • We were designed to look over wide vistas, when we look at small screens and live in cubicles, it narrows our perspective and as a result our options.
  • It’s just an enjoyable and rejuvenating experience.

But that’s not the fundamental principle of eco-coaching in my view. At the moment humanity is out of balance with its own eco-system. This is because we’ve been using egological systems and ideologies at the expense of ecological ones.

In summary, the personal development field has been dominated by ‘What I think’ & ‘What I want’ over ‘What we think’ ‘What will the impacts be?’ & ‘What else could we do?’

We’ve built systems based on the mechanistic, linear and hierarchical ever since technological gave some bloke and advantage at the beginning of the agrarian revolution 13k years ago.

But in order to realise that, the winners of the simplistic paradigm have had to externalise all the messy costs onto the rest of society and the natural systems which support us.

It’s like some people have climbed a tree and are now cutting the tree behind themselves because they don’t want to share the fruits of the tree.

On the  Joseph Campbell called this:

‘The Refusal of the Return’

Using an ecology check in your coaching and decision-making means putting in a CRAP filter in the process:

Consequences: What are the other effects downstream of this decision?

Real costs: If you do this, what will be the real costs other than just financial?

Assumptions: What are you assuming to be true? What are the unexamined beliefs that require testing?

People & Planet: Do people really want to go to Mars? Does Mother Nature want us to destroy what’s left of the ecosystem and exploit children, just so that a small minority of the world’s population can travel in EVs?

 

What Hunter Gatherers – ‘The First Affluent – Society’ Can Teach Us About Surviving a Changing World Order!

Ray Dalio the famous investor said it’s a good idea to look back into history to understand and predict the future. It’s an insightful talk (I’ll leave a link in the comments) in which Ray outlines the various changes to world orders that happen around every 250 years (not 500 as I say in the video) and if we want to stop the downfall of the west as China increases it’s power & influence, then we’d better be nice to each other and not spend as much as we earn!

I think whilst his analysis is excellent and solutions useful, it doesn’t take into account the evolutionary aspect of why the human race is heading towards an ecological collapse. It’s dominance hierarchy.

It seems that as soon as founders, entrepreneurs & managers get positions of status, wealth & power, then they switch-on their ‘Inner Chump’.

Your inner chump is competitive and controlling, harmful to the ecosystem, because it is driven by unconscious bias, motivated by fear & greed and paradigm blind and suffers inertia to change.

The hunter gatherers it appears, have the answer. They don’t stand for greedy indivduals because they understand the damage it does. Damage that’s all too plain to see in our leaders. Have a watch:

Mission Power Planning

Too Many TAPs, Not Enough STOP’s, We Need More LEGO

When I wrote my Book: ‘From Mercenaries to Missionaries’ I wanted to give entrepreneurs, executives and managers tools around leadership and teamwork that are sublimely simple and easy to implement. Too much of the leadership lexicon has fallen into the realms of academia. Nothing wrong with academic study, but academia is often the activity of proving what’s already known. Academia didn’t invent mindfulness but we have people who can explain the neuroscience of mindfulness but don’t practice mindfulness, teaching mindfulness.

Moreover; we sometimes experience academics developing philosophies from observed behaviour then presenting it as logic. Milton Freidman did this with shareholder greed. Just because it happens doesn’t make it right because an intellectual said it. On a couple of occasions recently, I have found myself talking to some learned people, or rather they were telling me I was wrong, when what I already knew from experience, was true.

TAP’s – Tools To Accumulate Power.

Ever since the agrarian revolution, competitive people have used technology to hoover resources from a wide area and funnel those resources into a place where they can control the supply. Like our water supply, drawn from a wide area and funnelled into a tap. In a household the water is shared freely, but not in business.

When you develop control of a resource in a capitalist system, you are not going to share the resources equally, you’re going to exploit the situation. Hence why trickledown economics has never worked. It was just another BS explanation which is used to perpetuate greed. Old world examples include the Oil Industry and Banks. They’ve been hoovering up local resources whilst holding the world to ransom and passing the costs of pollution and debt slavery onto society for a century.

The latest example is the ‘platform economy’. This is just another TAP and code for the ‘monopoly economy’. Recent platform examples include: Amazon- hoovering up the local economy, Facebook – hoovering up our attention, Google- Hoovering up information and ad revenue. Most tech ideas have the potential to make our lives and the world a better place. But the challenge comes when people don’t understand why in our present culture they soon become weapons of subjugation.

Platforms combine network effect and first-mover advantage to gain enough users which then makes them immune to competition. With monopoly comes monopoly behaviours and as other large organisations identify the benefits of using the platform effect, you can guarantee that there’ll be more bad behaviour on the horizon.

We need to understand that given an opportunity people will revert to an earlier evolutionary psychological state which is dominance hierarchy. Basically, our inner-monkey will not let go of the ‘Apple’ once they’ve a firm grasp, even if it is detrimental in the long term. Once a person or small group have achieved dominance, they begin to believe their own nonsense and develop a sense of entitlement. They delete, distort, generalise and convolute whatever information is available to argue their point, even to the point of calling in divine powers to back their case. Kings, Queens and Presidents have been at this for centuries, aided and abetted by Bureaucrats. No matter how much media exposure reveals them to be ordinary and somewhat quirky people who managed to gain an advantage, they still sit in castles and big white houses. Tech moguls are the new royalty.

Research of contemporary hunter-gatherer communities revealed them to be rather egalitarian. They were able to live in a less stressful social existance because they employ STOPs- Strategies To Overcome Power. If a hunter returned with a prize, the rest of the community would, in a good-naturedly way, mock him because they wouldn’t want the hunter to become too big for his boots. They understood arrogance, entitlement and hierarchy was not good for their communties well-being.

STOPs range from satire to assassination, rock throwing to revolution. It’s a way to redress the balance when hierarchical leaders exploit their position too much. Unfortunately, there is little appetite for making the world a fairer place, everyone in tech wants to become the next Larry Page or Jeff Bezos. As these tech giants rise in power, their ability to externalise costs onto society and the environment increases. If Facebook and Amazon had to pay for the damage they’ve inflicted on democracy, the environment and the public’s mental health, to name a few dmaging examples, they’d be bankrupt pretty quickly. They operate under a façade of delusion just as the tobacco industry did.

What we really need is more LEGO – Local Economic Generating Opportunities. TAPs focus power into small areas, we call them cities and of course if you are not part of the tech digital world, there shortly be very little for you to do unless you find opportunities to generate local economic opportunities. Brexit and the pandemic have revealed how reliant we are on extended distribution lines which are fragile and polluting.

What if we followed the doughnut, circular economic and employee ownership philosophies?

I believe these aforementioned ideas are just a return to a more natural evolutionary advantage we’ve forgotten in the pursuit of the capitalistic delusion. If tech people focussed on building local resilience with platforms then it wouldn’t have to be doom and gloom, they could probably be a force for good. Then tech entrepreneurs could shift from being Mercenaries to Inspirational Leaders on a Mission to make the world a better place.

Using friendly competition to boost performance in your business…

Competition is seen as a natural part of life and work. There is always a creation stage when an idea must compete for its place in the world. You have to compete for a new job. The entrepreneurial stage in business is when the start-up must prove it’s worth and activity is primarily about winning customers without which the product or service will not survive.

But not everybody enjoys competition whilst some people thrive on it. Leaders have to be careful that when they frame competition that it doesn’t create anxiety and negative impacts on people’s wellbeing.

Competition increases psychological and physiological activation and exercised correctly leads to creativity and supportive behaviours. Done incorrectly, competition leads to cheating and sabotage as we’ve witnessed by banks leading to long term pain for the organisation, employees and clients.

Competition needs to lead to happiness not humiliation if you want to get positive outcomes.

Here are some key points to consider.

Compete originates from the Latin Competere meaning to strive together to achieve a common purpose. Chances are that competition was a key driver of human progress along with the peak performance flow states that competition can engender. It is important to remember that humans collaborated their way to the top of the evolutionary tree, probably in friendly competition.

Constraints

Introduce constraints and be clear about boundaries and ethical values that you are all agreed to upholding. Research has shown that saying the Lord’s Prayer before a competition decreased the cheating that took place by a group of students in a test when the answers were easily obtainable.

Open to Feedback

As a leader encourage the right behaviours and attitude by modelling them such as being open to feedback. Also, introduce the concept of ‘After Action Reviews’ so that the focus is on improving the behaviours and processes not just achieving the results. Keep it non-threatening and friendly.

Mutual accountability

Measure team results more than individual results so that the team members are mutually accountable to each other not a manager. Peer pressure is more effective than dominant pressure. We feel more compelled to help our own people more than a person who is not ‘one of us’.

Purpose vs Material

Make competition success about improvement and personal growth, don’t design rewards purely based on money or status. If you introduce monetary and status rewards then it can lead to jealousy and resentment. Peer-to-peer recognition is useful as we do enjoy basking in the limelight sometimes, even the quieter team members.

Excellence

Regularly emphasise that the aim of competition is to encourage the pursuit of team excellence. If an individual achieves great results, that process should be modelled and shared with the other team members.

Team Building

Brain storming sessions, quizzes around work, shared social experiences are all excellent ways to bring people together and build esprit de corps.

Egalitarian

In military special forces units, hierarchy is shunned and people are recognised for their indivdual expertise. They’re not encouraged to be clones but have individual skills. If you promote egalitarianism and appreciation of individual strengths in your organisation, then it will encourage creative teamwork but harnessing that creativity is a skill.

Collective intelligence from a diverse group is just as effective as having a lone genius- and there aren’t many lone geniuses around- so work on boosting team engagement.

With everything that has happened this year and how that will impact us all going forward, when would now be a good time to make facilitating effective meetings, decision-making and learning to use collaboration tools for effective communication and coaching, a core competency in your business?

Interested in learning more? Mission Power meeting Facilitation Online Course

The 4 Responses to Big Shifts

About every decade or so there are shifts. Big impacts land which affect personal and business domains. For some people its good news and for others not so.

I personally think this is part of a universal life cycle which encourages evolution. I also think that big changes are happening more often due to advances in technology and because of environmental and ecological challenges which are reaching critical threshold points.
I would suggest that the current situation – in the middle of a pandemic – is only a small wave within bigger ones to come , unless we dramatically transform our intentions, modus-operandi and social systems.
I’ve observed these responses in clients and often a mix of all four and this is how I explain it.
We have four basic operating systems, thinking, doing, feeling and sensing/communicating. Individually we have preferences for some over the others. But we are able to use all four with self awareness and training and need a blend. This is our evolutionary advantage to work as collaborative groups.
Our basic intelligences become archetypes. In paleolithic times it was probably Hunter/Gatherer- Shaman/Scout. Nowadays in business leadership we call them Entrepreneurs/Coaches- Managers/Founders. But again, we can utilise all these operating systems if we’re situationally and self-aware enough to realise what operating system is required and when.
So when we experience change, it’s a good idea as a leader to understand the paradigm you’re in and where the next paradigm will take you and what you need to do to thrive.
Before COVID we all operated within particular societal and personal paradigms. Now we’re not. We’re having to respond to what’s happening. Here are the four responses that we’ll see.

Collapse

Some sectors like hospitality are experiencing a collapse. With the best will in the world, the pandemic is going to be here for the rest of 2021. It’s not likely that some industries will ever come back the same, if at all. When that happens all is not lost, there is potential within the people which can be re-directed. Firstly, it needs acceptance of reality and as Buckminster Fuller advised:

Don’t Fight the Existing Reality,

Create a New One Which Makes the Old One Obsolete

It then needs a Founder mentality to create new ideas and bring together people with renewed purpose. People can re-organise, make new connections and create something new. Much like the mythically Phoenix, rising from the ashes they’re often a lot more resilient after experiencing post-traumatic growth.

Consolidate

Some people and industries will find themselves in the enviable position of being able to consolidate their position. This time around, the circumstances have suited the incumbent and they’re able to reap a fine harvest, push ahead of their competitors and even aquire some of them.
For them, they were in the right time at the right place. They’ll probably carry on their modus-operandi by managing the basics well. It would be prudent to remember that whilst they’ve been fortunate this time around, next time, and there will be a next time, the paradigm shift might not be so accomodating and smaller competitors may leapfrog ahead of them. It would be useful to remember:

All Glory is Fleeting

Change

When shifts occur, some people will find themselves not in collapse or consolidate but in a fight for their lives. This is when the manager will make changes and prune the organisation looking to cut costs. The entrepreneur also comes back into their own and motivates the team to tackle the challenges head on. Of course:

Lessons are Repeated

and it will often need more than change to survive in the long term. There maybe a need for some radical transformation and creativity.

Create

Whenever there is a crisis there will also be equal and new opportunities. But it will take a Founders mindset to spot the:

Diamonds in the Dirt & the Gold in the Grit

Then it will take a collaborative and highly engaged team to bring the new ideas, products and services into existance. They will become the foundation for a new paradigm and may even become the next dominant players, utilising all the latest technology and achieving more with less.
We’ll probably find that we’re implementing more than one of the four responses mentioned. This is when leadership skills are important. Leaders must rise above the storm and get clarity on the situation, then leverage the potential of the situation and people.
If you need a sounding board to help you get clarity, get in touch
Martin Murphy – Catalyst