FROM MY SPEECH AT BE. LEADERSHIP 2018 GRADUATION, 03 December 2018
At Be. Accessible, we are acutely aware of the increasing speed in which the future is changing and its impact on people’s lives. Be. Leadership’s catchline, “Be the change,” has almost come to need a rider: “...before it changes again.” Advances in technology, blockchain, climate change, economic instability and social inequity leave us scrambling to keep up, questioning our ability to stay ahead of change in order to do good, make meaning and serve our purpose.
Phenomena such as Trump’s election, Brexit, a pregnant unmarried Prime Minister – and even Elon Musk’s stunt of jettisoning a cherry-red Tesla Roadster, playing David Bowie on the stereo, into space – have had us waking up, bemused and somewhat confused. “How on earth did that happen overnight?” may well go down in history as the catchphrase of our time.
Hold onto your hats – we’re in for a rough ride. Or are we?
The most obvious answer is, “We don’t know...yet.” And while this is true – we can’t predict the future and it’s coming for us at an ever-increasing speed – it’s only one answer. But it’s not the one that’s going to serve us well. Another surer, more hopeful answer is that the kind of leadership we need for tomorrow is urgently different than it was yesterday.
We’ve learnt this year that agile leadership is going to be essential – the ability to chop and change our actions will be crucial when one thing altered has global implications. Foresight is important – seeing the big picture and having some idea of what’s ahead before it bowls us over. Thinking globally and acting locally will be an imperative, as we live in too much complexity to expect to change the world – we can only change our world. Collaborative leadership will allow us to join with others changing their worlds to create new systems – simpler systems to replace our bloated, decaying systems.
Courage, empathy, humility, compassion, generosity and hope – all these are qualities we will need to embrace in this new leadership, because if we look around truthfully, we can see that ego, punishment, over-confidence, greed and neglect have not – and cannot continue to work, for it is these latter qualities that have created our world today.