Early in my career, I was reaching for bigger impact in my work, but something held me back. You know, those inner voices that say “You can’t do that” or “It’s too risky” or whatever. My friend Pat began to refer to those voices as the “piggies under the table.” I loved having a playful way to acknowledge these voices and so it stuck. We all have “piggies” in one form or another. They shape our lives and our leadership.
Are you ready to do bold, beautiful things aligned with what you care about?
I am. And I’m not.
Both are true. We all get “ready” in steps, some small and some big. I recently got more connected to my “I’m not” right in the midst of my impatience to take action.
If you’ve been following my blog for the past year or so, you know that complexity and what it asks of us as leaders has been on my mind a lot. There is no arguing with the fact that these are complex times. It can be challenging to see clearly what is needed. Doug Silsbee has just released his new book, Presence-Based Leadership. It’s an incredible resource for today’s leaders.
As leaders, we often identify our role in terms of the results we are responsible for. And yet there is a second aspect of your role in complex situations that is just as important to focus on – creating the conditions that foster the emergence of your desired outcomes. Yeah, that’s a lot harder to get your arms around than the results. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
The story of the 5 blind men exploring an elephant reminds us that what we see depends entirely on our perspective. This suggest two things we want to consider when working with complexity.
Does this sound like your world?
· Changes are coming at you at an ever increasing pace.
· Your solid problem solving skills sometimes don’t seem to work so well.
· Just when you think you’ve go things figured out, the situation changes.
Dis as in disequilibrium and discomfort.
When we act outside of our habitual patterns, our system says, “Hey wait. That’s not how I do that.” We can respond to this disequilibrium and discomfort in a variety of ways. Simply put, our response usually boils down to either “Whoa Nellie” or “Bring it on!”
What’s possible for you? For me? For our communities?
As I look out my window on a grey wintery day, I find myself thinking, “More is possible.” Not more stuff or more profit – not that kind of “more.”
More of the best we’re capable of as humans.
Much of the research and advice for leading in complexity suggests how to shift the organization – safe to fail experiments, adaptive planning, amplifying weak signals, etc.
In my work with executives (and more recently with goats), it has become clear to me both that these strategies are important AND that by themselves, they aren’t enough. Necessary but not sufficient. We must also work differently with ourselves.
Recently several of my clients have been talking about “change fatigue.” Megan put it this way. “The changes are really positive. I totally support where we’re going. Sometimes it’s just exhausting to keep up and support my team while we are getting there.”