The Call to Develop Your Leadership Magic
You are already familiar with the magician energy; it drives entrepreneurs, shamans, doctors, scientists, healers of all types, innovators, engineers and technicians. They “know things” and can transform what they know into products and services to help others. They seek to direct a renewal, or a transformation, of their worlds by applying what they know. I pose that the times we live in call for understanding how to grow a different kind of magician energy as a leader to gain a distinct advantage in the marketplace, and I am here to provide that.
As a leader, you already know that the pace of change, connectedness and digital technologies are happening at lightening speeds. You and your organization are already “initiates” into a new and complex world every day. You already know that applying what you know isn’t working across all situations. Something about them is different. But what, exactly, and why does this matter?
What can help you as you feel submerged even deeper into uncertainty?
One thing that is different is the concept of emergence. As you apply one solution after another, you often get unexpected results, and quite often something new emerges. It’s like taking a pill for one thing and ending up with a new health issue. The body is a complex mechanism, and we don’t always know in advance how it will respond. Leading an emergent context calls for a different kind of knowledge. It is knowledge of the dynamics of energy flows and patterns in nature that also land in organizations. It is a set of skills to distinguish what type of context you are working with (simple to chaotic) and then forming an approach to meet it.
Essentially, today’s magician leaders:
Get comfortable seeking new directions instead of solving problems, because as in the pill example, you don’t know what is going to emerge. It’s creating experiments that produce a result that you can learn from and then design your next approach. It’s getting comfortable that your path has changed from problem solver or “knower of what’s best” to experiment designer and “learner of what’s best.”
Know how to leverage the value-added complexity that emerges and eliminate non-value-added complexity.
Know how to create results through the universal energies of emergence, flow, attraction, serendipity and intention (among others). It’s learning how patterns in the organization, for example, resemble patterns in nature and developing an approach to match.
Understand how organizations create their own realities (a bitter pill to swallow at first, but if you do, you are on your way to miracles).
Know how to clear blockages between organizational silos through the principles of flow.
Know how to create dialogues (not discussions or debates) to better understand the complexity they are in and seek help from people they would otherwise exclude.
Know how to distinguish, and work with, the organization’s heart and soul, not just its mind.
It is the mastery of context.
As a leader, mastery is less about mastering your technical, product-based expertise and more about mastering your “context expertise.” It’s about how you master your environment and the skills to lead in an environment that refuses to be contained, or even named. It’s a different kind of expertise, one that lends itself to dealing with any situation more effectively. What you know today will continue to have a place, but you will stay stuck if you aren’t continuously evolving what you know about context. You will also stay stuck if you don’t evolve how you know “the truth.” (I will write a follow-up article on knowing “the truth” shortly.)
It’s time to grow your context knowledge as a means to transform yourself and your organization. You will have to initiate yourself in a learning and coaching process so