Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge
These questions must be answered, and priorities must be set. Difficult decisions must be made. Who will be sitting at the table where these difficult decisions are to be made? The Azure Blue map is critical as a guide for the effective engagement with these questions and the accompanying decision-making processes. While there is no time to lose and we must act decisively and collectively to reduce and eventually eliminate this invading enemy, we must also recognize that action without direction and purpose is often more dangerous that inaction: “Ready fire, aim” is all too often the strategy being engaged during times of crisis. Damage can be inflicted if we don’t know the direction in which we are aiming our weapon. The wrong person or institution gets shot or the bullet travels without effect into empty space. Without vision, we will be able to take little pride in our actions.
We call this an Azure Blue map because it resembles the nature and function of sky—encouraging us to look up and out rather than down and in. We envision and are inspired by the sky-blue vista and select (prioritize) resources on behalf of this vista. This is a time for an articulate and inspiring sense of present opportunities and future possibilities. There must be room and time for pondering the future. This reflection upward and outward (Azure Blue) is needed to determine where we direct the light of illumination (Golden Yellow) on the complex and dynamic nature of the current pandemic. In facing the challenge of COVID-19, we need a clear sense of direction that enables us to direct the heat and action (Ruby Red).
Visionary/Azure Blue Leadership
The third leadership style focuses on vision. A person is assigned this third form of leadership because they can provide a vision of the future that is persuasive and motivating. This person is assigned a formal Azure Blue leadership role not only because they are articulate and persuasive, but also because the people they are leading “hunger” for a dream or image of an alternative reality. This is a reality that will either help them build a game plan for getting out of the current reality (a variation on the Golden Yellow strategy) or will enable them to be distracted from their current reality (a variation on the Ruby Red strategy of flight).
I mentioned that Alexander the Great is a vivid personification of leadership in both of the previous descriptions of leadership and strategy,. I propose that he also exemplifies the third Azure Blue style. He was truly a “visionary” and coupled this vision with the wisdom he had acquired as a student of Aristotle and as the son of Phillip of Macedonia, along with the courage and competence he displayed as a great warrior. His vision was to conquer and “civilize” the Mideast and Asia. Like many of his fellow-citizens in the Grecian world, Alexander was apparently quite arrogant about the “advanced” state of Greece (when compared to the rest of the world) and quite patronizing with regard to his “responsibility” to make the rest of the world more like Greece.