THE FUTURE A Short Guide to Getting There in One Piece
We must get back to creativity and leverage our aptitude for it. We think we think. But do we? We default to solving challenges with our canned experiences. Recently a network I belong to issued a challenge:
“If you had $20 million to spend on making a difference to climate change what would you spend it on?
This answer makes my point. Creativity is out there, but are we groomed into mediocrity compared to this?
Orchestrate a decade-long conspiracy to enlist the world’s most-read horoscope writers. Get them to nudge, cajole and threaten the necessary behavioural changes across all personality types. Run a global Gen Z-focused citizen science effort and spend the bulk of the money sending out components to build thermal cameras and drones. Put them in the hands of the world’s TikTok generation and tell them the elders of the world are emitting their futures and they need to hold us accountable. Show them how to capture thermal energy of buildings, factories, and farmland and make whatever sort of media they want to make. Then if the swarm could find their way to integrate the images into the Ratatouille musical phenomenon, truly the second greatest human achievement this year after the vaccine, then we are on our way.
A problem is not solved by one or even two solutions; there’s always a third or fourth. If solutions don’t work out straight away, we take the best and create a fresh version. And that’s a perpetual strategy for reinvention.
NINE: Working Systems. Smooth Operations
The successful leader understands that the business he operates is a system – an ecology – Living and non-living organisms interoperating with one another within their physical environment.
Great leaders realise operation is everything – every facet and aspect – each bit and every piece working, operating as it should. The operation is the sum total – the culture, the systems and processes — the way each dimension of it is organised.
An operation is its leadership; knowing what matters and how it needs to work, with everything altering all the time as the pressures on it shifts. At every level, this is an enormous challenge to get our heads around.
TEN: The Exquisite Ecology of The Intelligent Operation
Few operations are exquisite ecologies or intelligent operations right now. And to be fair this isn’t a trivial objective, even for those with deep pockets. Traditional organisational and managerial language, mindset and practices must be dismantled for any intelligent operation to emerge.
The org charts, process maps and traditional people-incentive schemes struggle enormously with today’s need for fluid knowledge flows. So much has changed by those of us looking and working on these challenges. Unfortunately for the average leaders – access to the skills that can make a difference is not mainstream.
ELEVEN: A Focus On Skills
There’s no convenient language or label to describe the skills needed to build this kind of operation. The leadership skills needed are rare. They live at the intersection of technology, neuroscience, human/social and management science. It is alchemy and critical to steering the operation towards success.