The Mindset Required for Exponential Leadership
Our education and traditional approaches to thinking and leading have not prepared us to handle the level of disruption we face right now. Applying yesterday’s logic to today’s disruptive environment - let alone tomorrow’s - will not yield sustainable results but, instead, will produce incapacity. We learn more from consultants Lee Ann Del Carpio and Karen Walch, PhD in this month's featured resource article.
Highlights from the Article
Today’s exponential pace of change is incomprehensible to our human brains. As Erik Brynjolfsson and Adrew McAfee claim, “The great shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. Linear goals will not be successful in a world that is changing exponentially.” We “get” the constant acceleration of technology, advancement and change cognitively - up to a point - and then our brains cannot process the rest.
We have two choices: Continue responding to external disruptive reality with old, comfortable logic, creating corresponding, often unconscious, inner discord, stress and eventual incapacity, or find a way to shift from linear to exponential thinking and leading.
We need to embrace Exponential Leadership: a way of thinking and leading that helps us navigate through the challenging questions of our time and avoid the trap of linear thinking to proactively reinvent ourselves, and our organizations, in the rapidly accelerating marketplace. This involves recognizing that leadership is not only a personal practice, but a collaborative relationship and a shared process of transformation that fosters the collective capacity to create new realities.
So how can we accelerate the shift to Exponential Leadership considering that the groups we are part of tend to maintain the status-quo in mindset, behaviors and skills - basically staying within a “collective comfort zone”- and resist change? Beyond adding new skills and knowledge, we must expand our way of thinking. In our experience, that means we must subtract or let go of outmoded beliefs and embrace principles that will positively multiply or accelerate the collective ability to create new responses.
If we want to keep pace with exponential change, we literally need to consciously and proactively excavate and release old beliefs that limit our way forward. Slowing down is vital to reflection on how we originally “learned” the beliefs, attachments and preferences to begin with. This then helps us think about how to let go and “unlearn” for new circumstances. We can choose to consciously use coaching, practice, and debriefing to accelerate unlearning and relearning for the exponential age.
To jump the curve from linear to exponential thinking, leaders must combine unlearning (subtracting) and relearning in an accelerated manner (multiplier effect). As Alvin Toffler predicted, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who can’t read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.
Developing the capacity for Exponential Leadership means re-training our brains with the help of “the three C’s” - Forging clarity in the midst of ambiguity, allowing congruence with exponential thinking in the face of prevailing linear logic, and embracing leadership courage to proactively drive transformation. Read the article for more on how you can embrace the Exponential Leadership mindset.
The Gifted Perspective
We agree with Lee Ann Del Carpio and Karen Walch who assert that, “Today, we have an unparalleled challenge and opportunity amidst the highly disruptive marketplace to create new responses and new results. Yet facing our current reality with humility and transforming fear into new outcomes can be both exciting and daunting.”
It certainly goes without saying that “unlearning is more difficult than learning,” however, we can help you become an Enlightened Rebel and to redefine your leadership, redesign your organization, and revitalize your workplace by coaching, consulting, and partnering with you through the change process.
We will equip you to adopt the mindset required for Exponential Leadership. Contact us today about individual leadership coaching or our Teams That Talk™ coaching approach!