Discover → Business & Economics

Now Lead the Change

By

Worth reading 😎

In-depth, timely look into how transformational leadership can benefit managers in the current uncertain and ever-changing times.

Synopsis

Our world is being hit by multiple crises—from Covid-19 to the climate emergency. Our organizations are having to adapt rapidly to exponential technologies and ever-changing customer needs. We all must cope with endless uncertainty, overwhelm, and threats from automation.

With our damaged and disrupted world demanding continuous transformations—in products, processes, policies, and people—only truly transformational leaders have the mindsets, skills, and tools needed to adapt constantly; and so ensure sustained success for themselves, their organizations, and our species. It is adapt or die on an unprecedented scale. The stakes could not be higher.

Now Lead The Change set out a powerful and profound—yet extremely practical—guide to mastering transformational leadership so you can lead your people, organization, and system towards a thriving, and regenerative, future.

Within is a lucid, luminous, and illustrated summary of Bio-Transformation Theory, a pioneering methodology developed over 25 years on the front lines of personal, business, and systemic change. Grounded in the latest brain science, fueled by embodied wisdom, and focused on landing change as fast as humanly possible, BTT contains 7 life-changing and world-changing insights to upgrade your consciousness at will; step up as a next-level leader; and metabolize any problem into purpose and profit.

Now Lead The Change is an in-depth look at how managers can be most effective in a VUCA world marked by uncertainty and change and disruption by digital technologies. He explains why outdated management methods don't work in today's world anymore and how managers can use transformational leadership to lead their teams.


The language used in the book is simple, direct, and mostly jargon-free. Wherever special terms are used, the author explains in enough detail to make them easily understandable.


The book draws from a wide variety of disciplines to describe the Bio-Transformation Theory (co-developed by the author) and makes use of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to explain how transformational leadership can be applied.


I like the clean, clutter-free look of the chapters--it invites readers to dig deeper. There are many, many concepts to understand and absorb and the book is not a light or quick read by any means.


I feel it is a useful, practical guide for managers to cope with ever-changing and uncertain global conditions that impact businesses.

Reviewed by

My reviews are for readers. I attempt to write balanced reviews to help people decide if they'd like to pick up the book.

Synopsis

Our world is being hit by multiple crises—from Covid-19 to the climate emergency. Our organizations are having to adapt rapidly to exponential technologies and ever-changing customer needs. We all must cope with endless uncertainty, overwhelm, and threats from automation.

With our damaged and disrupted world demanding continuous transformations—in products, processes, policies, and people—only truly transformational leaders have the mindsets, skills, and tools needed to adapt constantly; and so ensure sustained success for themselves, their organizations, and our species. It is adapt or die on an unprecedented scale. The stakes could not be higher.

Now Lead The Change set out a powerful and profound—yet extremely practical—guide to mastering transformational leadership so you can lead your people, organization, and system towards a thriving, and regenerative, future.

Within is a lucid, luminous, and illustrated summary of Bio-Transformation Theory, a pioneering methodology developed over 25 years on the front lines of personal, business, and systemic change. Grounded in the latest brain science, fueled by embodied wisdom, and focused on landing change as fast as humanly possible, BTT contains 7 life-changing and world-changing insights to upgrade your consciousness at will; step up as a next-level leader; and metabolize any problem into purpose and profit.

Forge Or Fail the Future

Three unprecedented and seismic drivers of change in the outside world are putting intense environmental pressure on every organization to adapt both radically and rapidly internally. Enterprises and institutions that do not transform what they do and how they do it—many times over the coming years not just once—will find they are a mismatch for the future. Therefore, they will inevitably fail. 

This is simply the eternal truth of evolution: a truth that many leaders have forgotten after decades of success in markets that were stable, predictable, familiar, and clear; and where existing organizations controlled access to the means of production and distribution so few competitors could challenge that success. All this has now changed, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic that, at the time of going to press, has shaken our world to the core. No organization or institution on Earth can hide from intense and dramatic evolutionary pressures to adapt fast and frequently. 

The great challenge is this: leading adaptation is very different from managing Business as Usual. In fact, successfully transforming a business model, organization, or system just once is the hardest task a leader can take on. Being able to lead and land continuous transformations to adapt your products and processes to stay in step with the relentlessly changing world is the capability that all leaders must strive for. 

It is likely that if you are reading this book, you have developed decent skills at managing projects (and if you haven’t, no worries; this book will support you too). You can get stuff done to time, on budget, and to a suitable level of quality for your sector or space. The challenge you face is that this is no longer enough to ensure you make it; either as individuals within your career, or as an organization. It is the same for our crisis-hit world. To future-proof your enterprise, your career, and our shared world, you must be able to respond creatively, empathically, and consciously to the three seismic shifts threatening us all. 

However, 20th Century management science, theory, and tools—including line management, performance management, reward systems, KPIs, balanced scorecards etc.—were designed to enable people to solve known and knowable problems fast. From kindergarten to an MBA, managers and leaders are trained to use such tools to get to the ‘right’ answers as quickly as possible. This means downgrading people's innate creativity and adaptability in favor of stability and predictability.

Much of this made sense in the Industrial Age: the last thing that anyone wanted from a soldier in a trench or a factory worker on the production line was ‘variance’, questioning assumptions, refusing ‘received wisdom,’ or challenging authority: what we now call innovation, disruption, and agility.

Twentieth Century management tools and training were very useful, if rarely empowering, when the mission for all managers was to deliver predictable returns by improving production or service levels incrementally (in stable, predictable, familiar, and clear environments). But the world in which we operate is becoming less stable, predictable, familiar, and clear by the hour. We are in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambitious (VUCA) reality and it’s only going to get more confusing and overwhelming. 

Whether seen in uncontrollable forest fires and spontaneous trade wars, or rapidly spreading pandemics causing economic meltdowns, VUCA is the new normal. We must still manage our projects and get stuff done. But we must also be adaptable, agile, ingenious, and nimble. Managing projects and performance is now merely a hygiene factor for any leader and enterprise. We must step up beyond our management comfort zones to lead the change that the market and the environment are demanding from us. We must lead our teams and our enterprises in, through, and out of what I call the Triple Threat.


The first threat is from digital technologies: from AI and automation to blockchain and 3D printing. These technologies are rapidly making legacy business models—most invented in the Industrial Age—seem tired, ill-fitting, and uncompetitive. Digital technologies can scale up the provision of everything from homes to bank accounts without scaling up the traditional costs and challenges that come from building hundreds more factories and employing tens of thousands more people. 

Digitally-powered products and services can deliver more value for less, with a better user experience, too. Simply put, business processes, practices, products, and models developed in the Machine Age of the 20th Century (and even earlier) are struggling to stay effective and profitable in the Digital Age of the 21st Century, where ideas and ideals can travel the world at the click of a mouse. If the core of your business isn’t digitized and data-driven in some fundamental way, it is only a matter of time before your enterprise is no longer fit for the future.

At the same time, AI, automation, and machine learning are now better than many human beings at both repetitive and non-repetitive analytical tasks. The deep-learning algorithm that beat the world’s best human at the complex game of Go became exponentially better—100× better—than he was at his peak just two years later. In the near future, machines will be able to do almost all of our analytical tasks better than we can. 

Not only will they do these things better than human beings, but they will be able to do them without the foibles that human beings have, like cognitive bias, fatigue, and being sick with a virus. As managers, we all have to find ways not to be made redundant by technology— figuratively and literally—by future-proofing our careers. This only happens when we step up as leaders who have mastered our innate capacity to be collaborative and creative; and our humane capacity to be compassionate and caring.

Exacerbating the challenges we face as leaders is the second massive threat to every organization. I believe it is even more important than the plethora of digital technologies discombobulating business: the dramatically disrupted needs, wants, desires, and pain points of emerging customers and employees. The vast majority of your workforce, and soon your customers, are Millennials or even younger. Born after the fall of the Berlin Wall, empowerment, equality, and ethics are part of their generational DNA. 

They demand from their leaders, and the brands they buy from: meaning (a genuine purpose); mastery (autonomy and creativity); majesty (dignity and respect); and membership (belonging, without being cultish). If we don’t know how to offer them this value—as well as manage their performance and productivity—they get overwhelmed, jaded, confused; and they disengage. 

Research by Gallup shows that roughly two thirds of all employees are disconnected from their work and managers, costing US companies alone $550 billion a year; and that six out of every ten employees are burning out on the job. Teams with the highest levels of engagement because of meaning, mastery, majesty, and membership are 12% more profitable and show 60% less employee churn.

Radical social and cultural changes mean that markets—the people who buy and make products—are changing far faster than most organizations are. The resultant mismatch is making it hard for organizations that do not embrace continuous transformation to attract, keep, and serve emerging customers and workers. Remember that while business makes profit for shareholders, it can only do so when it solves problems for large groups of people who cannot solve the problems themselves. 

In a world where younger people are empowering themselves more and more—using digital ideas and peer-to-peer and sharing ideals—businesses find real pain points to resolve or they will find the number of customers willing to pay them is far reduced. If we offer no value, there is no transaction and so no profit. If we forget that we need to find and serve new types of customers, by having deep and empathic insights into emerging needs and resolving them creatively and elegantly, then we will have no business.

Period.

As if this were not enough, we are all facing a third threat: the threat from fundamentally damaged global systems. Our ecological, societal, organizational, and psychological structures are at breaking point after many years of constant stress. Some are already imploding with the novel coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the world, exposing social inequalities, financial frailties, and worrying weaknesses in our global socio-economic system. There is a ‘perfect storm’ of crises brewing that will test our individual and collective resources, resilience, responsibility, and resolve for years to come. 

I believe there are four distinct crises within the overall damaged ecosystem with which every leader must grapple to some degree (which I will investigate in much more detail later in the book): The Industrialization Crisis (more than 3 billion people might live in unbearable heat due to climate change by 2070). The Inequality Crisis (50% of human beings live one paycheck or crop failure away from destitution; and 40% of all US citizens have less than $400 in their checking account for emergencies). The Illness Crisis (for three consecutive years life expectancy has dropped in the USA and there have been more than six hundred thousand extra deaths just among people aged forty-five to fifty-four). The Identity Crisis (almost 4 million guns were sold during March 2020 in the USA alone and 2019 saw the most mass killings on record). 

Every organization must, at minimum, grapple with the intense risks each of these crises brings to their existing business and operating models. Ideally, every organization should find ways to transform one element, or more, of each crisis into business opportunities: authentically serving people and planet by resolving unmet needs through their business purpose. As I will demonstrate later, each crisis interplays with the other three; and each reveals much about the state of our material and conscious worlds. 

For example, the Covid-19 pandemic has already killed hundreds of thousands of people and may go on to kill many more. Yet the outsized impacts of the tiny SARS-CoV-2 virus (the official scientific name of the Covid-19 virus) on lives and livelihoods were utterly predictable because they are the result of existing weaknesses and frailties in both our global and local systems. These issues and that manifest as the four crises I distinguish above.


The Covid-19 pandemic is exposing preexisting ‘maladaptations’ across businesses and society as a whole. It is magnifying and amplifying the intensity and importance of the digital, disrupted, and damaged drivers of change. It also seems to be a foreshadowing of far more intense threats from a climate gone haywire due to industrialization; and a society riven apart by inequality, ill-health, and conflicts over identity. For organizations, the pandemic has accelerated preexisting, and generational, disruptions away from physicality to virtuality; and from carbon-releasing consumer comforts and conveniences to the essentials of health, wellbeing, and community. 

These already existed as weak signals: for example, in the climate protests in schools and in the philosophy of Extinction Rebellion. As planet-negative airlines—that spent the last decade of record profits paying out enormous exec bonuses and funding exuberant share buybacks—ask for massive government bailouts to prevent their bankruptcy, future-fitting organizations like streaming services, delivery companies, and bicycle makers are booming. Why? Because they have already adapted to ‘weak signals’ of their future in the present. 

The writing has been on the wall for decades about pandemics spreading around the globe through extensive mobility, migration, and air travel. SARS, MERS, Ebola, and the everyday flu are features of our concrete present. Scientists have been suggesting that we develop a coronavirus vaccine for years. People have ignored the global risks and the warnings; just as they keep ignoring the cacophony of scientific alarm bells ringing about climate change, pollution, inequality, antibiotic resistance, mental ill-health, physical ill-health, and intense rises in sectarian conflicts and extremist politics. 

The novel coronavirus is demonstrating that societies that prioritize productivity, consumer addictions, and GDP above all else lack the psychological and physiological resilience—and healthcare and welfare ‘redundancies’ (excess capacity to cope with surges)—needed in a profound and prolonged crisis. Poor leadership has been the cherry on the cake of maladaptation and failure that has caused much needless suffering.

Despite an increased understanding of the importance of leadership in long-term organizational performance—and consequently increased investment in leadership development—most leaders are maladapted when it comes to making tough decisions and solving complex problems in challenging VUCA environments. Few are equipped to deal with the disasters of the damaged world; let alone find ways to mitigate their impacts with innovations driven by a genuine social and ecological purpose.

Leadership development programs often serve to shore up the old and out-dated thinking used by both senior managers and their favorite management consultants rather than seek to empower leaders to challenge that thinking wisely and strategically. Budgets are often cut in times of crisis even as leaders struggle to cope with the adaptation

requirements of such crises. 


The good news is that, in the original Greek, a crisis is simply a ‘turning point’: an opportunity to pause, take stock, understand the future in the present . . . and then transform. However, we cannot transform our organization just once and hope all will be well. The Triple Threat facing us all—digital tech, disrupted societies, damaged systems—is so fervid and so complex that we cannot run a single digital transformation, business model innovation, or restructure program and be match fit for the future. 

This kind of linear, silver-bullet, thinking might have worked in previous decades but the external world today is changing so fast that every organization must be able to continuously transform itself time and time again to adapt and stay competitive. 

The only way to enable continuous transformation in our business models and processes is if we have people within our organizations that can themselves continuously transform. Constant transformational challenges driven by a radically-changing VUCA world cannot be ‘off-shored’ to a management consultancy to solve, no matter how brilliant they are. They have to be owned and engaged with by the people within the organization. For it is they that must seek out, design, and implement successfully many transformational solutions. 

The skills and capabilities to transform over and over again must be developed within an organization. Otherwise it will not be able to adapt to every crisis and leverage every turning point. I found this out the very hard way in my first start-up consultancy supporting large organizations to innovate. Nine times out of ten, the organizations I worked with ignored, shrunk, or poorly executed game-changing ideas that competitors would later disrupt them with. This was not because of a lack of capital, technology, or resource. It was always because of a lack

of leadership.

Years of research—and decades of my own experience—tells us this: you cannot succeed as an organization beyond the level of consciousness of your people, especially your leaders. At least, not for very long. As Bob Anderson puts it: “The organization simply cannot outperform the collective effectiveness of its

leaders.” 

As every organization has access to similar technology and production capabilities, you can’t rely on ‘stuff’—even the very latest machine learning (ML) algorithm—to defend you any longer. Technology is obsolete the day it is shipped; the more so given that anyone in any country can compete with the largest companies in the world through employing white-label labs and factories. 

You can’t control what your competitors do and you can’t control how technologies become more or less in vogue. You can’t control your customers, stop them changing, or prevent them from going elsewhere. You cannot control a pandemic from killing customers and shutting down markets. You can’t control fires, flooding, and methane pulses (that may also release viruses stored within from before primates appeared on the planet) in the Arctic. The only thing you can control—although 'master' is a far more accurate word—is how you sense, feel, think, and act; and how you inspire and guide others to sense, feel, think, and act. 


The elemental truth around which this book evolved is this: in fast- and dramatically-changing environments, our consciousness as leaders—how we sense, feel, think, and then act—is our main driver of competitive advantage and the only factor in our (almost) complete control. All my everyday work advising some of the most successful and inspiring organizations in the world to adapt, innovate, and lead transformation and supporting tens of thousands of individuals and leaders to transform themselves is premised in the same truth. 

How we feel and think within determines how our organizations succeed (or not); and whether our society works for us and anyone else. Therefore this book is focused on providing you, as a leader, with a methodology, philosophy, principles, toolset, and a practice-set that can help you switch on your inner consciousness to then step up to lead transformations in concrete matter (that really matter). When you can masterfully shift your own consciousness you can shift anything and everything about the material world of your teams, products, and businesses. 

Although the start point for all transformation is to attend to gritty external challenges thrown up in the tangible outside world, leaders who understand how transformation works rapidly return to their own inner world to start leading the change from the inside-out: inside their consciousness. Our consciousness is a sophisticated fusion of nuanced thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions; inspiring and disabling stories, frames, and narratives that generate meaning; fragmented yet often intense and traumatic memories that we often deny or repress only for them to return in unusual ways; myriad subtle and complex emotions that can take years to fully understand; and rich yet fleeting and capricious sensory experiences that we are often unaware of. 

We have to find ways to transform all of these if we want to behave differently. We cannot sense, feel, think, and act the same as before and expect different outcomes and outputs from a day at work. To expect to stay the same while somehow transforming our teams and organization is, as many have said, the definition of madness. We must change within in order to take charge of change outside us—rather than be left behind

by it.

All business models and empires crumble eventually. New, more adaptive innovations always emerge to take their place. The dissolution of old and outdated habits of thought and action will always occur. New ones will always take their place. Some things will be lost (which we may realize that we do not need after all.) Much will be gained. 

The transformation of the old can happen to us and be very, very painful; or it can be consciously led by us and we can play a role in forging a future that we ourselves envision. Whereas management and transactional forms of leadership are all about maintaining the status quo, we need a kind of leadership that can disrupt the status quo with as little pain, and as much elegance, as possible. This is transformational leadership. 

The version of transformational leadership that I explore in this book goes far beyond the notions of it mooted in earlier, and less exciting, times. Rather than focusing on just our ‘followers’, I believe the times we live and work in demand that we focus our entire mind and body on ensuring our organizations—and the systems we are part of—remain match fit for the future. 

Transformational leaders learn to see every major external change—from blockchain to climate change and from global pandemics to the needs of Generation Alpha—as an invitation to transform something within their enterprise that is a mismatch for the way the future is emerging. The transformational leader adapts to fast-changing environments by transforming products/services and the process and practices that underpin them; not just once but many times, as the environment demands. 

The virtuoso transformational leader embraces and owns external changes—and then metabolizes them into value-generating ideas. As a cell takes in food and extracts the nutrients to create value in our body, the transformational leader takes in external realities that they do not control and smelts them, in heart and in mind, into value-creating products and services with which they can forge the future. The most powerful solvent for transmuting crises into creativity is, as we will see, a sense of deep connection—dare I even say 'love'—in our consciousness. 

Transformational leaders are able to manage the existing business by continuously improving established best practices, ensuring their teams are motivated to solve technical problems quickly and efficiently; even as they spend most of their energy and passion forging the future by inventing next practices for their function, sector, and industry. 

They ensure that their teams can support the metabolization of changes in the external world into creative ideas that are deployed through their enterprise as ‘disruptive innovations,’ ‘digital transformations,’ and ‘agile processes.’ Sensing weak signals for the future in the present, transformational leaders are as concerned with rapid adaptations that remove unnecessary treacle and reduce frustrating friction from internal processes as they are leading the seemingly more glamorous business model innovations and award-winning branded user experiences that adapt the

business to emerging customers and their needs. 

The transformational leader never sees constant evolutionary pressures as a burden or inconvenience. They do not fall into habits that see them despair, moan, or get angry (for long, at least); and they do not allow their teams to do so, either, once a new threat has been spotted and the shock has been processed properly. They do not let their own blinkers ignore warning signs and weak

signals. 

They do not leave the change for someone else to take care of; nor do they talk a lot but fail to walk the walk. They do not discuss the change endlessly nor bemoan the loss of the old. They do not allow their desire for comfort have them block adaptation and the emergence of new ideas. They do not allow their teams and colleagues to have ‘interesting conversations’ that do not move the enterprise firmly onward. 

They do not retreat into nailing the best ever spreadsheet or the most perfect strategy document as a way of feeling in control and productive. They do not rely on their technical expertise to get them through. They never focus solely on the illusory comforts of Business As Usual (even as they manage the existing business and ensure it pays for the development of future ones). 

They do not ignore the “transformational challenges”—when you see a term in speech marks like this, it means it is a transformational term I will use to distinguish an important idea or concept—thrown up by the fast-changing world and instead pay attention to the ‘easy’ technical problems that are familiar and clear.

The transformational leader attends and attunes her/his entire being to engage fully in rapid and dramatic changes in the environment. Without any resistance or refusal, the leader explores ways the organization can turn on a dime to adapt with purpose and power to resolve transformational challenges fully and completely. 

To the transformational leader, every crisis—whether at the local team level or at the global economic level—is a “bifurcation point”. With each bifurcation point, we get to choose to transform our way of working and the things we sell and market consciously . . . or we allow things to decline and break down—and we deal with the consequences. These are the only two options in a VUCA world, where nothing stays the same for long. 

Doing nothing, hoping to tweak our existing products and models indefinitely with performance upgrades and efficiency fixes, may look smart and feel safe but simply ensures that we will decline eventually. By refusing the constant invitations to transform, we will manage our enterprise to fade from relevance . . . and fail the future. 

The transformational leader knows, cognitively and deep in their guts, that the only way to contribute their most creative and adaptive ideas—and agile and progressive actions—each day of work is by mastering their own body and mind. They understand that the only way to metabolize a transformational challenge thrown up by rapid external change is to take it into their mind and body fully; and so alchemize what appears to be dirty, worthless coal into pellucid, priceless diamond with the searing heat of purpose. 

By choosing to expand their own consciousness, transformational leaders free themselves from: cycling fear and stresses that lock them into outdated management techniques that are ineffective in this era; perceived limitations that trap them in banal and uncreative thinking that blocks innovation; and addictions to old business models and the assumptions that underpin them, which prevent the birth of new ones. 

Instead of locking into past strengths, the transformational leader remains poised at their “leadership edge”, ceaselessly dealing with relentless challenges with agility and panache. Such leaders can always find their way back to being free, fluid, and on fire so they can endlessly turn challenging problems into concrete and creative solutions that ensure their teams,

organizations, careers, and human civilization are future-proof. 


There is one enormous barrier blocking you from becoming a truly transformational leader: your own biology. Your mind and body evolved to scan the world constantly for threats. If one is spotted, fear is triggered and your body is flooded with stress hormones. This gets you to move away, or confront the threat, fast: way before your cognitive smarts have kicked in. This stress response has saved your life and enabled you to be here, reading this. It has enabled you to develop strengths that have gotten your needs met, allowed you to succeed in the world, and enabled you to rise as an entrepreneur, manager, or project leader. 

However, it is these very patterns of sensation, emotion, thought, and action that will get in the way of your forging the future of your career, your industry, and our crisis-hit world. You must master this biology if you want to be able to change your consciousness and so lead and land business transformations that keep your enterprise match fit for the future. 

Since studying medicine and philosophy on the path to becoming a psychiatrist, I have spent my entire career asking and answering a single question: how do we reliably achieve the hardest task in life; transforming our biology—and so our patterns of thought and action—in order to transform the world? Over perhaps a hundred thousand hours—of committed study, experiment, and practice—I have co-developed a theory of transformation called Bio-Transformation Theory (BTT). 

BTT is both a theory of change; and a methodology, toolset, and practice-set (practices that allow us to be the change, not just talk about it) for delivering it. BTT is a theory grounded in scientific evidence but it is not limited by what science has had the time, desire, method, and finances to prove. It is as much inspired and animated by timeless human wisdom; and practical hacks for concrete change. By weaving together the three great threads of human genius—science, wisdom, and practice—BTT can support you to lead and land transformations where it counts. 

To fully actualize the power of BTT, I have studied (and continue to study each week) cutting-edge knowledge from the latest science, particularly neurobiology, animal behavior studies, experimental psychology, and the study of complex systems. I have then consciously (re)united these scientific truths with life-changing wisdom from the great philosophical traditions—like Stoicism and Buddhism—that provide us crucial insights into how to change our consciousness that science simply cannot deliver (by nature of its focus on objective facts, not subjective experience). 

I have then spliced into this body of work the hacks, tips, and tools I have gained over a quarter of a century on the front lines of change as a practitioner (supporting over a hundred blue-chip companies, scores of government departments, multiple global non-profits, and over 70,000 leaders and everyday citizens to become transformational). Finally, over many hours of simplification, illustration, and teaching, I have architected Bio-Transformation Theory into a coherent, cohesive, and communicable methodology that actually works. 

In this book I lay out seven elemental principles that lie at the heart of BTT; and show you how these ‘gems’ can help you lead and land continuous adaptive transformations that future-proof your career, enterprise, and our world. They are:

How your one unified mind and body works

The two modes of consciousness at your disposal and how to use the right one to fit the moment

The third way of creative harmony that gets you out of simplistic and oppositional dualities

The four elements that make up every leadership and organizational habit; and how to break through these patterns to create the change you want to see

The five stages of transformational development we can inhabit as leaders; and how to consciously evolve yourself to make the most of your one short life

The six spirals of transformational action that enable you to embrace and solve any problem from the inside out: from self-transformation through self-mastery, right up to leading systemic change

The seven stages of how to lead transformations in yourself, your team, your organizations, and your systems by moving along the Transformation Curve

Along the way we will explore: how to discern technical problems from transformational challenges (and how to treat them very differently); what occurs on the path of the Breakdown Decline if we repress or reject the invitation to transform that crises constantly present us with; why sometimes doing nothing as we metabolize a transformational challenge into a creative solution is better than acting fast (and why this is way harder that it sounds); the vital importance of sensing and acting upon weak signals before perfect data arrives; how to use all mistakes for “triple-loop learning”; and how to arrive at clarity in decision-making in complex settings using four vital forms of guidance, which distinguishes instinct from intuition.

We will gain insights into: how to harness your leadership purpose to ground you in uncertain environments and deliver value to society; why many people resist change and transformation and ways to liquify this resistance; eight principles to stay resilient in the tough times ahead; how the Connection Solution opens up our transformative potential; why we should all develop reconnection practices as leaders; why the patterns we develop in our early career both help and hinder us; twelve classic leadership archetypes that bring much benefit but also have major limitations that must be transcended if we are to rise to more evolved stages of leadership; and how the Covid-19 pandemic affords us a unique opportunity to bring a more adaptive world into reality today.


Given there are likely to be even greater existential threats on the horizon—from droughts and flooding to rising sea levels corroding the shores of our cities—Covid-19 is simply the latest call for leaders to wake up to the crises we all face and lead the change now. Devastating though it is (and I have lost much-loved ones to it), it is but a drill for the challenges ahead. Without truly transformational leadership, the four crises of the damaged world will turn into the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 

Yet seen from the lens of transformational leadership, the dangers and existential risks we face—and technologies and innovation opportunities we can seize—are material world realities that are calling us to upgrade our consciousness within: to wake up; switch on; and step up. 

The four crises—as well every business fail driven by a lack of proactive adaption to digital technologies and to disruptive user needs—are all underpinned, and exacerbated, by a different pandemic: a critical absence of transformational leadership. 

Transformational leaders—in business, society, and politics—always ensure that their organizations/societies are future-proofed. They always have adaptive options available to meet global risks head on by creating value-generating products and services that solve emerging needs (supported by technological innovations). A problem is always an opportunity for a transformational

leader.

Now is not the time to step back in fear, false modesty, or ennui. Suffering is everywhere. Those whose homes and livelihoods are destroyed by floods, cyclones, and droughts are calling. The tribes, animals, and forests devastated by palm oil and fires are calling. The tundras releasing methane that might make global warming unstoppable are calling. The bleached, dying coral reefs that are radically reducing our fish stocks are calling. The dying bees that we need to ensure we can all eat are calling. 

Our customers and employees dying decades before their time, from addictions and disease, are calling. The millions of anxious teenagers—many from the most privileged homes—who are burning and cutting their skin daily are calling. The subsistence farmers whose food we enjoy but who are one crop away from destitution are calling. Our colleagues and co-workers with stagnant incomes, stressed-out lives, and unaffordable healthcare are calling. Our friends, loved ones, and team members are calling for our support, inspiration, and guidance.

It matters not what domain of life or sphere of activity you want to lead and land transformations in. The theory, methodology, thinking, practices, and tools of Bio-Transformation Theory that you will find in this book are as relevant to leading a family or local community as they are to leading a global corporate or entire nation. 

If you choose to master the science and wisdom of transformational leadership you can harness these life-changing and world-changing insights to transform outdated thoughts and unskillful habits that are leading to missed opportunities in your career; irrelevant and obsolescent processes and products in your organization that are leading it to fail; and the suffering that everyone, and the planet on which we rely for everything, is experiencing. 


The time has come for us all to lead the change, now. Because, our career, our organizations, and our crisis-hit world really cannot wait.


About the author

Nick has supported C-suite leaders from organizations as diverse as Nike, No. 10 Downing Street, Unilever, Microsoft, NHS, HSBC, and Oxfam. He has taught at Oxford, LBS, and Yale; and has been featured in The Economist, Guardian, and Financial Times. He obtained a Triple 1st Class from Cambridge. view profile

Published on October 08, 2020

Published by Switch On Books

90000 words

Genre: Business & Economics

Reviewed by

Enjoyed this review?

Get early access to fresh indie books and help decide on the bestselling stories of tomorrow. Create your free account today.

or

Or sign up with an email address

Create your account

Or sign up with your social account