S2E8: Jude Jennison reads ‘Leading Through Uncertainty’; Creating and shaping the future
Chapter 8 of my book Leading Through Uncertainty is called Creating and shaping the future and is a crucial skill in uncertainty and often overlooked. It entails slowing down to pay attention to what is going on beyond the words at a deeper level. It requires us to shift attention from the ego to the ecosystem. In a world of targets, measurements and metrics, creating space to allow new ideas to emerge is challenging yet essential. We can’t create the future from an old paradigm.
Chapter eight begins with a story of my horse Opus who pays attention and makes his opinions very clear!
Opus suddenly kicked the stable door. Bang! He was standing in his stable next to the arena. He had his head over the door, watching intently all morning as clients led different horses. He never took his eyes off the clients and paused only to eat hay when we also stopped for a break. It often surprises clients that he shows so much commitment to being involved even though he doesn’t play an active hands-on role. Horses always work as a collective, which means they look out for each other all the time. If one of them is in the arena, the others always pay attention and communicate with each other constantly, even though they may be doing something else. Opus had been quiet all morning, and although I realised that he was watching us, the clients had been engrossed and largely unaware of his presence. As we turned to look at him, he raised his head high and kicked the stable door again two or three times. “It looks as though he wants something,” I said. That was an understatement. Th ere was nothing subtle about his communication. I went over to him. He head-butted me, then nudged the lock on his stable door. His message was clear. He wanted to come out. I put on his head collar and opened the stable door. He came barging out in a hurry. He dragged me over to the arena, charged in like a young horse at the races and pulled me over towards the clients. He went up to Ruth (client name changed to protect confidentiality) and head-butted her on the chest. She looked at me and raised her eyebrows in astonishment. I said, “I think he wants to work with you. Are you willing?” Ruth said yes. Since his formal retirement from the leadership work, Opus is quite challenging to lead and usually plants his feet and refuses to move with clients. He requires clarity, confidence and purpose in a leader, someone who knows exactly where they are going and communicates it, balanced with gentleness, empathy and space for him to feel he has an opinion, too. It takes an exceptionally skilled leader to balance the energy of driving results with the soft ness of nurturing in complete harmony. Opus is the master of fine-tuning! Clients are often too kind and respectful towards him, and he takes advantage of that.
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