I have been really enjoying reading Geoff Aigner’s book ‘Leadership beyond good intentions – what it takes to really make a difference’ So many of his points resonate with the experiences many of our clients are having with leadership in complex global contexts. Aigner tells it how it is – leadership these days can be tough! Leaders are faced with both the ‘fantasy’ version of the leader as ‘rescuer’ or ‘hero’ which is simply impossible to live up to, while being required to lead in a context where there are numerous complex and adaptive systems changes required. While tempting, it is not possible to simply work harder and technically excel in such contexts. Rather, leaders are required to: engage and connect with people who have very different world-views and ways of operating, navigate increasingly complex and dynamic markets and global systems; and concurrently transform the core systems of their organisation to ‘work’ within the new context.
Aigner explores the dynamics of power/compassion, authority/freedom, betrayal/trust/and identity among others. I found a lot of parallels with the core Beasley Intercultural model which anchors so much of our work. In globalising organisations and complex intercultural situations, we use our model SURF™
- Stop & suspend judgement
- Use your observation & listening skills
- Recognise & respect common ground
- Find common ground & be flexible in your approach
So much of the core skill required to perform in these contexts really comes down the the personal capacity of individuals to connect with others and be self-aware enough to negotiate difference.