Stage Two Leaders are also successful and produce results. They are more aware of the need for coherent and managed approaches to Unified Action and change. They are more willing than their Stage One counterparts to try such approaches, particularly in times of crisis. However, these innovative approaches usually give way to ‘normal’ prior practices after the crisis has passed. Results-focused Stage Two Leaders often do not persist in “walking their talk” with respect to Unified Action, but continue to be moved by circumstance and ‘business as usual’ ideology.
Stage Three Leaders creatively bring people and organizations together. Given human nature, and the almost inescapable pull for conformity from institutional culture, Stage Three Leadership is a tall order. It calls for uncharacteristic ways of seeing the world, and turning some commonly held beliefs and assumptions on their heads. What’s needed is to embrace a new set of beliefs and practices, while replacing old paradigms without compromise. This leadership challenge in no way diminishes the absolute requirements for competence, judgment and experience.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” For Stage Three Leaders, “being the change” means thinking and speaking the language of possibility. It means personally and always standing for the imperative of Raison d’ Humanite — to be humanitarian on the widest scale while producing both tangible results and Unified Action. “Being the Change” also means moving ideas from the abstract realm of concepts to the arena of coordinated action, often in partnership with discordant individuals and groups. It demands that you confront your own attitudes, behaviors and self-limiting beliefs, to get yourself out of your way. It means becoming an ambassador from the future you want to see and intend to create.
Many of our basic social institutions fail to meet this standard. People who control the most valued resources and carry senior accountability in large organizations often act as if they care more for order and control than for the rights and wellbeing of the people whose efforts sustain those systems. In schools this means that interests such as state test scores become more important than individual children’s learning. In corporations this means the company’s quarterly earnings outweigh its long-standing employee pension commitments. For the future of humans in space, this means that parochial bureaucratic, scientific, commercial and national interests collide in ways that impede success. Short-sightedness reigns precisely where the need for leadership vision and Unified Action is greatest.
Processes and prescriptions for Unified Action abound. Methods for constructive conflict resolution, searching for common ground, and coordinated action are easy to find. What we lack are leaders committed to using them. Institutional cultures are merciless in their gravity and grip on people to conform. This usually stops people from “helicoptering” and seeing events from perspectives above and beyond what is already sanctioned by the culture. It is difficult to apply new knowledge, however productive it may potentially be, when it runs counter to deeply embedded beliefs.Download Article 1K Club