“At this critical junction in the history of humankind, leaders that are proficient in magical thinking aren’t going to solve our problems. Creating alternative realities is not the answer.
We need a very different kind of leadership— leaders who can resist the calls of regression and whose outlook is firmly based in reality.
The problem we all have is that what most people ‘think’ is reality, is not. It’s their ‘thinking’ about reality. In fact, getting my clients in touch with reality is the first challenge I face when working with them.”
– Manfred de Vries, Professor of Leadership at the renowned business university Insead
My experience of working with people over the last 20 years has been the exact same as the Professor above. The first big problem to overcome with every client is to help them get in touch with what’s actually going on and not what they ‘think’ is going on.
“For the big decisions in life, you need to reach a deeper region of consciousness. Making decisions then becomes not so much about ‘deciding’ as about letting an inner wisdom emerge.” – W. Brian Arthur, renowned economist
W. Brian Arthur is an economist and complexity thinker. He has degrees in operations research, economics, mathematics, and electrical engineering i.e. he’s a smart dude! 🙂
So this quote above is fascinating because he’s pointing to something beyond our intellectual minds when it comes to the big decisions.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
There’s a scene in the new Tom Cruise movie ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ where he’s with a group of young pilots that he’s training for an impossible mission and he says:
“Our greatest enemy is time.”
Without giving anything away, the story arc of the movie involves Cruise’s character realising that he’s not as old as he thinks he is, that he still has something to contribute, not only as a teacher but as a pilot.
“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” – William James
“Is it wrong that I’m enjoying this so much?”
This was said to me in the middle of the pandemic by a business owner in the hospitality sector.
As you know hospitality was one of the hardest hit industries when the pandemic struck and his business was right in the middle of it.
If ever there was a time that showed the power of the right attitude, it has been the last 2 years.
“Diversity isn’t some optional add-on, it isn’t some icing on the cake.
Rather, it is the basic ingredient of collective intelligence.”
– Matthew Syed
A couple of weeks ago myself TLJ, Jane and Sam went to the theatre for the first time since before the pandemic began.
It was to see The Curious Case of The Dog In The Night-Time (TCCOTDITNT) at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin – Ireland’s home to a lot of visiting shows from London’s West End.
“See every problem as an opportunity to exercise creative energy.”
I’ve heard this phrase many many times from clients. But I’ve also heard it from myself.
Most of the people I work directly with are entrepreneurs or people with entrepreneurial minds. Feeling flat happens to the best of them and it’s important that they learn how to recharge themselves in a healthy way, because it’s their creative spirit that really drives everything.
If you get flat everything suffers. Your communication, your thinking and ideas, your results.
I firmly believe that everyone has access to this creative, entrepreneurial energy but I know not everyone agrees with that.
“I’ve never bothered about records. I’ve never performed well if I’m going for stuff like that. I like to win, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. I just try to enjoy the game, compete, enjoy being on the circuit, try to enjoy what I do and work hard at my game. Then you just let the snooker gods decide what they are going to decide. These 17 days, they were on my side.” – Ronnie O’Sullivan after winning his 7th World Snooker Championship
I heard the above from great snooker player O’Sullivan last week after he had just become the oldest ever world champion at 46 years of age.
The next day I had the opportunity to interview another sporting legend, champion jockey Rachael Blackmore.
“I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention, in my opinion, arises from idleness, possibly also from laziness – to save oneself trouble.” – Agatha Christie
During the pandemic I witnessed first-hand leaders innovating at a dramatically increased scale. Why? Because there was a very real and present danger, which threatened the survival of many businesses.
I innovated within my own business and tried many new things – because I had to.
So on one level I disagree with Agatha.
“Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa.” – Bart Simpson
“So what happened on Easter Sunday anyway?”
So asked my son Sam over the weekend.
At his age, Easter was drilled into me as a 13 year old Irish Catholic boy and I’m now wondering what exactly do they teach when it comes to religion in his school… 🙂
Truth be told, Easter was a week I dreaded at Sam’s age.
At it’s worst we had to go to mass/church every day for 7 days. Throw in altar boy requirements and it was a week like no other. Loooooonnnnnnnnng, slow and tedious.
Clearly, and thankfully times have changed.
But on one level it almost seems a pity that for many Easter has lost the symbolism that it has at it’s core.
“Nothing really works unless you do” – Maya Angelou
I remember working with someone who had achieved some incredible things in one industry but had jumped into another one and was struggling to make their new enterprise work.
When we met I advised that the best use of his time was to reflect on his leadership approach and where it was coming from. Indeed to reflect on how his inner world reflected into his outer one.