"Talent allows you to hit a target that no one else can hit, whereas genius allows you to hit a target no one else can see."Arthur Schopenhauer, 19th Century German Philosopher
My hypothesis is the following.
Just as 95% of the universe is unknown dark energy, so it is with organisations. And that this explains the current failure of most organisational theory and practice. It fails to see the hidden target of system energy.
Every leader, team and organisation is driven by complex, invisible and unknown dark energy.
This dark energy is beyond language. And this matters.
This means that every word ever written or uttered about leadership, teams and organisations sits in the almost irrelevant 5% zone.
So here is your 'genius' challenge. How can you 'see' the dark energy target that is invisible? And what can you do about it?
My view is straightforward. If leaders and organisations cannot 'see' and manage the dark energy target, they are simply groping in the twilight zone of blissful ignorance.
Here is my evidence to support this. Our perfect storm of the Super Eight.
In spite of the above, we still bash on every day, ostrich-like as if none of the above is actually happening. It appears that the warm womb of ignorance is more comfortable.
It is worth remembering that we really do live in a world full of magic and wonder.
From atoms and molecules, to stars and galaxies; from the infinite complexity of emergent life to human consciousness. All of it beyond words.
In principle every single human experience is fuelled by dark energy.
Mark Solms is his brilliant book, The Hidden Spring - a Journey to the Source of Human Consciousness, has shown us that the mammalian brain stem is the source of all our feelings, evolved to protect us in a dangerous world. In principle if you can feel, you are conscious. If we had to think about and decide every daily eventuality, we would all be dead.
This is the world of dark energy. Beyond words.
My red wine tasting is a further example of dark energy.
If you attend a wine tasting of a great new Italian vintage, each taster will experience it differently. You can stand on your head and whistle dixie; you can talk until the cows come home. No one will ever really know what the other person experiences. It is impossible. This is the work of dark energy. Beyond words.
Relationships. They exist beyond words. Talking about them won't change the complexity in the space beyond words.
The language of leadership is no different. Despite the daily avalanche of advice on leadership - be creative, be nice to people, be a good communicator, be empathetic (whatever that means), be emotionally intelligent (whatever that means) - it is all, sadly, quite irrelevant.
Every word spoken, every word written, every lecture given - all are meaningless in a world of dark energy. Words simply reflect our experience of the real world.
Working with organisational dark energy is relatively straightforward.
Firstly you have to measure the system energy and then you have to know how to generate new levels of energy. (We use a range of customised instruments for this.)
The key is to understand that there are three fundamental elements that drive our universe. Energy. Entropy. Evolution. And that this is the dark energy that drives organisations.
Energy is the fuel needed to get work done.
Entropy is the natural loss of energy that occurs in every person, team and organisation.
Evolution. The evolutionary algorithm. The real genius of the universe. It drives life the universe and everything. Including you and your organisation.
In our own work we have created a 'fractal bridge' that links the dark energy to the world of action and performance. The principle is deceptively simple but powerful.
We know that most of our thinking, attitudes, beliefs and actions are habitual. In the real four dimensional world these manifest in actions and behaviours.
The secret here is that observable actions, much like twin particles, are linked directly to the individual's dark energy. If you change the one, you change the other.
Now at a conscious level we cannot change dark energy directly as we have no access to it. But we can change our actions which will in turn directly impact our own dark energy.
Here are two important supporting concepts.
The evolutionary algorithm - the genius behind the universe - is simple but brilliant. Wherever you have repetition, variation and selection, you must get evolution. It is never negotiable.
We also know now that specific new actions with repetition have the power to change our neural networks, in effect to evolve our biology.
Thus the smart way to manage your dark energy is to do it - not through words - but through new actions and behaviours.
When you customise carefully designed new actions (we call them energy fractals) and implement them with discipline, you are effectively using the power of your own dark energy combined with the evolutionary algorithm.
If you agree with the above so far, you will recognise that the only way to change organisations is to change the behaviour of leaders in a way that maximises organisational energy and performance.
Think in terms of starting with a 'blank page'. (Courtesy of my colleague Mike Taylor.) Forget all the books, theory, words, lectures etc. Recognise that the design and execution of new actions and behaviours is the gateway to the universal world of dark energy.
And that this is where the power, magic and wonder of all leadership development and real organisational performance lies.