Evolutionary leadership. The only skill that matters today that they don’t teach you at Business School

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How intelligent are you? Above average? Well above average? Good. Now imagine you are required to explain the term evolution to a total stranger, as quickly and simply as possible. In fact why not try it now with a colleague at work. Then ask them to repeat what you have said.

Not so easy is it?

This is the real elephant in the leadership room. Generally we don't talk about nor understand the basic life force that drives homo sapiens, the planet and probably the entire universe wherever life makes an appearance.



Instead, with head in sand, we burble on about such things as visions, values, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, agility and disruption, shuffling along in the slave-like trench with glassy-eyed bovine acquiescence, uninspired and unthinking, while organisational lifespans sink like the Titanic.
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Outside of this imaginary world there is a very real one where the landscape is evolving rapidly and seemingly totally beyond our control. CEO's, supposedly the clever ones who see the future and plan accordingly for the rest of us mere mortals, are getting fired faster than McDonald burger flippers (well yes, that CEO too). And the facts don't lie. Companies are going out of business faster than ever and all the bright sparks with all the king's horses have no clue whatsoever. In fact there is a good chance that the company you currently work for will:

  • Fire its CEO in the next 18 months

  • Declare bankruptcy in the next five years

  • And you will be without a job and nobody will need your skills any more.

Unless. And this is a very big unless.

Unless managers, academics and HR departments radically change their theories of organisational reality. That is, evolution is the real and underlying driver of organisational reality, and that energy – and not the fuzzy wuzzy kind – is the only fuel that drives it.

So, what is this evolution you may ask? To understand it you first need to suspend all judgement of everything else you have ever learned or believe.

Evolution is the continuous and random flow of energy that determines the non-directional flow of life, the universe and everything. And it has been ticking away without a break, since at least the big bang 14 billion years ago. It has no underlying grand purpose, no strategy, no values – it has zero views on cannibalism or communism – and it can be as destructive as it is creative.

And as powerful and fundamental as it is, it depends only on three steps. Quite simply, the evolutionary algorithm could be the most intelligent process, bar none, that drives our entire galaxy and beyond.

And here is the algorithm.

Wherever there is repetition, variation and selection you must get evolution.

In previous articles I have written about all organisations being on a sublinear pathway with a half-life of just ten years whereas cities survive for thousands of years as they are on a superlinear pathway. Simply stated, cities follow a superlinear evolutionary pathway, whereas organisations grope in the dark as blind as bats, with absolutely no clue how to manage global complexity and the hidden power of evolution.


FUTURE PREDICTION AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

We are living in a complex and interconnected world where the systemic challenges are global and not local – environmental destruction, climate change, over population, over consumption, financialisation etc – and we have almost zero apparent capacity and intelligence to manage the challenge. We remain fixated by principles and beliefs that worked well in the Dark Ages.

Right now there is little hope that our current political systems will evolve intelligently any time soon. But the individual can do something. Recognise that organisations and nation states are merely imagined components of our relatively modern mythology. And these components are now failing badly. You can no longer depend for your future on these outmoded and destructive systems.

Instead you need to take control of your own future, free from the chains of soon to be forgotten beliefs and constraints. You need to see yourself as a free agent capable of embracing the universal power of evolution in your own life. Customise new evolutionary actions that make you more creative, more independent, and more powerful on your fast changing landscape.

If you are a leader, re-brand yourself as a free-thinking, high energy and evolutionary leader.

An evolutionary leader reads voraciously about a wide range of subjects from science and astonomy to history and philosophy, asks intelligent questions, debates constructively, and most importantly has the courage to challenge existing beliefs, and continuously looks for new and better ways of doing things.

The evolutionary leader knows that energy is the fuel that drives evolution. In practical terms this energy translates as intelligent thinking and intelligent action.

Rousseau said that "Man is born free and everywhere is in chains." If you choose to use the powerful and energy generating principles of evolution, you can break free of these chains, and be better equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Dealing with the cult goblins in organisations
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Friday, 30 October 2020
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