Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #29
From the Greenbelt of Boise, Idaho, Spring emerging
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. – Lao Tzu
Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Be quick, but do not hurry. – John Wooden
Freedom is the ability to act both with confidence and a full knowledge of uncertainty. – Peter Schwartz
I’ve spent most of my life planning and then adapting when the plans I make do not fit with the reality I face. We all do, whether it’s the places we live, the jobs we take, raising children, supporting parents, taking vacations, etc. we’re making plans and adapting as life comes at us in often surprising ways.
We have an innate human desire for a semblance of certainty and stability. We create plans to support us. Unfortunately, holding tightly to our plans can lead to illusions:
- That we know all we need to know.
- That we can predict the future accurately.
- That we can justify our actions.
- That “the problem” is outside of us.
These illusions can quickly turn into delusions. When faced with uncertainty and complexity we often react by locking ever more tightly to the plan we know. We end up in the weeds or worse, just because that was the way we were heading.
Our opportunity is to hold our plans lightly, and develop our capacity for planning to act quickly without hurrying. Planning prepares us to respond with presence in the face of volatility, uncertainly, complexity and ambiguity. Planning helps us create a better future today.
We are wired for predicting. Neuroscientists have concluded that our brains are predictive, not reactive. According to Lisa Feldman Barrett, “Our neurons are firing constantly making millions of predictions of what we will encounter next in the world, based on our lifetime of past experience.”
Our development challenge is to expand our capacities for perceiving and meaning-making, rather than relying on only past experiences. Creative planning enables clear, confident leadership. It helps us:
- Examine and adapt our mental models to shift thinking in ways that better serve us.
- Facilitate conversations that enable team and organization learning.
- Generate new insights through systems thinking, modeling and mapping.
- Envision future possibilities by exploring uncertainties through scenarios.
- Manage paradox to foster creativity and high performance.
Here are a couple of questions to consider:
- What helps me respond with presence in the face of uncertainty and complexity?
- How do I approach planning to facilitate learning and growth?
I work with executives and professionals to use creative planning to confidently lead in the face of uncertainty and complexity. Together we build trust, and cultivate leadership and organizational effectiveness to create a better future today. To learn more visit here.
Let’s create a better future today!