We draw inspiration from some funny places. The moments, the stories, the experiences that sometimes we even struggle to place can form our thinking, our feeling and our doing. As a kid, I had a collection of Aesop’s Fables, I can’t even remember whether they were read to me, or I read them myself. Or perhaps even both. But I remember the stories.
The one that sticks with me most is the story of the North Wind and The Sun. If you’re not familiar with the fables then you can read more about it here. The message being that gentleness or persuasion is more powerful than force or bluster. A lesson that has stuck with me through life and work.
The organizational context within which we co-exist is becoming increasingly complex, with relationships stretching across borders and boundaries. Inter connecting departments, shared purpose with separate ownership, leadership from within not above. The world of work is increasingly full of ambiguity.
And faced with ambiguity and complexity, the natural instinct is to create order from disorder, certainty in uncertainty and control the uncontrollable. But the rules of the games have changed forever and the traditional methods of management are themselves ineffective, outdated and the refuge of the ineffective and outdated; the last resort of the inept.
In this increasingly complex and inter connecting world those that succeed are the ones that understand that trust beats control, that persuasion beats force, that collaboration beats independence. We create cohesion not by instruction, but by willingly coming together, we create certainty by collectively defining the future, we create success through self-determination and empowerment.
The future of work bears little resemblance to the past, the environment is changing at such a pace and some will adapt, but many won’t. The scared, ill prepared and ineffective will try to hold it back. The wise will listen, understand, talk, create, co-operate and succeed.
When things are bafflingly complex, only through empowering, respecting, trusting and collaborating will we find the way through.
Only by letting go will we hold on.