Leadership is Insufficient: a Case for Co-Inventing 2020
Founder & CEO
The day I met my mentor, Dr. Fernando Flores, he said to me: “Leadership is too narrow and too much about individual commitment and willpower.” As I contemplated this blow to my up-until-then identity of a somewhat-leadership-expert, a new world opened up to me… the world of contingencies, emergences, and accidents. I learned that to lead is to learn to anticipate, navigate, and surf the different forces at play.
I realized that there is never a single inventor – that we never actually “create the future” by ourselves. WHAT??? Yes, I, the leadership expert actually said, “We never create the future … by ourselves.” See, there is only ever co-invention.
One of my biggest insights came when I was arguing over “going potty” with my three-year-old daughter. In a flash, I realized she and I were co-inventing our lives together – it wasn’t me, the adult, creating the reality… it wasn’t her, the defiant three-year-old, creating my experience… we were co-inventing.
When we finally get that it is ALL a co-invention, we can navigate, play, and participate in a wholly more effective way.
Transformational Tip for Co-Inventing 2020:
This month, as you begin to create your year, consider your personal commitment and willpower are unlikely to carry you through … rather, begin to relate to yourself as part of an emerging world always in a dance with others, navigating the contingencies and accidents that spring up out of seemingly nowhere.
Do some reflection:
- With whom are you co-inventing moment-by-moment?
Look around you – these are your co-inventors. What are you creating together in this moment, and the next, and the next? What possibilities are opening up out of your dance together?
- Secondly, and perhaps more deliberately…with whom are you imagining the future?
The future only exists in our imaginations. Who do you want to imagine with? Get curious about those co-imaginers. What matters most to the them? How does their story shape the future? What are their distinct contributions to a successful outcome? What mood are they in about what we’re creating together? What could I do that would make the biggest difference in supporting and gaining creative insight from my co-imaginers?
Then, create a conversation for 2020 with your co-imaginers.
Where might it lead you? Remember – if you make a point of speaking last, you’ll hear a lot more (and that’s super important – they each have critical insight).