I’ve had a fascinating week: I started out in London, running a Masterclass for CEOs around Social Leadership and a vision of the Socially Dynamic Organisation. Many of these people are deeply tied into the question of ‘how’ they engage, how they build Social Leadership, not whether they have to. I think we are firmly in the ‘how’ position: the broad swathes of change are clear. It’s time to act on the evidence.
I spent Wednesday working with over 100 leaders in the NHS on Social Leadership: the challenges of the NHS are significant, but the willingness to tackle them is equally high. For me, the challenge lies in engagement. Not engagement within the highly coherent groups, but engagement on the front lines. The divisions are deeply embedded: we will not face the challenges ahead unless we engage in our differences, engage with respect, and are willing to accept that change will start with me.
In the News
I find the work around Unconscious Bias and Implicit Association to be incredibly interesting: the cognitive process by which things become ‘normalised’, which directly impacts on our view of the world. This piece, from Australia, struck me as interesting: a direct attempt to tackle ‘normal’ views of gender. Normalisation sits behind many facets of inequality: our normal view is not how things always need to be.
A fascinating dilemma here: our rules around accessibility are vital, but in a world of rapidly evolving, community created and adaptive content, how do we keep up? Perhaps, ultimately, the challenge will be solved through synchronous and autonomous subtitling and translation, but for now, it’s having a huge impact. One of the great untapped areas of potential for any organisation is the ability to engage across languages, across borders and across cultures. Accessibility is just one facet of exclusion. The prizes for the technologies that cross these borders, and for organisations that adopt it early, will be high.
The emerging scandal in the US military, concerning the widespread sharing of photos of female colleagues, speaks to two core challenges. The connectedness of individuals, outside any formal system, but also the willful silence around cultural failure. Technology does not cause these cultural failures, but it lets them scale at speed. To tackle it, we must tackle underlying questions of trust and values, but that will only happen through dialogue. You cannot constrain or solve cultural failure through rules and sanction alone.
I wrote for International Women’s Day, thinking about my 13-year-old niece, and the world we are handing on to her : https://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/international-womens-day-2/
The things that made us strong in the past, our traditional strengths, may well be our weaknesses in the Social Age: https://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/traditional-strengths/
And those things that we think are cast in stone will be blown aside, like leaves in the wind: https://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/those-things-we-think-are-cast-in-stone/
What I’m thinking about
I’ve been thinking about evolution: as the ecosystem shifts around us, we must adapt, and the thing that holds us back may be our traditional strength, our current worldview, our grounded power, and our unwillingness to recognise the change. This ties into two key issues: understanding the cognitive aspects of resistance, and recognising that we must work together to shape the future state.
Historically, our organisations were mechanisms of scale and control and relied on consistency and replicability. It’s possible that, in the Social Age, we will need diverse ecosystems of thought and diverse capability. We will need unifying principles, but they may not be mechanisms of control. Instead, rapid capability in finding our shared story, taking action fast, prototyping and doing so around a unified set of values.
There is still time to enrol on the Foundations of the Social Age MOOC, exploring twelve aspects of the Social Age with an engaged community of around 300 explorers. The course is live until the 10th of April: https://seasaltlearning.com/event/foundations-of-the-social-age/
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