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Sunday, 2 October 2011

What Do You Mean, I Can’t? Just Watch Me!

“We can’t plan ahead – there’s too much uncertainty and change out there.  We can only be reactive”
So said a business leader to me this week.    
Ask yourself the question: when can you remember anything but uncertainty out there?   We are in a New Normality again and what is happening is an event that we can’t change so we had better get on with changing ourselves to accommodate it and make the solution work.
The trouble is that out there as well are masses of so-called pundits who are in essence naysayers and gloom mongers.  Just watch, read or listen to the media across the board and all you will hear is what is wrong, and absolutely no sensible ideas of what needs to be changed to put it right.
At the micro level it can be just as debilitating.  It can seem that whatever ideas the leader (or anyone else for that matter) brings forward then out come the naysayers and gloom mongers again.
How often have we heard: “It won’t work”, “There isn’t a market for it”. No-one will be interested” and worst of all, “We tried it before and it didn’t happen that time so why should it happen now
Confidence can be catching but lack of confidence and prophesies of failure can be equally catching.  Winston Churchill said: “Failure is just another step on the road to success”.
A major function of the leader is to engender a feeling of confidence in the people so that even though the prophets of death and destruction will always be with us, their voices are muted and discounted.
That is not to say that over confidence is right – unchecked it could be construed as arrogance; a modicum of reflection and careful thought may just change or modify a plan but that is quite different from what the press used to call “knocking copy”; merely rubbishing without offering a workable solution.  Listen to any opposition (and for that matter some Coalition) politicians right now to hear that happening.
Remember, there are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t.  So stop, look them in the eye and say: “I can’t?  Just watch me!”.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks Ivan for this timely post. Reminds me of the old saying 'whether you think that you can or whether you think that you can't - you are right!'

What was the story about the leader who started to spend more time with his staff during a difficult period. Whilst spending this time, listening every day, he noticed that the effectiveness of his people increased.

Maybe the leaders role should be defined as 'inspiring others to be the best that they can be'



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