It goes without saying that we are in the midst of what futurist Alvin Toffler called “the rattling and shaking.” Well, the point also is, there seems to be no let up in sight, or any end, to the cultural and economic ‘seismic’ activity that we are all witness to, thanks to a paradigm ‘shift’ in our lives at work and home. While our age is itself a period of rapid transformation — something that has consistently happened during man’s journey through time — the propelling forces driving such a monumental change are far too diverse and complex.
It is precisely at this juncture that our story takes a palpable turn — a twirl into a new reality, one that is blooming and, in turn, transforming health and illness, also organisations and work. As Albert Einstein put it so succinctly, “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” This exemplifies the fact why leaders and organisations have increasingly woken up to the practical reality of everyday life and realised that their most underutilised resources are ‘the minds and hearts’ of their people. More so, individuals closest to the customer, client, or patient, and also work, who have most of the answers to cascading questions.
While we are primarily on the ‘cusp’ of transforming ourselves, there is a powerful, also engaging connect to the whole idea. It is pivotal to our survival and progress — because what is labelled so naturally as the centrepiece for our transformation is a new kind of leader, not the autocrat, but one who is endowed with the courage and vision to challenge and resolve problems. Add to this a logical, step-by-step process for empowerment, you have a new vision for what is possible to the individual, team, or group. You’d call the principle ‘enlightened’ individual, or organisation, too. A visage that provides the essential tool-kit for taking us into the future of work; it also represents an ever-changing, vastly competitive environment around us.
There has been, of course, far too much rhetoric in every community about the need for visionary leadership, a leader with a vision of the future. The fact actually is — most leaders, who are also individuals, seem to be amused with the implied limitations of that terminology. While it is obvious that merely having a vision is no panacea to bringing about successful change, what is really needed is enlightened leadership: of individuals who not only have the drive, but also the ability to accept ownership for their work as worship, while developing a firm commitment to carrying it through to completion.
The best part, believe it or not, is — enlightened individuals need not sculpt the said vision ‘revelation’ by themselves. What they would need to possess is a resolute pledge to derive, inspire and expand the dreams of their people — and, empower them to convert that vision into reality. In other words, nurture and encourage others to be open, creative and innovative, and also know what it takes to achieve their shared objectives to bringing the best in them. This is not so much about things to do, but actually a state of being.
Our epoch is a time of enormous change. It represents forces driving our revolution through a host of new and pressing realities of transformation. You get the point. Being able to change and keep pace in a rapidly altering world, therefore, holds the key to our success, provided we are the change agents keyed to capitalise on our greatest gift — talent, zeal and the power to transform.