Winston Churchill famously said:

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

This time of change is bringing us many ‘barking dogs’. And if we pay attention to them all they will distract us from our goals.

Inner Leadership contains several tools that keep us focused and on track:

The word ‘destiny’ can mean different things to different people, so it is important to be clear about the meaning we are using here, as part of our journey towards becoming antifragile.

Like the word ‘destination’, the word ‘destiny’ looks to the future, to the place that we are heading. But its meaning has changed over the years.

It started from the Latin word destinare, which meant “to make firm or establish.” This gives us one meaning of the word ‘destiny’: as something that is fixed, established, and unchangeable.

But just because we set out to travel to a…

When I was still fairly fresh out of business school I was asked to prepare a strategic business plan for a half billion dollar pan-European technology company.

The industry was undergoing a huge amount of change. Technologies changing rapidly and so were customers’ needs and priorities. So it seemed to make sense to apply the well-known ‘SWOT’ analysis tool we had been taught on the MBA: to identify the Strengths and Weaknesses of the business and compare them against the emerging Opportunities and Threats in the marketplace.

The trouble was, the model just didn’t make sense — or rather, it…

The brains of our ancestors evolved to notice change because change might mean one of three things: food, sex, or death.

When so much of our world is changing, all at once, this means it is hardly surprising if our change-noticing brains sometimes get a little overwhelmed.

One response might be to ignore some of the information coming at us. But this is risky: when everything is changing, something that didn’t matter yesterday might easily become important tomorrow.

So if we want to use change to become stronger we can’t just ignore things, we need to be able to make…

Whenever we travel by plane, every pre-flight safety check tells us exactly the same thing: “In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down from above your head…”

“Put on your own oxygen mask, secure it, and breathe normally before helping others with theirs.”

In these times of change we will become most effective at achieving the results we want if we remember to ‘put on our own oxygen mask’ first.

This has three parts:

We are living through a time of extraordinary change. And like the exponential growth of a virus, the pace of that change is accelerating.

Each change on its own is unpredictable. But the changes are also interconnected: a change in our technology affects our economies, which affects society, which affects our politics, and also our environment, which changes the technologies we need, and so on.

If we want to live well through this time of change we can’t just do more of what worked in the past. …

We are living through a time of change. And every change that happens to us brings a psychological or emotional impact, whether we’re aware of it or not.

These psychological or emotional impacts are called transitions.

Changes happen in the outer world. They are about starting or finishing a project, a role, or a relationship.
Transitions happen in our inner world: they are about the impacts these changes have on our identity.

Changes involve places, things, events, transactions, and hierarchies.
Transitions are about meanings, relationships, and stories.

Changes are visible, tangible.
Transitions are invisible, intangible.

Changes can happen quickly, one…

If you want to succeed in a time of change you need to convince people (including yourself) to try doing new things in new ways.

The best way of doing that is by inspiring them.

Because as Steve Jobs put it:

“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”

That was true when the world was stable.

And there are at least three reasons why it is even more true now:

Achieving our goals in a churning world requires a very different set of skills from achieving the same outcomes in a stable environment.

What are those skills and how can we acquire them?

One way to find out is through ‘benchmarking’. This means looking for organisations that are already experts at doing what we want to do and then copying or adapting their approach.

So, what organisations are already best practice at achieving specific, measurable goals in highly unpredictable situations?

I can’t think of a better example than elite army units. Special forces operating behind enemy lines know how to…

At the core of becoming antifragile is our ability to take decisions when facts are scarce and when the outcome is difficult to predict.

Our key to unlocking this ability is a powerful idea that runs invisibly through almost every aspect of our culture. It is the hidden pattern gave Shakespeare’s Hamlet his most famous line, “To be, or not to be.” It shapes the defining mantra of the world’s most powerful nation: “You can become anything you want to.” …

Finn Jackson

Oxford physicist, Computer simulator, Strategy consultant, Corporate strategist/change agent, Management Author. Strategy and leadership in times of change.

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