My latest addition to in the Economic & Commercial section of changeisanopportunity.info is around leadership and the role of learning. I’ve been musing on tolerance of ambiguity a lot – not least because when I mention the fundamental nature of this as a leadership characteristic in my foresight sessions and workshops with clients, it resonates really well with senior teams. And yet, there seems to be very little published on it.
I was first introduced to the concept by friends at Futureworld from where I found this paper. And a few years ago I started to think about the issues of mindfulness, spirituality, aesthetic judgement and creativity not from an academic perspective but from the practical. It seemed to me that none of this was possible without the concept of a learning mindset (the ability to recognise that what we know is by no means all we need to know as well as the possibility of change) and behind that curiosity. So I was fascinated to see that a recent post and survey has recognised exactly that.
The post makes reference to how difficult it is for conventional leaders to be curious and I would echo that – in my many foresight sessions, many of the leadership teams I’ve worked with want to go straight to the ‘so what’ and even more so the ‘now what’ – the action arising. Without really showing any curiosity as to what lies behind a multitude of megatrends.
Nor do I believe that the sole reason for being curious and open minded lies only in the ability to be innovative and have new ideas. I think there is an equal and potentially opposite need to be curious for risk management purposes. After all, without curiosity to seek out what new competitors or new technologies have to offer, and the humility to expect disruption, how will organisations spot the issue until it is too late?