Making Space

Week 9


This week in Creative Leadership we touch base with our three blogs to see what the creative thought leaders have to say about their practice being the best and the brightest of contemporary leadership.

In addition to reading his book Zen Habits, Leo Babauta’s current blog concerning elegance and simplicity in the days work stress the importance of making space for the things you want to do with your life. Indeed, there is no way to truly master a habit, or rule the world, without understanding that human beings only have so much attention to dedicate to things at a certain time. Leo stresses that minimal, conscious and perceptive ways to hack through the nonsense that our brain puts us through on a daily basis will hack into our ability to be focused and dedicated to our tasks and life goals. He out lines lovely approaches to simplifying desktops and lock screens by placing all candy-like objects and apps into a non-descript folder on the desktop, and gray scaling screens to get past the brains desire for new and shiny things. He goes on to simplify the systems perspectives, extolling the virtues of the Momentum add-on to keep readers focused and mindful. And, last but not least, keeping a plain old fashioned journal to keep from multitasking.

CultureSync finds us in a different direction, unpacking the virtues of Carpool Karaoke, by relating the moment to Stage 4 or 5 leadership qualities in a small moment in the car. If cultures are both enabled and limited by their leader, they argue, James Corden sets an environment in the Range Rover where, as he has said, it is there to make the guest look as good possible. He created a minimalist setting, away from the studio, staging, handlers, teleprompters, etc, and allows it to be just two people sitting listening to the guest’s music. By doing so, James as the leader deliberately set an environment for a different outcome than he could get on his set.  Obviously, CutlureSync purports that great leaders “are deliberate about the environments they set”, being that when they are not deliberate, “they default to the predecessor’s decisions or the boundaries set by the employees”. Stage 5 leadership is only in these environments where the environment is deliberate.

 Obedience is the key subject in Neil Croft’s signal boost on September 5th 2016, “Obedience is Dangerous for Organizations”. He takes a systems approach to understanding where obedience comes from, how it permeates corporate culture today, and how these students succeeded on the key notion that they were successful because they didn’t challenge the teacher. But how much obedience is a good thing and what are the risks of obedience in organizations? The catch – if you promote people for the willingness to do as they’re told, when they get to the top they won’t have any idea what to do. By outlining three places that leaders wish to avoid – catastrophe, irrelevance, bottlenecks – he lays out the understanding that working with CAUSE – a combination of vision, mission, and purpose will align leadership around their cause and encourage each level of the organization to contribute their own bit towards it with a maximum support and listening from leadership…without micromanagement.

Ultimately for me this week has been all about this systems approach to my own practice as a creative leader. I have not been a good steward of my energy and resources, half the time not being aware of how much I am multitasking and taking a spray-bullet approach to life. I didn’t see my mental health, awareness, sleep, or body as a cache to be nurtured in the pursuit of knowledge and leadership capabilities. Leo’s vantage point on small, actionable steps to make the unconscious decisions real and in the forefront of the mind is a great way to start making room for leadership growth, with CultureSync stressing the importance of this space-making for the purpose of instilling greatness in your tribe. Neils perspective was great to apply from a futures perspective. Obedience is not key – striking out is important. And now is the time to do so.