Action versus Movement
When we know what the problem is and we know what the solution is, it is easy to see our way forward: we plan a series of actions, events and programmes to get the system we work in back in shape. Sometimes we do not know where the solution lies, and the terrain ahead of us may be uncertain, fast changing and unpredictable. In those situations, a programme of actions often doesn’t help. We need to seek a new what - e.g a new strategic approach, a fundamentally different business model, a new purpose - via a radically different how we go forward. What’s being asked of us as leaders then, is not busy acting, but what we have come to call still moving leadership: leading change through a few targeted interventions that are system changing, go to the source of today’s routines and are led with your people, in a mindful and intentional way.
being before doing
The research we did with more than 80 leaders across multiple sectors and around the globe was unequivocally clear: when you attend to how you are as a leader, what you do as a leader is much, much more effective. So much so, that not attending to your inner capacities actually has a negative effect on how well you lead change, even when you are very skilled at critical change leadership practices.
Doing balances disruption and stability
What our research also confirmed is that doing change well means balancing disruption and stability. Being truthful without bullying, and surfacing existing behavioural patterns, are practices that can bring urgency to the change you are leading. Creating a pull towards purpose and channelling disturbance and anxiety so they do not spill, create boundaries so the disturbance you stir up can become creative and generate the results you are looking for.
Now is the time for emergence
An emergent approach to change is the most effective way to address the challenges of today’s uncertain, volatile and complex environment. Our new research is even more clear about that than in the first round eight years ago. Emergent change has a clear intention and direction, a limited set of hard rules, and self-organization within those rules. Rapid cycle step-by-step trials, experiments and prototypes produce client centric fast learning around ripe issues. Dialogue skills that enable true in-the-moment connection help networks of leaders to surface patterns of thinking, and either amplify or disturb these, so new behaviours can start to grow. And emergent change leaders tune into the periphery to see where new changes start to pop up.
Still Moving Leadership - there is research behind it
In today’s uncertain, volatile and ambiguous environment, leading change in action mode, with insufficient attention to your being, and via directive and pre-planned routes is often ineffective. Our research showed that attending to your inner capacities and external practices, balancing disruption and stability well, together made up for more than 50% of the difference between success and failure. That’s why we gave this way of leading a new name, Still Moving leadership. And, it works.
"Emergence is what happens in today's uncertain world"