Disruptive leadership

Leadership New Zealand, AUT Business  and other leading contributors sponsored a powerful event in the week spotlighting leadership in New Zealand.

From young achievers to seasoned elders, the lessons were profound and timeless. Among those who impressed were:

  • a youthful and explosive Alanna Krause (http://www.enspiral.com/  and https://www.loomio.org/)
  • a young and energetic Barnaby Marshall
  • the renegade capital generater and business architect  (my description) Tex Edwards.
    (Am I the only person who bought a Two Degrees product and service just to support the ‘cause’ and does that make me weird or merely human?)

The lessons kept coming, peppered with powerful one-liners and quotations. We were reminded that:

  • Logical thought applies well to things that cannot be other than what they are
  • ROIC must be greater than WACC
  • Everyone lives on Google avenue – the only difference is the size of your house
  • Loomio can be used to sew the society back up once Twitter has instigated the riot

We saw the power of by lines to change thinking:  “How to destroy 500 000 years’ work……….Ignore it”.  The semantics of forest custodians who spoke of the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ reminded us that leaders stir emotion.

Reference to Buckminster Fuller kept me firmly engaged (as his book Critical Path shaped my thinking about business, nature and the world making me rather painful to work with, no doubt! His words conveyed his drive to adjust our thinking……..such as Ephemeralisation – ‘doing more with less’ –  how technology would enable us to do everything with nothing, resulting in ever-increasing standards of living despite modern challenges.)

I felt blessed to be seated at the Sir Peter Blake table. He shall remain in my mind among the best of New Zealand leaders – a giant by any global leadership measure. I reflected on how many people he touched during his all-too-short, yet action-packed and adventurous, life. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”  Lao Tzu. ( As I nervously watch Team New Zealand race Luna Rosa in the Louis Vuitton Cup – it now looks extremely dangerous – I recall the ’95 and 2000 excitement disrupting a city………. a nation.)

We debated (among other ideas) autonomy and collaboration. One contributor, John McCarthy from Lifewise, showed how one person can change many lives. His story also validated the importance of sharing ideas with other leaders and teams who are discovering daily what works best.

We want people to apply what is known, not just what they know (Robert Kaufman).  For that to happen, people need to stay connected, with curious minds and hungry hearts. Imagine where we could be as a species if:

  • every lesson only needs to be learned once
  • we collectively commit not to ignore the lessons others have learnt
  • we collectively commit to keep improving what we encounter

Years ago ‘Blakey’ spoke of the team’s commitment to chase one second of speed each time they went sailing. Not a huge ask, yet the cumulative effect over time is that you forever change a city, then a nation, then a species.

The final words belong to Lao Tzu:
“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”
(Those may be the only words that will shut me up!)

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About Cherri Holland

Fascinated with business, brains and how to use the brains on the payroll to make business buzz.
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