In the ever-changing landscape of today’s world, resilient leadership is more important than ever. As leaders, we are constantly faced with decisions that can significantly impact our teams, organizations, and even our personal lives. How we navigate these decisions and embrace the inherent uncertainty can define our leadership style and ultimately determine our success.
In part one of this three-part series on resilient leadership, we’ll discuss the power of decision-making, embracing uncertainty, and the impact of ideas.
The Power of Decision Making
Oftentimes in life, we are faced with critical decisions or choice points. These instances can be stressful and challenging, but they also present opportunities for growth and learning. The key is to approach these decision points with a clear mind and an open heart. One powerful tool for decision-making is the koan by Chao Chou:
“The Ultimate Path is without difficulty; just avoid picking and choosing.”
This koan encourages us to consider what path feels most natural and leads to the least amount of suffering. If the answer doesn’t arise naturally, we can use a simple trick: Ask ourselves what would the past, present, and future versions of ourselves do. By considering these perspectives and assigning an arbitrary weight to each, we can gain clarity on the path to take.
In our journey as leaders, we will inevitably encounter new veils of illusion, or Unknown Unknowns that enter our idea space (a mathematical model for consciousness). These veils can take many forms, such as new ideas, people, or challenges. At first, they may seem insignificant, but as soon as they’re uncovered, their infinite vastness reveals itself and can completely change our perspective on life.
For instance, before the advent of the Internet, the concept of digital marketing was an Unknown in the minds of business leaders. Traditional marketing methods, such as print, radio, and television advertising, were the norm, and the idea of reaching customers through digital channels was not even a consideration. However, with the invention of the internet and the subsequent rise of social media, e-commerce, and digital content, this Unknown Unknown entered the idea space of business leaders.
At first, it may have seemed like a minor development, a new tool to be used in conjunction with traditional marketing methods. As the potential of digital marketing became clearer, its infinite vastness revealed itself. Business leaders realized that digital marketing wasn’t just another tool; it was a game-changer that could completely transform their approach to reaching and engaging with customers. It offered the ability to target specific customer segments, track and measure marketing performance in real-time, and engage with customers in a more interactive and personalized way.
This realization led to a complete shift in perspective for many business leaders. They had to rethink their marketing strategies, develop new skills and capabilities, and adapt to a rapidly changing digital landscape. This is a perfect example of how an Unknown Unknown can enter our idea space and completely change our perspective and approach. Something similar is happening today with advanced AIs, like ChatGPT.
As leaders, it’s important to be open to lifting these veils and to be forgiving to ourselves and others when mistakes are made. As Gandhi said:
“Freedom is not worth having if it doesn’t include the freedom to make mistakes.”
The Impact of Ideas
Ideas play a crucial role in shaping our leadership style and our approach to decision-making. Musical Guru Rick Rubin explains it well, “If you have an idea you’re excited about and you don’t bring it to life, it’s not uncommon for the idea to find its voice through another maker. The idea’s time has come.” This quote emphasizes the importance of nurturing our ideas and giving them the attention they deserve.
In life, it is important to state the obvious, because what may be obvious to you may not be obvious for someone else. For example, I once worked on a $10 billion cloud deal for a US government client. We had to do a benchmark test in our cloud to test our capabilities, so the team decided to do the tests in Sydney, which had the best hardware. Initially, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t they want to do it on US soil?” But, I was too new and inexperienced in a room full of technical specialists. So, I said nothing. Lo and behold, towards the end of the deal, the client specified the benchmark had to be run on US servers, so we spent a lot of time in the last minute getting the necessary hardware to the US. I believe if I had said something up front, the problem could have been avoided and we could have won the deal.
When we actively engage with our ideas and foster them, we can cultivate a mindset that allows us to grow, learn, and contribute to a more profound understanding of ourselves and the world around us. When we neglect or fail to adequately nurture our ideas, those ideas may still find a way to come to fruition, potentially through someone else.
Resilient leadership is about more than just making decisions and managing teams. It’s about navigating the complex landscape of our idea space, embracing the uncertainty that comes with it, and harnessing the power of our ideas to drive growth and change. By understanding and applying these principles, we can become more resilient leaders and make a meaningful impact in our organizations and communities.
Stay tuned for next week’s post, where we’ll delve deeper into the concept of the macro idea space and explore how our individual idea spaces interact and influence the larger collective consciousness. We’ll also discuss how this understanding can enhance our leadership skills and help us make a greater impact in our organizations and communities.
About Clement Decrop
Inventor and Belgium-born author Clement Decrop moved to the U.S. at six with his family. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Management from Penn State, Decrop worked across the globe, including France, Spain, United Emirates, and then back home in the United States. Decrop’s upcoming book, The Idea Space: The Science of Awakening Your Non-Self, delves into the depths of consciousness by introducing a distinctive solution to Einstein’s field equation to describe the mind, accessible to the layperson. In this literary journey, Decrop guides readers to view their thoughts objectively and identify their impact, helping them discover a happier existence and a deeper understanding of their life’s purpose. As a Resilient Leadership pioneer since 2018, Clement has shared his wisdom on meditation, sleep, exercise, and nutrition with thousands of eager participants in over 40 countries. His innovative spirit led him to collaborate with numerous inventors from Wikipedia’s Most Prolific Inventors List, resulting in 130+ patent disclosures within one year, 50+ filed, and 15+ issued.