Debbie Nicol is the Managing Director of ‘business en motion’ and the Creator and Author of ‘embers of the world’ change concept. She is a 25-year HR professional. She has provided consulting services internationally since 2006 when she founded ‘business en motion’ in Dubai. She has many areas of expertise, some of which include organization development , change management, strategy and implementation, strategic think tanks, and executive coaching.
When contemplating what it takes to make sure leadership is truly done right the first exploratory question to be asked may be ‘right for what’? The reply that automatically flows for me is: right for facilitating service to all equally in a changing world.
What Does the Changing World Really Want?
The changing world cherishes alignment and cohesiveness. Just as a healthy backbone holds us up effortlessly, gifts us with free-flowing movement and allows us to hold ourselves high, so too does aligned activity to a purpose. When it is absolutely clear that a personal or business activity will contribute in a connected way, serving to add value to all, success will flow.
In a recent executive think-tank session with a group of government employees from Africa, I was asked this question: When does adaptability become compromise? I reflected for some time before I replied. As my perspective took shape, through the lens of the ‘embers’ model of leadership, my reply, as always, was another question: When our actions result in a move away from purpose or a vision of greater good, what can happen?
In essence, the message was about when our actions move away from the purpose or vision of greater good, and misalignment occurs, making us compromise our personal and organizational values, it’s no longer an issue of being adaptable. It becomes a compromise that’s not worth making. The group co-created the difference between adaptability and compromise to be defined by the impact upon the level of service to a purpose that an action has.
Successfully aligning values, goals and objectives may be a desired outcome, bringing fresh insight into where we can be doing things differently. With those further insights, greater collaboration might occur and more accurate fine-tuning of solutions and next steps can be identified.
How often are we checking alignment in our self leadership with desired outcomes? Self-serving activity breaks away from responsibility allowing disconnected behavior. This serves the archaic entitlement mind-set, which simply no longer works in the changing world.
The Changing World Rewards New Outcomes
Many evolved leaders are ushering in a new ‘norm’, behaving with authenticity and clearly positive intentions, ensuring that trust develops between all parties. Openness facilitates ease of choice and decision-making, aligned with vision and values, silently and effectively guiding choice, simply as an accepted way of doing business. It allows leaders to help others understand respectfully when decisions are made that may not match expectations, guiding them through the process and understanding, even rewarding, vulnerability. Arrogance is replaced with straightforwardness, in the spirit of collaboration.
The changing world recognizes that some decisions simply can’t be made on analysis alone, and welcomes intuitive hunches as valuable inputs. With this connectedness, serving all equally and unity are natural bi-products.
The Changing World Encourages Use of a New Skillset
The world has moved away from reactive leadership, and rewards reflection and connection practices, which bring calm, precision and a level of confidence that don’t exist with old, reactive leadership models. Reflection allows what needs to appear to appear, at the time that will serve best. When reflection paves the way for deep connection, carving away layers of excuses, the answers arrive, the resources appear, the innovative idea reveals its power and the way forward is evident. Appropriate choices flow automatically and outcomes meet the true objectives set forth for the betterment of the organization and its people.
At the core of this leadership shift is reinforcement of authenticity, trust, and intuitive environments, as enablers of alternative, more sustainable outcomes that can positively impact organizational structures, processes and procedures, allowing companies to flourish.
My leadership philosophy has developed over the past 20-plus years as an HR professional, entrepreneur and business owner. I started my business after years of frustration watching disconnected organizational leadership attempting to effect change without reflecting on lessons from the past or even a vision for how the change should be implemented and how it would serve the greater good. My book, Corporate Embers came about after I watched the flood waters of the 2004 tsunami wash away the entire resort I was staying in, all except for my own bungalow. It was a wake-up call, similar to the one corporations around the world are hearing… but will they heed it?
Through my professional, educational and volunteer work, it is my mission to reach as many evolved leaders as I can to spread the message that corporations of the future can serve all equally and still prosper both financially and ethically, adapting to new norms while not compromising on core values.