Going Slow in Times Of Uncertainty

Heather Monro, an executive coach, leadership consultant and speaker at Impact International here reflects on the higher-stage leadership that is called for in these uncertain times.

"My children are back at school. For six long months this moment has been the beacon on my horizon. But what exactly is it that I have been so longingly anticipating? A release? A return? Something entirely new? 

Something has shifted in me during these past six months. Something has been lost from my life, but whatever it was I don’t actually want it back. Don’t get me wrong. The space to think, breathe and give my attention to something other than my children is joyously replenishing, but rather than rushing headlong into productivity and a strategic business recovery plan, my intuition is guiding me in a different direction. I find myself rethinking everything – even the word ‘business’. Is that really what I want? To run a busy-ness?

Apparently, we live in ‘an age of disruption’. For me, this phrase is like a super-charged adrenaline shot that kicks my twentieth-century-educated, institutionalised brain into overdrive. It stimulates the instincts to rationally analyse, respond, fix, and bring to order. Surely, if we just think hard enough, we can solve the disruption? The world is poised on the edge of disaster! We must act ­– fast!

But, wait.

If we rush, applying the same old principles of busy-ness, won’t we just get the same old results? Or worse still, risk adding to the disaster that we have already created? As Nancy Kline so beautifully puts it: ‘Ease creates. Urgency destroys.’ We only need to look around us and see the destruction caused by this disease.

My intuition is calling me to something else. In the words of a brilliant sports psychologist I once worked with, I am being called not to try harder but to ‘try softer’.  

I am being drawn towards a slowing down, an exhaling, a pausing. I can sense something stirring, arising, emerging. Otto Scharmer calls this ‘presencing’ – the process of tuning inwardly and outwardly into what is here, of letting go and letting come, of being guided by the future that is emerging.  

To slow down when the pace of change is accelerating, to let go when uncertainty is all around, to trust in emergence and to act from a place of integrated mind, heart and will is truly courageous, higher-stage leadership.

This is the calling of our times; this is the leadership we need to nurture. And, in order to lead others, we must start with ourselves. What are these times calling for in you?"