Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Leadership as thinking through what is assumed, and making judgments from there

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on October 31, 2015

There is an old expression: “go with the flow” that I find myself thinking about as I start writing this posting. Going with that flow means not bucking any trends. And it means not challenging or even questioning anything that is happening, or how it happens or why. It means simply going along with the prevailing momentum and it highlights the essence of the status quo. And going with the flow is easy, as it means simply pursuing, and repeating the already “tried and true.”

Going with the flow, and simply repeating some tried and true as a sole path forward, deny the possibility of innovation and intentionally created change, and they leave you vulnerable in the face of imposed change, for whatever impact that might bring if you simply allow yourself to be “blindsided” by it. (Yes, I am probably having a bit too much fun with the music title references, as highlighted in these Wikipedia links, but I am still trying to raise some important issues here. Happy Halloween.)

Leadership can mean a great many different and distinct things. And I have probably already made my ongoing awareness of that point fairly clear by now in this blog, with its ongoing flow of postings with the word “leadership” in their titles. If a business, or a group of any sort is to be innovative and supportive of that: if it is to be in any way resilient in the face of change and its uncertainties, it has to both allow, and even actively support the breaking out of ruts, and the going against the flow and the tried and true, and the status quo. And achieving this can call for help and certainly when that flow and that tried and true are actively supported and maintained as the one way forward, through peer pressure and the justification of perhaps long-term precedent.

And this brings me to that malleable and contextually flexible, quicksilver word again: leadership. It takes vision and leadership and a willingness to commit to pursuing both, to step forward and defend a member of the team who would seek a new path or a new way forward, and who would embrace change and difference in doing so. It takes leadership and vision to objectively look for the possible positives in the new and different, and certainly when that means breaking away from a long-held path. And it takes leadership to bring a group to accept the sometimes acutely uncomfortable uncertainty of change.

Good, effective leaders do not always just automatically accept and support any and every possible change, and they should not have to. But they do listen and look with their minds open as well as their ears and eyes. And they allow for and accept the possibility of better from different. Good, and certainly great leaders are particularly attuned to when it would be better to follow a consistent path forward and a consistent approach to doing so, and when they should support change – and certainly prototype testing of a possible change. And they are open to following through with positive results from such testing, with a general roll-out and shift away from what had been their standard tried and true.

I offer this thought piece posting to my Business Strategy and Operations – 3 directory page, and see Page 1 and Page 2 of that directory for other leadership postings. I have also included related postings in HR and Personnel and its continuation page: Page 2, and at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development and its Page 2 and Page 3continuations. I am certain to add more on this general topic in postings to come, too.

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