Leadership is not a static art but a dynamic and skilful process that has to evolve with time, circumstance, and the continuous shift in societal and organisational needs. The concept of “What got you here won’t get you there” captures a fundamental truth about leadership development: the skills, attitudes, and behaviours that propel an individual to a current level of success may not suffice to advance further. This concept is particularly relevant in the sphere of leadership, where continual growth and adaptability are not just beneficial but necessary.
Remember: the skills of yesteryear will not always suffice in the future
The Imperative of Change in Leadership
‘It is not the fittest of the species that survive, it is the ones most adaptable to change’ Charles Darwin
In the journey of leadership, change is the only constant. As environments shift, what was once a solution can quickly become outdated, making yesterday’s best practices insufficient for tomorrow’s challenges. Leaders who cling to the tools and techniques that earned them their current positions may find themselves ill-equipped to scale new heights of success or, more critically, to lead their organisations into the future.
This realisation is a bugle call for self-reflection and a prompt to embrace personal and professional development relentlessly. Leaders must actively question their assumptions and biases, challenge their habits, and willingly adapt their behaviour.
The introspection that drives a leader to ask, “Is the path that brought me here the same one that will lead me forward?” is the beginning of Conscious Leadership.
Conscious Leadership: A New Era
Conscious Leadership is an awakening to the impact of one’s actions and decisions, not just on the immediate environment but also on the broader culture of the organisation and society. It is about being aware of your leadership voice and the ripples it creates.
This form of leadership requires a deep understanding of human behaviour, recognising the status quo’s comfort, and the courage to disrupt it for better outcomes.
A conscious leader knows that to navigate the maze of modern-day leadership, they must grow beyond the competencies that have previously defined their success. It is about questioning the habitual pathways and having the courage to forge new ones. Leadership is not merely about leading others but leading yourself through a process of continuous learning, implementation and adaptation.
The Transition: Unlearning to Relearn
“What got me here won’t get me there” signifies a process of unlearning to relearn. Leaders must often let go of past triumphs and the behaviours that underpinned them to make way for new strategies and modes of thinking. This might involve deconstructing years of experience to rebuild a leadership approach that is fit for the future. It’s about acknowledging that the skills that once solved problems may now be the very things holding back progress.
Remember: Have you 20 years’ experience or one years experience repeated 20 times?
The transition to this new phase of leadership is characterised by a willingness to experiment and an openness to failure.
A leader who embraces this concept accepts that the path forward may not be a straight line but a series of trials, errors, and corrections. This resilience becomes the crucible in which the future-fit leader is forged.
Leading with Flexibility and Vision
In today’s rapidly evolving world, leaders need to pivot with agility while maintaining a clear vision for the future. The principles of conscious leadership champion flexibility, encouraging leaders to adapt their styles to suit different situations and people. As leaders climb higher, they face increasingly complex challenges that demand innovative thinking and a departure from traditional paradigms.
The future demands leaders who are not only adept at managing the present but who can also anticipate and shape the future. This level of foresight is only possible through a continuous process of self-improvement and reinvention—a commitment to doing things differently to achieve different, and preferably better, outcomes.
Conclusion: The Journey Continues
The journey of leadership is perpetual, marked by continuous learning and the humble recognition that the tools for yesterday’s triumphs are the foundation, not the final structure, of future success. Embracing the “What got me here won’t get me there” philosophy is to accept the perpetual motion of leadership growth. It is an invitation to a more conscious, reflective, and adaptive leadership style that not only asks more from the leader but also promises greater rewards in the growth of self, the prosperity of organisations, and the advancement of society as a whole.
Leaders who understand this concept and the context of the 21stC we live in will be the ones who thrive in the uncertain, complex, and exhilarating future we have before us.
They will be the leaders who do not just rise to their positions but elevate those around them through a leadership approach that is as conscious and deliberate as it is courageous and innovative.
Remember: Change is the main constant
‘It is not the fittest of the species that survive; it is the ones most adaptable to change’ Charles Darwin
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