Interconnected Leadership – what is it, and why is it time?

Most leadership today is rooted in a rationalistic mind, ego-based hierarchical power and individualism. And the time to tranform from this is now.

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Michael Bartura
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Almost ten years ago to the day, a 9.0 on the Richter scale earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan triggered such a massive tsunami that it impacted coastlines across three continents. A 15-metre tsunami wave disabled the power supply necessary to cool the reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station and triggered the second-ever accident in history to merit the grade of a level 7 event (to put this in perspective, the first level 7 event was the Chernobyl disaster). 

In a little-known case of brilliant leadership, Naohiro Masuda — then a superintendent of a second Fukushima plant called Fukushima Daini (just 12 km south and built to the same specs and procedures) — orchestrated and executed the essence of best practice response for such an occasion, and indeed, for our times. Through a consultative process with all levels and roles in the station, inspiring his workers to innovate, with never planned or practised emergency procedures, then furthermore work 20 hours a day, Masuda and his team managed to successfully cool and shut down the station's reactors.  

This dedicated team was guided by a leadership comfortable with uncertainty, capable of engaging all involved, committed to the greater good, and — right at the core of it — understood that leadership is about full inclusion: ideas, actions, results and rewards. Masuda's actions at Fukushima Daini might be an extreme example of how useful and able such a leadership mindset is, but its benefits are clearly appropriate for our current times and challenges. 

Most leadership today is rooted in a rationalistic mind, ego-based hierarchical power and individualism. We need to move from this, taking a transformational journey to the intelligence that emerges through collaborative exploration of uncertainty and collective efforts in intuitive creativity. This remerging group-intelligence-based style of interconnected leadership is not just a good idea — it might be our only way forward when the stakes against a reasonable future are (boiling) high. 

If you thought that the loss of our manicured control over our lives by the current pandemic was bad, consider it a minor dress rehearsal for the kind of challenges runaway climate change, outdated economic models, and wayward geo-politics are hurtling our way.

Small Giants Academy's new 'Interconnected Leader' Deep Dive aims to explore this desired shift into an interconnected leader's mindset and experience. At its core, interconnected leadership is not about new content. Rather, it is the move from a process of digesting information for the purpose of making better decisions into listening, shaping and applying an inclusive, continuously alive, and adaptable narrative integrated as self-reflection as well as social interaction. Its main premise is trust, knowing that in all of us — 'us' being the focal point here — there is the innate capacity for a greater intelligence. This capacity naturally emerges when we get our egoic minds in check and our awakened minds empowered.

Throughout the program, we look to create a group shift from the individual experience to the collective intelligence of interconnected leadership. We seek a source of wisdom that combines inner and outer intelligence, and we explore reconnecting people with the practice of trusting their bodies and minds as they relate to others. This non-directive methodology facilitates a conversation which should feel natural — like coming home — and give birth to exploring solutions that consider high regard to each other and nature. In essence, this is a group intelligence — our natural place of resting. 

Four aspects underpin our conversation throughout the program: it holds a gentle balance between the feminine and masculine traits, the pulse between birth and death, the continuum between self and others, and the courage to slow down to serve the greater good.

Richard Feynman, the humorous Nobel prize-winning American physicist and one of the leading figures in quantum theory in the last century, has stated that "the internal machinery of life, the chemistry of the parts, is something beautiful. And it turns out that all life is interconnected with all other life." This idea might sound like a somewhat frivolous, more philosophical musing, but here, this notion is offered by the trained eye and keen mind of one of our finest scientists in recent history. 

In an era where we struggle to find leaders who are inspiring and leadership that is savvy enough to deal with the uncertainties and complexities of a runaway world, actively seeking that interconnectedness and serving its implications are core aspects of training and developing a new cohort of future-oriented leaders, and even more important, people who are comfortable in their own skins and the strength of their connections. 

Ready to join our Interconnected Leader program? Sign up here.

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