In the last quarter of 2019, we started an article series referencing black swan events. In the first half of this year, we followed this up with two more articles. In “A Bevy of Black Swans” (Pre-Covid) we came to the conclusions that:
1. The world has seen the advance of a bevy of black swans. They no longer occur as rare events spaced over time, but cluster together over much shorter time frames;
2. They lead to a series of mostly unplanned systemic consequences;
3. The interdependencies of which also play out over different time frames, some immediate, some potentially only over the longer term;
4. Which places extraordinary demands on the capabilities of leadership at all levels of the enterprise, but also in all spheres of life.
In “Dealing with Black Swans” written in the first quarter of 2020, we concluded that there will be a great deal of emotional, physical and financial pain in the immediate future. A crisis of this scale will never be truly resolved until many of the fundamentals of our social and economic life have been remade. There is also the need, more than ever, for business leaders to recognise the crucial interdependencies between business and its environmental, social, and governance context.
A Bevy of Black Swans
Although it has probably been said often through the ages of humanity, we do indeed live in challenging times. The third decade of the 21st Century does bring with it both extraordinary challenges, and we suspect for some quite significant opportunities. In engagements with clients, partners and associates over the past few years, and the more recent past few months, we have increasingly become aware of the enormity of the demands being placed specifically on leadership.
Facing my own Black Swans
It is so easy to intellectualise the challenges facing leaders at all levels and within all spheres of society. Barely a day goes by where one is not inundated with offerings of books, programs, research findings and the like to explain what might be happening, and in many cases offering solutions for this interlude before things “return to normal”. But what if things will never be like before? What I there is not a return to “normal”, but we are faced with a simple reality that we have to create the “new” normal? Is this not the essential leadership challenge facing humanity
Where do Black Swans come from
An obvious question to pose, is whether or not there is an interdependence, if not cause and effect, between leadership behaviour of the past and the advent of black swan events? In this article, we will explore the possibility that the choices and decisions of leaders may have contributed to the reality that a single viral outbreak can so rapidly have such a devastating economic and social impact at a global level.
The Recovery from Black Swans: Philosophy, Principles and Practices
In this article the philosophy, principles and practices required to craft the new normal is explored. Some examples of actions implemented by client systems are shared, as well as some practical guidelines for a way forward.