Limits of the mind and how to work with others

“One day you’ll find out that you but play with words, and though you think you simplify the world, you but shroud truth in small complexities” – Joan Grant

I have been having a dilemma lately with one of the projects I am pursuing. The project has been a major collaboration between a number of parties over the last couple of years. We have been progressing quite well, and despite the divergent views and interests of those involved, we have been able to put our differences aside to focus on what collectively unites us.

Then entered a new partner, who rather than focuses on what is working well within the collaboration, he seems to focus on what is not working. His intellect is extraordinary and his ability to question almost anything is very strong. On the upside, his divergent views could help us to move into a better understanding of where we need to go. Questioning is incredibly valuable and it is important for us to continually seek out greater insight to our motivations and what we want to achieve. Questioning, doubt and negativity though totally rubs me up the wrong way.

I have worked with this individual before, and it is the same story every time. From my experience, seeking to understand truth by dissecting knowledge and information does not get you closer to truth. Seeking to make oneself right by making others wrong also does not lead one closer to a higher viewpoint. Not only does it constrain thinking, it is not effective in building relationships with others. And dominating conversation by shutting others down also gets under my skin.

While others have perhaps not been triggered to the same level as I have, Read more

Can ethics or leadership be done alone?

Can ethics or leadership be done alone? I have thought a lot about this notion in the western world of the individual leader. As a CEO I struggled with the expectation that I needed to be ‘accomplished’ or effective at all aspects of the business. Of course, I had some people tell me that this was not so, yet the social consciousness places so much significance on the individual leader.

Leading an organisation takes a lot of skills. There are the domains of finance, operations, administration, strategy and governance. Then there are the meta-skill areas of emotional intelligence, discernment, decision making and consultation (amongst many more). The idea of one person being accomplished at all of these domains and possessing all of these skills is ludicrous, yet that is often what is expected.

Ethical leadership and ethical decision-making is another core skill of leadership, and equally it should not be assumed that one leader is accomplished at this. In my experience as a CEO, whenever we faced an ethical dilemma within our organisation or program the outcome would have been significantly jeopardized if I did not collaborate with others. I most often defaulted to collaboration rather consultation, because I believe it requires a whole lot more than simply seeking the opinions of others. On one occasion I recall consulting and making a decision, and reflected later that the decision would have been enhanced if we made the decision together.

Consultation and collaboration is challenging though. Read more