The limitless leader

By Heather Gibson, Managing Director, Pendulum Partnership

The great opportunity in disruptive change is new leadership; welcome to the limitless leader

Sitting just above the palpable imperative for new business models is a similar and rather pressing urgency for new leadership. For it in the representation of a leader that the real magic happens to a business in this disrupted age, and this is because the reality of delivering outcomes has so vastly altered. Financial gains are secondary. It is the most agile, nimble and responsive thinking to influence repeated, transformational change where winners are made in the new rules of the game.  High energy, relentless momentum and transparent communication that is unfettered by anything remotely resembling a status quo force. This is the very definition of a limitless leader and that something different many are seeking. A limitless leader occupies a space in business where they are able to keep their eyes just above what is visible to constantly seek, and believe, that it is possible to create opportunities regardless of circumstance or threat and enable incremental change to achieve these goals.  A limitless leader knows how to make the impossible, possible; and they are comfortable with zero certainty, their own values and how their unique experiences can provide the sought-after lens to influence any scenario.

Leaders, particularly those with a helicopter view of a business, understand this seemingly inexorable contradiction, but are often inhibited from major changes to accepted wisdom and course trajectory due to status quo pull back.

Becoming limitless is a huge paradigm shift and the reason for this is because the growth of business enterprise is now centred upon individuality. In other words, leadership must become about respecting individual thinking to create collaborative solutions; opening up lines of communication and human engagement that have been squashed over decades of an entirely different, collective mentality. People in business have been systematised and controlled by false mantras for a long time; it is embedded into the fabric of organisational systems and processes and requires significant unlearning. Take organisational structure and organisational design as an example; many seek answers for lasting change in restructuring and realignment. However, let me put it you right now, what exactly have these delivered for you over the past five to ten years? Apart from straight cost cutting, the fact is that even massive organisational change such as this, with often huge impacts on swathes of individuals, simply does not deliver the value that is often forecast; leaders more often than not are forced into another restructure or return to the status quo operation, just with less people to do the work. This ‘big bang’ approach might look good, but it does not address the real issue and it’s costing you a lot more financially than is often appreciated at the time.

Where you are in control of a new mantras that allows you to make change happen in a meaningful and lasting way; able to withstand setbacks and allow for changes in tactics as you move through the intricate maze.

Leaders, particularly those with a helicopter view of a business, understand this seemingly inexorable contradiction, but are often inhibited from major changes to accepted wisdom and course trajectory due to status quo pull back. Whilst financial pressure is a very real concern, the cold hard facts are that we are now in an era of fight or flight. There is no hiding from change; and the real underbelly here is the speed of external changes which are not predictable or have short-term reaction times. Unfortunately, if this is not addressed within the leadership of a business, then long-term survival is not an option; the way in which work and enterprise is undertaken is changing too rapidly.  These all add up and present mounting pressure for leaders forging transformational change in their organisations. It is for these very reasons that leaders must be willing to buck the status quo, with a major caveat of increased personal exposure, that is going to feel threatening and uncomfortable.  However, right there is the zone leaders must strive towards in order to become limitless; to be able to deal with elephants in the room and act accordingly.

Oh, I know. You have already understood the essence of this argument and can conceptually acknowledge these instincts exist inside of you. However, whilst you understand something is not quite right here, the mental conditioning of the old world is still entrenched, as is the materiality of all it provides. Maybe you have seen others try and fail in their attempts to challenge status quo thinking even when it was stated that ‘real’ change was desired. However, let me place this thought firmly in your mind: the financial reality is that there might be an even bigger step back to go forward and, rather than throwing boardrooms into a tail spin, let’s just get real. So what? Especially given the alternative. The problem is, you don’t’ know what the problem is, and the status quo is eroding even as we speak. It is time to let go of this intrinsic view of financial security and get comfortable being uncomfortable; survival lies in sustainability and the holistic view has got to be the focus.

Let me paint another vision for you; one that I know works, that will make you and your teams happier and lead to the outcomes you need right now. Invention, collaboration and creativity – this is what leaders have got to deliver. It all starts with leadership and the beautiful truth here is that you, right now, are already limitless. Here and now you can effect amazing change and see the walls of resistance fall away, simply by learning to train your mind to articulate your individual perspective on the journey of change and make it happen.  It lies with self-acceptance and self-compassion as the base of your game-face everyday; this will allow you to let go of false mantras and status quo rules to ensure that how you are thinking and acting matches the internal logic and emotion of your own mind. Where you are in control of a new mantras that allows you to make change happen in a meaningful and lasting way; able to withstand setbacks and allow for changes in tactics as you move through the intricate maze. You see with seeing eyes and, as a result, are able to break down the levers for real change that will help to accelerate growth and, more importantly, sustainability.  The delivery of outcomes lies in relentless communication, engagement, connection and transparency; all of which comes from your heart. You see the world from a place of love and gratitude. You understand your unique experiences and how they have impacted your value system; you make no apologies and no excuses for who you are; and you are empowered by your vision for change and why it needs to happen. Diversity lives here; and you are totally comfortable with differentiation and nuance, as opposed to process management and categorisation.

Invents, connects and inspired through their individuality. The limitless leader makes lasting change happen incrementally, reliant upon their values, learning and individual experiences. 

The limitless leader is brutal in their ability to see what needs to be seen and make progress without fear of change.

The limitless leader is you. Here and you, you are limitless. And you can.

Limitless is the place of ultimate freedom. It’s similar to the euphoria of new entrepreneurs free to make their dreams come alive; unfettered by old world rules, able to visualise and realise ideas and dreams into reality. Becoming limitless involves unlearning; as depicted beautifully by Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back: “Everything you have learned, you must unlearn”.  Similar to Jedi training, the process of unlearning is brutal. Think: articulating very clearly your core values, life experiences, major setbacks and passions. A process of growth where you will learn to not only appreciate all of these facets of you but ensure that they become part of your leadership through the application of a limitless mindset. To ensure that your actions are broken down into small steps whilst remaining focused on a huge, inspirational vision that is able to break through walls which currently limit growth and sustainability. Note well: one of the biggest barriers to organisational change is your current capability; this requires deep consideration of the long-term strategy to change skills and knowledge within a business, and it must go beyond accepted wisdom. Think different limitless leaders; and think for yourself. Deal with elephants in the room.

The best part of this opportunity in change is that you have everything you need to go on the journey to become limitless right now. This wave of life on Earth is about allowing individual emotions and instincts become part and parcel of leadership; it is about new language, new thinking and a new mindset that will enable a leader to see a path and be unstoppable in reaching their goal.  Dream, think and do – the future is you. Welcome to the limitless leader and that something different you are seeking.  Here and now, you can.