Now is a time for dangerous conversations.
We’re used to and well practised in the other sort, where we think we’re being adventurous and pushing boundaries, even though we know there is a very clear boundary. We mustn’t upset the client, the boss, or those around us, even though we know the status quo needs challenging in our hearts. As professionals skilled at what we do, the danger is we stay quiet. But, equally, the client, boss, peer group knows what needs challenging as well as we do.
We reach a fork in the road. Down one fork lies safe, survival, and good enough leading to safe progress and a reliable career. Down the other lies what we see and believe is in the best interests of the client or our own company at the risk of blowing up our career, such as it is. It is a matter of integrity. We can either look good or feel good.
It’s no small matter. Mortgages, education loans, local standing, promotion – all are powerful reasons to go down the “look good” route and keep the danger at bay. The challenge with the current danger, though, is that it is multi-exponential. Back in the 1960’s when the term VUCA was coined, it seemed radical at the time. Now we have to add another E – exponential.
Climate change is exponential, biodiversity loss and inequality are exponential. The thing with exponential is that by the time we feel the effect of what is happening, it’s too late to stop it.
Climate is going to be a big deal, so is biodiversity, and so is inequality. Those politicians who say, with their best smiles, that technology will sort it know this too and hope to be somewhere else when their lack of integrity shows up.
If we want to be good ancestors and our children and grandchildren to look back with respect, we need to embrace dangerous conversations.