2019 and Leadership

full-moon-pixabay-no-attribToday, Friday 21st December, finds us at the Winter Solstice. Depending on your culture and beliefs, that signifies major change as we symbolically move away from darkness towards light.

This year, as an added bonus we will have a full moon and a meteor shower, both equally symbolic. You’d think there was something going on………

When we arrive at the next seasonal event, the Spring Equinox on 20th March, we will have just over a week to go before BREXIT, if we find ourselves still going down that road, happens. Equinox are often associated with breakdowns in communication……

Whatever happens, we can be reasonably confident 2019 will present us with opportunities and challenges in a myriad different ways, and we can be equally confident that no system, process or “initiative” will present us with solutions.

It will be time for genuine leadership – grounded in a clear sense of purpose, an exquisite understanding of our market environment, people working with us who share our purpose, understand what is required of them, and who have the permission and confidence to act. It will not be business as normal. It’s way too late for normal.

It is a time for smaller, faster, agile businesses who can act, and who are not tied down by systems and processes designed for the pre Brexit economy.

For those of us committed to the sense of purpose, pleasure and autonomy a great medium sized business offers, it is a great opportunity.

We do not have to operate in the undifferentiated  “soggy middle” of the distribution curve, we can target the niches, the outliers, where “minimum viable markets” that large companies find it difficult to operate can offer us growth, returns and fulfilment.

It is not without risk – but if you run an SME, you already know that.

During the first quarter of 2019 I will be focusing heavily on what this type of leadership involves and requires of us, and will be working with some of the most innovative, exciting and best respected thinkers in the leadership development space.

I’ll post more here, and on LinkedIn in January. If however you want to know more before that, mail me at richard@richardmerrick.co.uk

In the meantime, enjoy the Solstice, have a wonderful Christmas break, and look forward to 2019.

The complication of crowds

Flickr_-_moses_namkung_-_The_Crowd_For_DMB_1Having taken a year off from social media, I’m finding that coming back requires discipline.

I’m rebuilding my network from the ground up, and want it to work for those I’m connected to as much as for me. If I don’t make time to follow them, or respond to their posts, we’re wasting a relationship.

I’ve never been a fan of big crowds or parties, and the most noticeable thing for me in reconnecting has been the flood of unwanted information and intrusion. I’m sure the algorithm is very effective at finding people for advertisers they want to target, but rather less so at working the other way round. I know it’s how the business model works, and I value the opportunity the platform offers. It would just be good to be able to go to another room when these noisy people arrive.

So, I’ve decided to follow three guidelines:

  1. To observe Jim Rohn’s rule (supported by recent finding in neuroscience) that we become the average of the five people we most associate with.
  2. To note Robin Dunbar’s work regarding size of effective groups. Five (again!) as a Leadership Group, 50 as a working unit, and 150 as the number of relationships we can sustain effectively. Not contacts; relationships.
  3. To respect and pay attention to the work of those I’m connected to. Not just to be a name on a list.

2019 promises to be complicated, and the best way to respond to complexity is clarity, focus, and purpose.

Time in the Digital Desert

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“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving

Terry Pratchett, “A Hatful of Sky”

It’s been over a year since my last post. in which I talked about digital dieting.

I decided it wasn’t enough, so I took it one step further, and decided to not just diet, but Fast.

I came off all social media. All of it.

I restricted myself to email, and that in only limited amounts.

I wanted to see what would happen.

At first, it was weird. I found it hard to use the time freed up time productively. It was as though I knew I should be doing something, but not sure what.

Then, it changed.

I have aways been an avid reader and researcher, as well as a connector. I was able to do more, and not only more, but different and challenging. Meeting people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, who introduced me to topics and ideas I otherwise would not have come across.

The end result has been both joyous and cleansing. Leaving some things behind, makes room for new things, and new things stimulate new ideas and ways of seeing.

In times of rapid change, we like to hold on to the familiar, even when we know, really, it no longer serves us, or those we serve.

For my own part, it has moved me from being surrounded by others ideas of “retirement” (I am that sort of age) to the energy of “Re-attirement” (Thanks Michael B!), a commitment to wearing a new attitude and mindset that defines the next stage of my adventure.

I think for all of us, particularly at those points when we may feel “stuck” or heavy under the weight of the expectation of others, time away is invaluable.

It’s good to be back, although it’s a different me, with a different plan, ready to go in 2019.