Leadership and learning are
indispensable to each other.
To learn is to obtain new knowledge and skill, which then changes the way
we think and behave, for the better. This is productive learning.
The outcome of productive learning is thinking and doing things
better to what we did before we gained the new learning.
The level of competence at an endeavour is improved though
exposure to information, taking it on board as learning and
knowledge, and then exercising that knowledge.
Learning, by implication, is going forwards, improving.
A basic premise of influential Leadership is that it is a skill –
it can be learned, and then practiced to hone it at every opportunity.
In other words, influential Leadership is the exercise of a skill-set that
is founded on a particular philosophy, set of principles,
behavioural attributes, and desired outcomes.
iLeadership skills are deployed at Leadership Moments,
which are the conditions that call us to exercise leadership;
they exist across all social domains on an ongoing basis.
This kind of process (being equipped with skills) is well-established and
embedded in many fields and disciplines, from traditional trades
to the so-called professions, from academia to sports arenas.
It is no different in leadership practices.
However, there are fundamental differences between
personal endeavours – such as becoming an exceptional
surgeon or a Nobel winning economist or
a superb mountain biker –
and being a proficient influential Leader.
Two prominent differences are spill-over effects,
both personal and social, and the depth and breadth of impact.
Being equipped is to have useful things
to do useful things with
If it is my ambition to be a peer-recognised world-leading surgeon or to be in the reckoning for an economics Nobel Prize or to pedal for gold at the Olympic Games in mountain biking, I do not awake on a fresh morning to discover I enjoy those capabilities.
No matter any inherent talent for any of these endeavours I would need to put in place all the necessary building blocks to be ‘in the game’, such as to study, learn, write exams, practice, innovate, fall, stand up, practice, compete, lose, try again, win…
So it is for influential Leadership. To be a consistent and great influential Leader, across all my domains, I need to become skilled.
To be a skillful influential Leader I must master the skills of influential Leadership!
While Karoo is in the business of equipping people with influential Leadership skills, then nurturing and mentoring them towards being skilful iLeaders, it is also more than a business.
Karoo is also helping to build better citizens, relationships, teams, businesses and South Africa.
influential Leaders look from inside out; from themselves to their horizons; they understand that whatever they do, or not, ripples outwards, and into the future. It is the typical ‘Butterfly Effect’ at work.
The spill-over effects of influential Leadership are enormous – both for individuals and society generally.
Those individuals who have enormous leverage through their positions are the ones that also have the greatest spill-over impact and thus deep responsibility to be the best influential Leaders possible.
While each person benefits from being an influential Leader, as do those who are in the ambit of their impact, it is imperative that the greater the leverage, the greater the need for influential Leadership.
Karoo’s influential Leadership Activation Program. a journey
The Core Content is based on the fundamentals of influential Leadership,
irrespective of whether the Program is for individuals, families,
teams, businesses, public sector entities or NGO’s.
What differs from one Program to another is the client context and specific need.
As each person, team, business or other entity is unique and functions in their
particular ways, so the Program is adjusted to suit such individuality.
The Program is currently being revised. Come back soon to check it out.
The cradle of influential Leadership is the individual; but, the home is the social domain where we should first encounter, develop and practice influential Leadership; from there let it ripple onward into our other domains.
We work, have jobs, create enterprises, serve the public – contributing to the economy for most of our lives. The workplace provides extraordinary leverage and spillover effects to exercise influential Leadership for profitable outcomes.
Play is what we mostly do for fun, giving back to society and fulfilling our need for meaning. Play starts at home and takes us onward through school and work until we expire. Leadership is the foundation of how and why we play.
There are many and varied parts of our lives that exist outside our home, workplace, and play-time, but they are integral to how we express our lives; holidaying, commuting and socialising. influential Leadership exists here too.
The four engineered social domains – @Home, @Work, @Play and @nywhere – are illustrative concepts for appreciating the notion of wall-to-wall iLP.
They are useful constructs that allow us to look at them as the four broad social environments where iLP plays itself out.
iLP is seamless, while traditional forms of leadership have been siloed into narrow social domains, such as business, sports, politics or the military.
There is a temptation to rank the four domains in order of importance or leverage or impact, but this has been found to be unproductive, and undermines the idea that they are simply useful analytical tools, rather than holding relative value.
Here is an example of the difficulties with inter-domain rankings. How would one compare these three situations in three different domains?
- (@Work): iLP exercised by the CEO of a large multi-national corporation has enormous leverage with consequent spill-over effects and impact, versus
- (@Home): a parent’s iLP has fundamental impact on their children that travels with them till their end; or
- (@Play or @Work): an international sports person who may influence many millions of people through their iLP.
The approach is to rank Leadership Moments, if any ranking is required, on the basis of two inter-related factors, namely.
1. The magnitude or importance of Leadership Moments, which is dictated by three impact dimensions, namely:
- Timeliness (in good time) – Immediate | Soon | Shortly | Later
- People (numbers) – Vast | Multitudes | Many | Few
- Risk (if no iLP takes place) – Huge | High | Medium | Low
In practice, the more pressing the time dimension, and the larger the number of people effected and the higher the risk if no iLP takes place, then
the greater the magnitude of the Leadership Moments; and conversely.
2. Leadership effort – referred to as ‘time-on-target’ (ToT), is the second factor that together with magnitude enables the ranking of Leadership Moments.
The greater the magnitude or importance of Leadership Moments, the more focussed and concentrated the iLeadership effort required to get it right.
The more important the Leadership Moments, the more intense would be the ToT.
Good character is not formed in a week or a month.
It is created little by little, day by day.
Protracted and patient effort is
needed to develop
Home is where one starts from.
T. S. Eliot
Our Homes are not necessarily a single place or a building; rather it is wherever our family exists – be it one or two or
many people tied by blood or bond, that share their spaces, emotions and resources; a place where people are safe together.
@Home is our first school, our initial social melting pot, our sanctuary, and maybe the place where we end our lives.
It is also where we learn the difference between words and behaviours, and the contradictions between them.
Arguably, @Home is where most of our formative behavioral learning arises; our language, culture, doctrines, beliefs, etiquettes, world views and
the practice of leadership.
@Home is where good and bad, right and wrong, opportunity and disadvantage are bred.
It is where great responsibility and accountability are placed on those who should be wiser, and smarter; on influential Leaders – such as elders and parents.
But, ILP knows no age, so it can be that children are the ones to ‘know better’, that do the right things, despite what they witness, and what elders say and do.
The first five years of a child’s life are fundamentally important. They are the foundation that shapes children’s
future health, happiness, growth, development and learning achievement at
school, in the family and community,
and in life in general.
What you are will show in what you do.
@Work is where we go, physically or mentally, to contribute towards our personal economic well-being, our partner’s and family’s, and generally of our community and country.
Similarly to @Home, @Work can be anywhere, not necessarily a specific place, or building or farm or employer or economic occupation; it is rather, the activity we do that provides economic rewards in compensation for the contributions we make.
@Work is different to a hobby, or recreation; it implies ‘making a living’, even if that is a horrible way of putting it.
(Note: Averages of very large numbers hide so many variations that they end up being blunt and unrepresentative of anything or anyone; however, they can be indicative and so have some utility.)
The average person who works (does something for economic benefits) spends about 50 years @Work for anything between eight and 12 hours a day.
For those who are fortunate, @Work may be a pleasant place with many rights and entitlements. However, for many people all over the world, being @Work is arduous, dangerous, poorly rewarded with few if any rights, and is generally unpleasant.
@Work circumstances probably make up the most influential part of social circumstances – where there are enormously influential Leadership Moments. It is here where workers, employees, managers, business owners, farmers, entrepreneurs, and ‘bosses’ have immense influence over peoples’ livelihoods, lives, well-being and quality of life.
Included here is the political arena; the people, structures and processes that are supposed to represent the will of citizens and aid in making their lives better and more meaningful. Politicians and bureaucrats should be @Work for the common good and benefit of citizens.
Arguably, iLeadership @Work is the most impactful social domain because this is where people, institutions and process have the greatest leverage to influence our world. It is probably also why so much effort and energy is expended here on leadership issues. (I could argue that @Home is most influential, but I leave that till another time.)
When a president, or a chief executive, or another with great weight makes superb leadership judgements, when iLeadership is consistently and sustainably practiced, the positive ramifications are enormous.
Infusing iLP into @Work is a major objective of Karoo because of the magnitude of the impact.
Talent is cheaper than table salt.
What separates the talented individual from the successful one is
a lot of hard work.
If you watch a game, it’s fun.
If you play it, it’s recreation.
If you work at it, it’s golf.
@Play is what we do if not @ Home or @Work, and @nywhere between. @Play are hobbies, recreational activities, sports, and socially oriented outreach.
A common feature of @Play activities is that they are not directly concerned with deriving economic benefits, even if particular people are @Work in this domain. There are millions of golfers across the world, but only a few thousand who are @Work on the course; as would be the case for chess, computer gaming and mountain biking.
So-called recreational activities (being @Play) are intrinsic needs that contribute to our mental, emotional, physical and social well-being, and here we also exercise iLP.
When we’re young we play and we don’t know we are;
when we’re older we play to balance our lives and
to show our mettle; when even older
we should play to hang on…
There is a single light of science, and to brighten
it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.
Influential Leadership does not reside in certain nooks and crannies of life, or just @Home, @Work or @Play – it goes with us, everywhere and @nywhere.
iLP is designed to be our constant companion, no matter our time, place or circumstances.
An inherent principle of iLP is that it as a wall-to-wall pattern of leadership behaviour;
this is characteristic exemplified by the @nywhere social domain.
@nywhere is driving my car in congested traffic, sharing the bus, train or plane, idling in the queue at the grocery store, waiting in the overbooked and overflowing doctor’s rooms, walking the dog, sitting in the sports stadium…
The @nywhere Leadership Moments may be the most demanding of all because here there is no structures, observers or strictures; it makes it easy to be anonymous, to let ones hair down, to reveal ones true colours.
It is akin to choosing to do the right thing when there’re no obvious witnesses and it feels that we can “get away with it”; like giving or taking that bribe, or running a night-time traffic light, or disloyalty far from home.
There are myriad examples of “big people” in one domain – @Work, mainly – that are Lilliputian at @Home and certainly @nywhere they are “unseen”.