Growth and Complexity

Next week I am running my first public leadership program as an experiment. One of the key questions I will put to the 13 brave participants attending is to identify their growth challenge. Not their learning challenge but their growth challenge.

We are experiencing increased complexity both personally and professionally. If there is a mismatch between your capacity to navigate complexity, which I call leadership agility and the intellectual and social complexity of the environment then you are going to experience stress, anxiety and a sense of feeling overwhelmed – It’s what Robert Kegan refers to as being in over our heads.

Unfortunately when we experience this mismatch we tend to rely on old habits, protect our identify, stay in our comfort zone, act defensively and seek control. We talk about learning and training but that may not lead to growth. Growth requires us to let go of limiting beliefs and shift mindsets and even values.
This highlights the growth challenge. It’s not easy. It’s through growth, however, we can see a bigger world and cope more effectively with complexity.

Three things that I have included in this program and are relevant to anyone wanting to grow include

Extend beyond your comfort zone – Feel that fire at your feet. Moving outside your comfort zone should feel one part terrifying and one part exciting. I always suggest playing with a new habit or testing out the validity of a limiting belief.

Different or colliding perspectives – I have talked about this before. Increase your exposure to people who will challenge your world view and be curious and open to the difference.

Experiment with a view to learning – I love experimentation. When you experiment and you are trying something different just observe what happens, identify the different interpretations you can make and what might you do differently next time. In my program participants will identify 3 experiments to help make progress on their growth challenge.

Growth doesn’t happen overnight but it can happen through small incremental steps that are nudging you in the right direction.

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