Some Cues for Thinking and Action
Welcome to Our World!
At BIC Group our principals have collectively lived and learnt enough to hopefully be of some use to others. We are grateful to have the opportunity to do things that we want to do, and live for our vision of a world where global diversity, peace and sustainability are core agendas everywhere, and in Australia, for a nation that achieves Closing the Gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage, and an accepted measure of Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, and comes to celebrate and respect the uniqueness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
Here we would like to share some of the thinking behind our work and what gets us out of bed in the morning. We have outlined these in a dozen dot-points bookmarked either end by two Peter Senge quotes. We have trained under Peter, and are part of a community of practice with him, and needless to say we admire him and his work.
We have also outlined some references to other thinkers, some of whom we have also trained under or participate in communities of practice. These are also significant in terms of influence in shaping how we operate. In the final wash-up we believe that the ability to learn and to keep developing skills and ways of being is essential to making headway in a VUCA world.
‘the more we think of leadership in terms of Industrial Age thinking we think in ways that will actually make it less likely that the leadership actually needed will come forth’ Peter Senge
¬ Whether we like it or not we live in a *VUCA World
- ¬ The current helping system(s) fail and they fail badly because they are not geared to think and operate systemically, and are nowhere near agile or adaptive enough in the face of VUCA
- ¬ There is a certain fatalism that deep-seated problems can’t be fixed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and this permeates a significant potion of our community sector as well as across the helping systems themselves
- ¬ Culture eats strategy for breakfast-even the very best strategies get swallowed up by non-aligned cultures-in a VUCA world our ability as culture hacks and building teams and tribes for change is critical
- ¬ The world is growing rapidly (9 billion on the planet by 2060) yet shrinking at the same time (social media, travel)-this has big implications for everyone and everything
- ¬ The ability to collaborate and make and meet commitments across cultural, functional and geographic divides is critical to all of our futures-a subset of that says ‘cross-cultural competence’ is a survival skill for a VUCA world
- ¬ To achieve Closing the Gap and/or Reconciliation in Australia is a significant adaptive challenge for this nation as a whole, and there’s little indication that we’re (i.e. the nation) collectively up for it at the moment
- ¬ Global diversity and sustainability are key agendas that should be embraced by Indigenous Australia as a relevant bigger context to position ourselves to leverage off our cultural strengths
- ¬ The conversations we don’t have are as revealing as the ones we do have-it is true to say that the sum total of our conversations produce either results or waste: conversational skills are critically important to getting results, and we need to cultivate our conversational and language skills so that we can consciously have more of the right type of conversations with the more of the right type of people
- ¬ We should remember that all conversations have a mood attached: the wrong moods close us to possibility, or from being open to building the capacity to shape our own futures-for the sake of getting ahead and surviving in a VUCA world we ought be aware of our own and others’ moods (even in the moment as it were), and develop skills to shift them when required (this is part of possibility)
- ¬ We see leadership as ‘the capacity of communities and groups of people to shape their own futures’-this is different from seeing leaders as a position, or having personal attributes or positional status that accrue to an individual (like a ‘boss’), what we currently do or don’t do today to foster, grow and nurture that capacity will impact us tomorrow
- ¬ Growing pressures on government revenues in a VUCA world will work their way through the system to impact severely upon those who rely too heavily upon public funding: there are no guarantees-nothing lasts forever, and these things can change overnight
*VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous
‘where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together…’ Peter Senge
10 of the Best-Key influences on our thinking and practice: not exhaustive but some key ones.
Daniel Mezick, The Culture Game, 2012
Dave Logan, John King, Haylee Fischer-Wright, Tribal Leadership, 2008
Lyssa Adkins, Coaching Agile Teams, 2010
Diana Larsen, Esther Derby, Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great, 2006
Peter Senge et al, The Necessary Revolution, 2008
Dave Logan & Steve Zaffron, The Three Laws of Performance, 2009
Lisa Laskow Lahey & Robert Kegan, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, 2003
Arvind Subramanian, Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance, 2011
Lawrence Miller, Lean Culture, 2012
Ronald Heifetz & Marvin Linsky, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, 2009 (e-Book edition)