During these times of disruptive change, a new approach to leadership is called for. Most of us want to find our true work and right ‘place’, so that our leadership brings out the highest potential in ourselves, others, and our workplaces as a whole.
Alongside this search for personal meaning and purpose, a growing business case – researched by EY, Harvard and Saïd Business Schools – shows that purpose-led organisations have greater competitive advantage, customer loyalty, employee engagement and agility to innovate than those that seek profit alone. Such organisations are also relatively healthy living systems, with a good flow of value, exchange and a vitality in their people and culture.
Much less has been said, however, about the skillsets and capacities needed to build and lead such organisations. Indeed, much of our thinking and intervening remains in thrall to the myth that leadership is just about individual heroics, or the ‘person at the top’.
However, the leadership challenges of today are far too complex for any one person to solve by thinking and acting alone. They require diverse stakeholders to think, talk, and co-create together in unprecedented ways. Without developing systemic leadership capability, an organisation lacks vitality and misses out on new insights for innovation, growth and change.
By contrast, systemic leadership and action – and our unique “whole self, whole system” approach – energises individuals, builds teams and strengthens the system as a whole. It draws from a set of core capacities that have a dual function:
- First, they shift the inner space from which a leader operates by bringing awareness and mindful presence to our leadership and interventions in systems.
- Second, they also expand the space of possibility between leaders by enriching how we talk, think, and act together while mapping and exploring the subtle yet powerful dynamics at play in the whole system.
The focus of our work is therefore both deeply personal and highly systemic: it helps leaders step across the threshold into the next chapter of their own purpose and potential, and to develop the systems leadership capacities to build and lead healthy and purposeful teams and organisations. This includes providing practical, powerful tools for co-creating sustainable change.
“Profoundly insightful, awesome. Your creative process allowed us to explore the purpose of our organisation with amazing depth and precision. It’s difficult to conceive of another methodology that could be so powerful. It has left us with great clarity of direction and focus.” Charlie O’Malley, UNDP Senior Advisor.
For a case story of our work with a senior leadership team, that explores the core capacities of systemic leadership, go here.
Getting to the Heart of Purpose
A short video where Sarah and Ed talk about discovering and articulating a purpose that serves the system as a whole, including multiple stakeholders and points of view.
If you would like to speak to us about systemic leadership in your organisation, please Contact Us.
Or click here for Purpose, Path and Place, our open programme in systemic-led leadership.