Messy Leadership

Why Messy Leadership?

Our mission is to ensure relevance and meaning when working with organisations to grow and develop their leadership potential and to do so requires us to ‘buckle up and ride’ the gyroscopic changes that are both challenging and delighting our customers.

We’ve been in the business of developing leaders and leadership for over two decades now and there have been a lot of changes over the past twenty years. Navigating the fast changing world of business and relationships has meant exploring many paths that on first sight didn’t seem to belong in a leadership framework - for example the deeper aspects of personal leadership incorporating self awareness, self understanding and empathy.

Change is nothing new of course; consider the ways in which the innovation of printing revolutionised religion, politics and culture five hundred years ago or the transformation from rural living to factory working during the industrialisation of two centuries ago! 

What does seem to be different however is the pace and complexity of change and the way change is speeding up. Indeed Ray Kurzweil’s ‘law of accelerated change’ predicts that the next 100 years will change faster than the last 20,000! Phew!!

And so, we might struggle to keep up, to keep abreast of change never mind get ahead of the curve. In a world where only 10 years ago the party line in business was that the ‘big fish eats the small fish’, the new mantra is about the ‘fast fish eating the slow fish’.

And so to leadership….

It’s a simple point but one worth repeating, that without change there isn’t a requirement for leadership.  Without change we might simply develop and manage the systems that will ensure tomorrow looks and feels very much like today. And our today is extremely well populated with leadership texts and reference books that have a very similar ring to them, even where the focus has a different shift. Many of them contain excellent recipes for leading transformation and change, building the effective team, developing the winning strategy and so on. But as many would be cooks are aware; the brightly illustrated recipe doesn’t necessarily translate into the dish on the plate!  In our experience a lot of leadership development is a simple iteration of these recipes.

Why is this?

Essentially, we never do, undertake or lead ‘any kind of change’ in ‘any kind of organisation’ - we only do, undertake or lead ‘a particular type of change’ in ‘our organisation’. An organisation rich in distinctiveness, diversity, history, culture, values and politics. Nothing neat and tidy, more something a bit messy!

The universal solution or technique fails precisely because no one organisational change or challenge is the same as any other.

Messy leadership focuses on how we deal with the challenge of uniqueness. It recognises that faced with our unique challenges we end up having to improvise as we go along.  It sounds flippant but its true. Success or achievement depends on how well we can improvise - how effectively we access and reframe experiences, seek out and recalibrate our skills and aptitudes and reference the wisdom and insight of others.

This is the art of leadership.

The strengthening of our inner resources, our resilience, our trusted networks and connections as navigator, pioneer and bricoleur.

At Orbital we seek to guide, support and challenge our clients and so enable ‘their’ particular style of leadership.

Want to attend the full Messy Leadership workshops?  Contact us so we can align to your schedule. 

Want to have some / all workshops delivered in-house?  Mix and match the workshops to your groups' needs.  

Messy Leadership Workshops: