LES(son) in Crisis: is More Servant, Situational and Responsible Leadership.
Go to Message on Nyenrode Business University Homepage (in Dutch)
“75 Years of Freedom”
This period, and in Europe, we are commemorating the end of the Second World War and celebrate 75 years of freedom.
It was 75 years ago- that Europe was freed from war. And it was 75 years ago, that people, countries, governments and corporations started to recover from the deep wounds of conflict, of war, of poverty, of atrocities, human rights abuses, of fear- and to convert themselves to Hope, Peace and Justice.
- Hope of (re-)building and (re-) constructing their societies
- Hope of building bridges of Peace and Justice: never again (a great) war.
- Hope of building a better world for their children and grandchildren
- Hope of building a better and socially more inclusive and just economies, here and there
New institutes and organisations were imagined, instigated and created- from the United Nations, Human Rights, towards new Universities and Academies to learn new leadership and diplomacy for a better world. Nyenrode Business University was founded itself in year 1946,
It was a period of Great Hope, Can-do and (Re-)Imagination.
Thanks and in combination with a Marshall Plan, new wonders of modern technology, – and the good collaborating spirits of that time, – and under new found leadership and organisational practices from within the war- new wealth and comfort were created, as not and never seen before, in our human development.
Now we are at today. And “we are in crisis”.
– How have we done, over the period?
– What can we laud, appreciate, celebrate, and be honestly proud of?
– What has come right of the dreams of our Forefathers, and where are we better to learn and re-direct our present organisational and leadership believes? Where and when have we become a caricature of this earlier dream of our forefathers?
– How do we envision the world to be – over the coming 75 years?
Covid- 19: A world “in crisis”.
Covid-19 has struck our societies, and we see our economies, companies and people in a standstill and lockdown.
Uncertain about their future. Uncertainties about their future household, health, wealth and income.
Early estimate sees worldwide a rise of a new 350 million jobless, 1.5 billion workers at risk in developing economies, 10 trillion of new debt, and developed economies to shrink.
The big brother nations, USA and China are in argument on and over the origins of the Virus Crisis, and Propaganda and “war of words” are being exchanged.
The world is “missing in cohesion and action” over the pandemic, and making SG Guterres gasp in desparation: the world is presently too fragile and not able to come together to face a crisis such as Covid-19: individual countries look after themselves, and not willing to share or care for the common.
The Oil sector, internationally, is in disarray- as “a power fight” is on-going over the dominion over the markets, and this in combination with the Covid Crisis and demand fall, proofs near lethal for the outlook for the shareholder owned western majors. Shell quarterly results were sharply down ( “a loss”), had to cut-back on dividend to shareholders (- 60%), and the flotation of its company now largely depends on the oil price for the coming quarter. Its that bad.
Add to this,
The rather poor outlook on the sustainability of (the aggregate of) our economies versus the natural world.
Another crisis in its making.
The Corona Virus Crisis placed in our moment in time
From an international perspective: The urgent need for a new narrative: “we are in crisis”.
Year 2015 is and has been a Pivot Year in the international community and energy land. First of all, and at the end of 2015- we have seen and experienced the results of years’ of climate change negotiations: the Paris Climate Change Agreement. In September of 2015, the UN agreed to embark on a groundbreaking program of capacity and capability building in the realms of Sustainable Development.
Earlier that year, we could listen to the voice of Pope Francis (Encyclical Laudato Si!)- and learn from Professor Jeffrey Sachs and John Rockstrom that we are accelerating ourselves and crossing some planetary boundaries- perhaps also a little bit ourselves.
We were “in crisis”
In all of these programs- Energy and the direction of our Economies are crucial and vital elements for our common home and our success.
Stewardship over the Energy Sector and Economy Direction/ Architecture developments and UN Sustainable Developments allowing and enabling the rise of sustainable societies, individually- and in aggregate- is a new leadership role to learn- in, between and for governments and the business community.
In some very simple terms- one could state that we – and over the coming 15-30 years has the following goals to attain, and in order to stave off some serious :
- Support the UN Sustainable development goals
- Help implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement
- Sustain Energy to our Societies- for sustainable economies.
How to provide energy and build sustainable (consumption) economies – whilst recognizing that we are to share one planet- in harmony in and between themselves- and with energy-economies that are sustainable, affordable and available- free of concerns- and for generations to come.
Without too many words- and fairly briefly:
Lets be honest, before the Corona Virus Crisis- both Chairman Xi JinPeng, President Trump, PM Modi, President Putin, Saudi and most leadership in Europe stood on the gas pedal of their economies, competing and rivalling to gain Country GDP and jobs, and where nowhere near into the direction of Paris Climate Change agreement, or the achievement of the UN SDGs.
Three Grand Change Challenges & “Our Duty of Care”
( at various scale levels)
- New Frame for our National Economies, and WorldView Reform
In essence, and over the last couple of years, if not decades, it has become ample clear that our present intense forms of economies has become a caricature- of its original intents, at best.
Even in the most (socially) developed (small state, most happy) nations in Scandinavia and NW Europe (e.g. Netherlands) – we know, and have seen and witnessed with our own very eyes, how our societies have begotten polarized and are struggling with its present position, its balance and its direction
In fact, this generation knows, that the next generation may not have the same good deal, or life opportunities.- as they had seen and witnessed before
During this Corona Virus Crisis, 170 Dutch scientists have taken to the pen, and have issued a manifest (to the Dutch State Government) on all this (the above).
And have asked for a reform of our present frames in our National Economies, and to include a better and more healthier WorldView.
My practice position: This is surely worth a Grand Dialogue and Wise Conversation Series among the relevant stakeholders, and this surely deserves the attention for those who aspire to learn and lead us from and outwith crisis!
Ultimately, and with the eyes on our Common Home and Future (for this world):
If the most socially just and developed economies in this world does not take this Corona Virus Crisis as a learning moment- and to see where change in health and frame of our economies and worldview is to be made, who else is and will be (able) doing this , and when will we ever have this opportunity again?
The alternative is that we opt and choose to move from crisis to crisis in our global and integrated fast economies, and intense use of Nature, and pass the buck to the next generations to solve. Where is L.E.S. in Leadership in all this?
- The behaviors and ways of going about of our (Large corporate) Businesses, Governments, and Societies in our international trade and trade relations, especially with regards to the UN SDGs, our Natural World, Social Justice and Peace.
Since the inception of this practice, we have advocated to review the present wheelings and dealings of our international trade and trade relations, between the developed and developing nations, between Governments, Businesses and Societies- and especially around the themes UN SDGs, Climate and Business for Peace.
As such reviews have been carried out, your eyes may be opened, and be concerned- as the world, and over the last period, our nations and our corporations appear to move the other way- and towards a “My Nation First”, “My Corporation First”- approach.
From China to the States, from Brasil to Indonesia and India- we see this rise of ambition and aspirations.
The Larger Corporations , the Energy Sector and our Governments have to my practice mind here an important responsibility to play: this sector, and these powerful corporations can become a true interlocutor and engine of reformation and healthy change. : in between Businesses, Governments and with Local Societies.
Hopeful purpose and meaning is derived when we know-how to use and reform our Company Capabilities, our Company Role, Function, Story and messages – and give it the new and relevant meaning in the realization of sustainable economies and societies, “in full”.
That is what the Global Compact is about, and that is what the cry from SG Guterres is all about.
And that may give you a complete different focus: Not on the self, but on the markets, the nations, the functioning of the sector and the whole.
So much is clear.
Again, and as point 1. above, this change in views- on roles and responsibilities, and on present WorldView, is surely worth a Grand Dialogue and Wise Conversation Series!
Our (international) System of Care for our Common Home- on Peace, Social Justice, Natural World and the built of our joint Good-Will.
Nothing will move or stay, if we cannot attain peace and goodwill between the Nations.
No Climate accord will hold, no Sustainable Development will come about, No reforms of our economies or rescue for our People or Nature will hold.
Let me be clear here:
We have a choice here: We can opt to let our world move from crisis to crisis,
Or we can opt to heal our present world, and see to change and improve on our present diplomacy, organisation, agenda, relations and frame – in the international arena.
And this is especially true – for the (relations and ways of our) Big Brother Nations states, the permanent members of the UN Security Council: Russia, China and the States.
In 2018, Karel van Oosterom, a former friend of my became the Dutch Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council.
Most recently- he has published his book on that year, his experiences and learning insights:
Met een Oranje Das
Now – van Oosterom and self have communicated a little on the contents of his book, but also on the present, and the true urgencies and importances for reform.
In His words : the world and the security council has not become better, than it was in 2018. And he is concerned.
Van Oosterom’s closing words (in his book) are about the future and are phrased less “Diplomatic”: he urges the Council to change, in its organization, and he encourages all of us to consider and make it possible (in our work and diplomacy) to transcend a bit from our National or Self-Interest towards truly organizing a sustainable foundation for a more shared and general Interest of Peace and Security “- in our” Common Home “.
(Note Text: Google Translate from Dutch)
Now I come to the point – here:
I ask you to listen and watch to the following comments given by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, at a most recent Vatican Conference.: Trumps re-election would make the US “absolutely dangerous
If you have listened to the above comments, and you have read or spoken with Karel van Oosterom (as I did)- you may come to some serious conclusion,
As the world needs a Jeffrey Sachs on the States, but this same world needs also a Russian Jeffrey Sachs on Russia and a Chinese Jeffrey Sachs on China, and an Indian Jeffrey Sachs on India, and a Saudi Jeffrey Sachs on Saudi.
So much is clear.
As I hinted in this paragraph- nothing will “stay” in our world, if we do not find Peace and Goodwill between the Large Big Brother Nation states.
So- if we are serious about point 1. and 2. hereabove (the other Grand Challenges)- we have to take this third challenge – as well, in our cure and programs for advancement of our world.
One other thing is clear:
The present ways by which our most senior leaders in our societies have approached and are “solving” this problem does not work, and will not work.
So, and again, as per point 1. and 2. herefore:
To my practice mind: this deserves a Grand Dialogue and (very) Wise Conversation Series- on how to go about this, and our approach!
LES in Crisis: is More Servant, Situational and Responsible Leadership
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the many good words, examples and notes by my colleagues at Nyenrode shared here with you, on the LES in Crisis.
I can relate and acknowledge to them.
Let me share you here- also a couple of lines from my pen- on this theme:
First – from my working practice:
Leaders and Leadership today is a challenging experience. As we move “beyond the glass ceiling into the corner office” all our acts, moves and decisions are seen and observed – not only by the own team, the company- but also by the stakeholders, the media and more and more in the eye of public and opinion.
Leadership today, and if we want to do this in style- is to “live and breath” in the open.
To be transparent. To be whole.
The “alignment” between Company needs, the organisation, the role and the self – is essential in order to perform best. The temptation to grow own ego or self-belief (in intuition, being right, etc) – not in the least fuelled by an inner circle of supporters, can be detrimental.
To that end, and organizational dynamics has proven this time and time again- leadership today is an art.
As much as leadership is about the abilities to manage large organisations, it’s also a path of inner wisdom and personal growth. To be able to look with mild and wise eyes to the situation we are in.
Not all leaders have had the chance to mature themselves in this way- before they have worked themselves in a position of power or influence.
Modern day leadership asks and invites us to combine a couple of talents and characteristics:
To be compassionate and warm in relationships, as well as being able to overlook and steer the business, it’s performances and deliveries- at times – as an army general overlooking the battle field- when times are tough- or asks for change.
So- this “hard and soft”in leadership- call it “situational leadership”- is an essence of being able to stand the test of times, and being able to drive the business forwards.
It’s quite subtle and needs leaders who can work fully and wholly with “heart, mind and soul” in the business.
Add to that the complexities, the tempo and dynamics of business today, and especially also the complexities in the energy sector- and you understand that we are looking at some very special abilities and skills.
To train, nurture and reflect on “our state of being” when in leadership becomes hence an essential element for success.
Secondly and From my Shell period ( “Roughy-toughy Upstream Cowboy” ) – let me share you a couple of “quickies” – “from the battle-field”- and when “in crisis” (situational)
- Understand the crisis you are in: see and define the trouble right (and your “safe haven” right)
- Steer as fast as you can “out of trouble” , “stop the bleeding” and “Be one step ahead of the crew”
- Dot the new rules of the game- you are in
- Get everyone needed on-board, involved and- fired-up. Leave luggage behind.
- Get your eyes and ears right: see the facts and the landscape right.
- Verify and steer- all day long- to the safe haven you want to be in.
- And remember: Get your (new & crisis) Strategy, Organization and Execution right.
- Be fast. Be decisive. Be quick. And Dont be afraid to make mistakes: trial and error are part of this way.
And for more calmer waters:
Being Present. Always being Present
No matter where you are, no matter your religious background or your beliefs- a very good (daily) practice is to stand-still, reflect, and “clean and attune your soul” , examine your conscience, and in order to see with a clear eye “how you presently are”- and “how well you are poised and “can be present” to give our world the very best of your leadership and talents- with true honesty, compassion and care”
Other images that can be useful in this time of crisis- is that of “the last man standing”, or “the iconic Captain on the (sinking) Ship, who only leaves after all passengers and crew are brought and have left in safety.
Finally, The Good Shepherd, is the story and image of the leader who – especially cares and go out to seek- for the one who is lost, the one from Home, and trusting the flocks at Home to stay safe and well.
The Good Shepherd is the person who lays down his own life, to save his sheep from the wolf, not run away- when the times are trying or testing.
Ultimately- and this goes a little deep, it is when we embrace “deep ecology” and “deep care for our humanity” – that we ourselves change and will come to experience that less can be more.
That slow is good. And that being kind, caring, compassionate, light and mild… is the only way.
Yes- my “LES(son) in Crisis” : is to become More Servant, Situational, and Responsible.
Adriaan Kamp, May 2020