Wise Moves from MAD Land to NO MAD Land (3)

Shift from "Search for Certainty Shadows and Fog" to "Confidence in Uncertainty Bay"

Shift from the "Search for Certainty Shadows and Fog" to the "Confidence in Uncertainty Bay"

This is one of the stories from our series entitled "Your Next Wise Move: from MAD-LAND (leading us to Massive Assured Destruction) to NO-MAD Land" (based on Mutually Assured Development). These articles answer the fundamental need to Reshape our mental maps to change the way we shape the world. A practice at the core of “Shapership, the Art of shaping the Future”.

Our "maps" create the Landscape

We have created a Map which is a metaphor of 2 territories: MAD Land andNO-Mad Land. Those two different "Landscapes" are created and sustained by very different - and often unconscious - "Maps"(worldviews, paradigms, perceptions, stories, consciousness), leading to very different decisions and actions.

 We propose new perspectives to shape the Future everyday. Because it is not about the things we look at. It is about the way we look at things. Each caption of the map metaphorically illustrate a way of looking at the world - not something we "are"; not something "good or bad"– and offers the choice of a point of view to shape the Future everyday.Either starting from MAD or NO MAD Land.

In this article, we offer you an opportunity to try this shift

From MAD to NO MAD Land

The world in which your strategy was working no longer exists

Shifts are happening outside!

If you are a decision-maker, you most probably are under enormous intellectual and emotional pressure to make key strategic choices in a world confronted with unprecedented levels of disruption.

All these shifts have been accelerated byCovid-19: we have entered the Anthropocene, envisaging the possible end of our destructive civilization. The iron cage of industrial modernity is falling apart. The past narratives on which it is based are collapsing. The myth of progress is breaking down. Our beliefs and worldviews are seriously challenged. We question the meaning of Life, "business" and value. Our Future has an unknown flavor. And by the way, a crisis of Legitimacy threatens“leaders”: “Deep down though, we know that when we turn to our Leaders for solutions, we are looking in the wrong place, in the wrong way. “[1]

As professionals, most of us are struggling, falling without admitting it into confusion, fear, anxiety, lack of Imagination and a desire for Certainty: in short, what we call Regression forces which lead to preserve the Old instead of shaping the New.

To get out of the mess we're in, we need to create the opposite of Fear: Hope and Desire for a new meaning-makingFuture.

This requires a leap in Imagination, new mental models and courage.

It also requires a major shift in Emotions:giving up the illusion of control and predictability… and starting to LOVE Uncertainty.

[1] Collective Presencing: A NewHuman Capacity. By Ria Baeck and Helen Titchen Beeth. Kosmos, Spring |Summer2012 = http://www.kosmosjournal.org/articles/collective-presencing-a-new-human-capacity

So, how can decision makers think about an unpredictable Future and make the right choices?

  1. By rearranging the furniture in the same room? This is pure lack of time.
  2. By reducing Strategy to short-term corrective measures? That is a dangerous mistake.
  3. By considering the Future as an extrapolation of the Past? That is a dangerous illusion.
  4. By making a rigid "plan" (the Roadmap) which goes from A to B, based on the assumption that only ONE future context is going to emerge? That is a dangerous bet.

Do you know what is wrong with those approaches?

They all are visible signs indicating that a team is locked in a zone that we have called the "Desire for Certainty Abbey"

Indeed, we "KNOW" that the world is unpredictable. Yet, we often don't ACT in coherence. At a deeper level, we still behave AS IF the world were stable and predictable. Our "DESIRE for Certainty" is so strong that we keep old fashioned assumptions, approaches, tools and methods to reduce Uncertainty at least in the 4 ways mentioned above.

It is so true that in many companies - with a few exceptions - the strategic plan that emerges is mostly based on a set of "forecasts" and ends up as a Roadmap. Instead of raising good QUESTIONS and EXPLORING what "COULD happen", teams come up with mostly predictable and repetitive ANSWERS, sometimes to the wrong questions, make "PLANS" and decide what they WANT to see happen based on false assumptions on what WILL happen.

Make uncertainty a friend.

Nobody can predict the Future, not even Visionary leaders...but we can build the Future on WISER decisions informed by the depth and breadth of expanded perspectives. Perspectives which

- connect the dots

- integrate the Future we want to create

- let go out of outdated mental models which no longer serve us

- and allow the transformation of how and what we think.

That might be perceived as all bad news. Except if you find ways to make it really exciting!

Imagine what could happen if you abandoned your familiarThinking Highways and discovered new “vantage points”!

From fresh perspectives, you would see the shifts outside, seeds of the Future in the Present, stakeholders demands and a series of new outcomes that matter.

You wouldn’t be able to predict the Future but you would be prepared to shape it! Just imagine how that journey might change your decisions today, open the space for transformative Innovation and deliberately instill the sense of Hope and Purpose in everything you do.

You could build the Future on Lucidity as well as on Transformative Visions.

How can you move from the "Desire for Certainty Abbey" to the "Confidence in Uncertainty Bay"?

By changing the way you look at things, seeing what should be abandoned and adopting next practices.

Here are a few suggestions.

1.   Stop considering the world as a chess game - with traditional and clearly defined problems, finite boundaries, fixed constraints, predetermined known movements, one winner, one loser; look at the world as a Go game with interconnected complex issues : seeing that the game board, the players and the rules are different.

For instance, even if you have grown up comfortably with the concept of industries, instead of thinking“strategy” within your traditional “industry”, think “Arenas”. Arenas are notMarkets. Arenas are potential “areas” for Value creation, at the convergence and overlap of many different industries.

For instance, Volkswagen used to focus on cars manufacturing and see their competition as other cars manufacturers.  With their traditional lenses, they were blind to the emergence of the “sustainable Mobility” arena. So blind to technology companies, software businesses and smart cities as suddenly equally important actors as the traditional ones.

A Leader in switchboard manufacturing was blind to the growing “Energy Management” Arena. When they saw Google as one of their “competitors”,they said: “but that's not their Business”. That's not their “industry” but they are in Business in attractive arenas.

A roofing membrane manufacturer successfully moved from the market of “waterproofing membrane” to the arena of “smart Building”.

2.     Stop considering"Strategy as war" and competing against "enemies"! Dare see "Strategy as Collaboration" and strive to create a network of partners who are going to generate more than the sum of the parts.
3.     Face the fac that incremental approaches will not be enough in this game-changing world. Instead, enjoy being radical, imaginative and purposeful.

We have reached a time when many people “at the top” want to retain Power although they cruelly lack the needed “Authority”, the inspiring Vision, the Wisdom and the Awareness. For many reasons, these people tackle an Eco-SystemReality with an Ego-System Perspective.Wouldn't it be nice if leaders became Shapers of the Future, with the courage and capacity to think radically and imaginatively to open new path towards viable Futures on purpose?

4.     Take into consideration that it is not a good idea to develop abstract battle plans based on linear extrapolations of data, nor to be tempted preserve the status quo and the Comfort Zone; It is time to "tango" with Reality and to navigate the Ocean of Uncertainty!And with pleasure if possible!
5.     Stop considering that being concrete is the supreme form of intelligence. Think conceptually and creatively.

Concepts will give you the much needed flexibility in these uncertain times. They also will give you the capacity so many leaders completely lack: to move from Vision to Action and from Action to Vision. As the saying goes: “Vision without action is an awaken dream, but action without vision is a nightmare”. Many people live a nightmare, trapped into operational levels without Vision, stuck into execution without strategy (which by definition is conceptual), locked into products and ideas without concepts.

Life is what happens to us while we are busy making others plans

The "Desire for Certainty Abbey" will lead you to"plans".

Confidence in Uncertainty will lead you to prepare for multiple Futures and to take a stand in shaping the one you desire.

By cultivating the Imagination, the Courage, the Freedom and the Sense of Purpose needed to move to the "Pleasure of Uncertainty Bay",you will better navigate our uncertain world in which there are many possible"futures".

Shapership, the Art of Shaping the Future is a vital 21st Century competency based on 3 vital internal "Shifts in Minds for Shifts inAction".

  • shift in Intentions: from preserving the status quo to shaping the Future
  • shift in Emotions: from Denial, Fear and Despair to Desire and Hope
  • shift in Thinking; from EGO-centric Linear and Analytical Thinking to ECO-driven Complex and Creative Thinking

As a practice, enjoy each opportunity to safely transform what and how you think, learn aboutYOUR glasses as well as deliberately change the stories that shape your life, so you can change the way you shape the world.

Happy Shifting!