Innovate to Keep Pace with Dynamism
he world of today has become far more dynamic than ever before. The world economy has gradually shifted from industrial economy to an information-technology based economy. Success in today’s economy is volatile, transient and the span of success has shortened dramatically. There are stories of over-night billionaires such as Facebook, movies become box office success or flop within a week and cricket matches are now played in 20/20 format.
Everything in organizations is becoming obsolete with shocking speed if not managed. Products, services and strategies need to be managed for change, faster all the time. Life expectancy is shrinking.
One of my client very aptly describes the market condition and its impact – given the level of dynamism of markets today, we need to learn the art of white water rafting to thrive.
How do we keep pace with such level of dynamism?
Facing any adversity requires mental strength, and being able to rise above such fast moving changes demands a high level of mental equanimity and emotional control. Mental equanimity and strength can be built through various practices such as awareness of thoughts to control the quality and direction of thoughts and conserve internal energy.
Additionally, to stay in the line of competition, there is a need to innovate and recreate pro-actively. Apple has been one of the finest examples of innovation and creativity. Steve Jobs, fearless visionary, transformed one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies. Having being fired from Apple, he was free from the need for acceptance. When he re-entered Apple, Jobs fearlessly accessed and listened to his intuition to create, innovate and deliver perfection to the consumer.
When I made a transition to being a coach from a chartered accountant, I had to undertake a major exercise in ‘self-innovation’. To coach clients of different personalities, different domain expertize, there was a need to stretch and grow as a leader of my life. I realized I had various strengths that were under-utilized, values that I hesitated to assert, fears that restricted me from exploring my skills. Coaching is the science of thoughts – science and thoughts – two words that unite logic and emotions. Successful leaders in organizations need to be like coaches at all times - logical and creative while sharing knowledge and compassionate and intuitive while listening.
“Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention.” Deepak Chopra
In a world riddled with dynamism, to work creatively, the mind needs to be free from its self-created barriers. Our multitude of thoughts obstructs us from using our inherent skill and channelizing our energy creatively. How do thoughts of self-doubt come into play? Ignorant of our true nature, from an early age, we live our life seeking love and acceptance from others. We acquire a survival sheath, our ego that illusively assures us of acceptance. Our mind develops impressions or neuro-patterns and this conditioning creates beliefs that limit our ability to look at life from different perspectives. Fear of failure or rejection rule our words and actions and the curious expressive child in us gets diminished.
To break free from this hesitation and build confidence to play fully in the world, a new pattern of thoughts needs be established with patience and practice. After all, we developed the first type of thoughts and we have the gift of free will to choose a new set of thoughts. Several techniques can be adopted to reduce and change this unchecked flow of thoughts – becoming aware and shedding or replacing, chanting or breathing exercises.
I recall, when the desire to write and share my experiences had surfaced, I suffered from a limiting story of not being a writer. I believe failure is when you do not even try to do something, versus trying and not getting the desired outcome. One day I decided to attempt and just write without thinking of the outcome and to my utter surprise, the words just flowed. That was the day when I allowed myself to find expression without thinking of the outcome. To create I had to be courageous to shed my fears, needs and ego. To innovate externally, we need reinvent ourselves internally time and again.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of Nature. Your playing small does not serve the world…….” Marianne Williamson
Life is not about being accepted, but being accepting -- accepting our goodness and that of others. Let us accept our true nature rather than live in doubt and question – ‘is it possible for me to be extraordinary?’ Of course, it is possible for all of us to be innovative, creative and successful. Be courageous and drop that survival sheath, the emotional debate and conflict in the mind. The mind will then be calm and able to observe and flow freely to access knowledge from our intuition. We can innovate and create fearlessly when we rise above our need for success and acceptance.
(Ashu is a leadership coach and author who works with senior executives in organizations such as Barclays Capital, Adidas, Ernst & Young, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, etc. She is also a qualified chartered accountant. Ashu has recently compiled her insights, experiences as a coach and learning of life in a book, ‘I am Freedom’(to be launched soon). In the book, she has shared her journey of inquiry into seeking inner freedom and thereby, unlocking the power to love and live. For more www.ashukhanna.com )