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A quantum of courage …
What leaders need more of nowadays!
I guess everybody has heard about quantum computing meanwhile and has the basic understanding: This is something that makes computers much faster and transmission of information much saver. However, when it comes to understanding the system or physics behind, many – including myself – hardly scratch the surface.
Still, I am fascinated by technology and even more how it can be applied for the better of humans. Therefore, I was struck by an article I read, written by Mel Ross, International Mentor-Coach in Humanizing Transformation, link. She wrote about "the amazing world of quantum leadership and transformation". Explaining it, she uses three simple quantum principles: "Sub-atomic, Entanglement, Non-binary".
We "normal" people hardly understand the world on an "atomic level", how can we understand the world below – sub-atomic? But still there is great potential! Applying that quantum principle to management in a way of "tiny shifts on a micro level", as Mel Ross suggests, this can unleash real power and energy. However, never follow the route a manager indicated when I was discussing the concept with him, as he told me: "Well, that’s great, because I do like to get into the small details anyways!" Keep in mind: Micro shifts do not have anything to do with micro-management! The only way to tackle today’s complexity is to break things down into the smallest elements. Small shifts in our behaviour have a big impact.
Again, difficult to understand for us "non-scientists", the principle of entanglement. Quantum physics is fascinating, two parts of one system entangled in a correlation, if you know – measure - the status of one, you know the one of the other, irrespective of any distance. Clearly there is the same principle with human beings! As Mel Ross writes, "We are all connected and therefore our beliefs, actions and words can and do have affects out into the system beyond what might be observable to us". For me the "entanglement" that leaders should be aware of are personal values. Irrespective what is written on the corporate walls, it is about what we live that impacts the professional live of co-workers beyond every distance. Therefore, our values can, and in a positive sense should be the fundament of our behaviour.
The most fascinating part for me and a huge challenge for leaders is the fact that a quantum world is not binary. It’s not a world of zeros and ones, but zeros, ones and zeros and ones. Generations of leaders have been educated that a decision is right or wrong, and the higher they get up in hierarchy the more "right" is their decision. Everything is based on the principle of cause and effect. Whether the end product is developed in an old "waterfall process" or in an "agile approach" - as propagated by so-called modern leaders - it is still a zero or a one that comes out! I strongly question that still following this approach leads to success for any organisation in the future. Therefore, let’s apply the quantum principle of "non- binary" and stop thinking in categories of right or wrong. When making decisions in a "quantum world" innovative leaders should think about how many right answers are there! As Mell Ross writes: "… This drives collaborative engagement, cognitive diversity and true flexibility, choosing several options to experiment with rather than one option to iterate – for us that’s a step further down the line."
Following my credo of the "and" instead of "or", successful leaders in a "quantum world" need cognitive diversity and empathy. They push for multiple solutions generated by a workforce consisting of "boomers" that know how to use their multitude of neuronal connections (but not their experience with yes or no), AND generation Z which is highly familiar with latest technology and data.
When you read this, you might think, oh yes, fine, all easy, but it is not! Mentally visualizing the many leaders, I have been dealing with over years, I asked myself: What are the key characteristics that differentiate the real good ones from average? And I answered it for myself: Besides being "human" and outgrowing the personal "ego" all of them have this "quantum of courage" to see the future positive.