Technology has transformed old structures into a lattice of interactions that is as vibrant as a Kandinsky painting. The industrial and service ages have passed, and we’re now in a creative age where more and more of us are accountable for leading.
Three essentials will help leaders thrive in this ‘new now.’
First, Authenticity: we must know our real selves. We are authentic when we are true to our purposes, beliefs and values. When we demonstrate them in actions and words, great changes can happen.
In 1608 Galileo told the truth about the universe. Authority punished him for it, but he made it possible for Newton to shift our understanding from myth to mechanics.
A new economics, and enlightenment, followed. We are their heirs.
In 1794, Immanuel Kant wrote that Authenticity is maturity: leaders drive change when they have courage to use their own understanding, to go public.
Emerson later warned that society and corporations conspire against maturity, because they make us comfortable with language that conceals truth. Leaders must still fight this conspiracy.
Then, Empathy: Empathy releases our power to be authentic. We deepen our awareness that we are born into relationship with everything and everyone. We cannot be fully human if we live without human relationship.
In 1953, Buber showed that leaders must make real choices about their physical, mental and emotional attitudes, so as to let their relationship with people and the world come alive.
When we let Authenticity and Empathy fuel our imagination, we become Creative. Like great stories of old, the enriched strategic narratives we create can connect people to their own purpose and passion and release innovation.
Creativity comes from imagination and lives in language, speech, and persona. These embodied powers engage others, and elevate goals into purposes.
These powers are our birthright, and leaders in this creative age can use them to reshape the world.