‘If change is happening faster on the outside than the inside, then the end is nigh.’ Jack Welsh.
I happen to agree with Mr. Welsh. Sadly few businesses spend any time on this. Or few relationships of any nature.
Our Western mind, our business schools, our education system trains us all to focus on the results on the outside. The stuff we can see and measure that fits nicely into the scientific rational mind. Or our systems and processes. Let’s refine those, ad nauseam. As companies love to do to squeeze out the maximum amount of efficiency.
But our interiors – our values, beliefs, attitude, perspective, culture, relationships, development – have to have a significant investment of time and effort. Indeed, I would argue that the interiors always have to be more developed than the exteriors – whether that be the interior of a company or enterprise, or the interior of a leader or a change agent.
Someone who has limited perspective, limited ability to take into account multiple worldviews, limited investment in focused adult development, will not be able to navigate any of the complexities of our time wisely and well. They could be likened to colour blind person working in a textile printing factory. They are missing very important pieces of the project. Yet we have leaders in every walk of life who simply do not have the developmental altitude to cope with the complexities they are presented with.
This kind of blindness is rampant, mainly because we neglect the development of the interiors. Especially when times are tough. First thing to go…the budget on the development of people or culture. But even if we spend the dollars on people and culture development, when the people in charge of the delivery are also operating from a limited attitudinal perspective, the efforts will reflect the limitations.
Most people are aware that the very system of constant exterior growth is not viable in the long term. We need a different model. And its not about the end of growth. I would propose that the best investment is the investment in growth in the interiors. On that domain we can grow as leaders and human beings and companies that do wonderful things for their people…ad infinitum. There is no end to the amount of wisdom and leadership a person can gain. There is no end to a path of evolution of the culture and qualities of relationship. There is no ‘over growth’ of communities that work well together. This type of growth also comes with the greater levels of happiness and equanimity…which most people aspire to.
What is your interior leadership development plan? What is the investment you are making on the development of the interiors of your company? If you do not know the answer off the cuff…if this conversation is not one you have, then get to it…or be left behind as a business and a leader. It’s really that simple.