If 2016 was unprecedented, so too will 2017 be.
Dealing with the aftermath of 2016’s changes alone is a challenging question–and what is there to do if 2017 inevitably brings its own complications to the table?
We know some things will change.
Transition in Washington, decisions on Brexit, the likely dissolution or degradation of current international agreements and coalitions. The tone of political leadership will undoubtedly be more combative and less conciliatory in many parts of the world.
Many things are left to be determined–like how leaders in companies, organizations and communities define and communicate their agendas and empower their people in forming and delivering them. And how communicators balance the needs of their leaders with the realities of connecting and mobilizing action from skeptical or even shaken constituencies is a serious and challenging question.
Is this a time of choices and opportunity?
Despite my own disappointment and misgivings about the US election result (and about the Brexit result earlier this year), the one post-election quote that moved me unusually has been this gem from Dave Logan, author of Tribal Leadership, a must-read primer for real organizational transformation:
“America said “hell no!” to the default future last night…the most powerful words leaders can ever say. It’s now up to all of us to construct the invented future and make it happen. No matter how you feel about the results last night, this moment is a call to leadership.”
My core thoughts about what we need to do in 2017 have been the same throughout the year,–that leaders at all levels can connect, mobilize and inspire only to the extent that we take ownership of our skills and approaches as communicators, and that communicators can only have impact at scale if we start to see ourselves as leaders and act accordingly.
Now, we have a lot of choices to make: about how we lead and communicate, and to what ends.
Do we try to affect change on either side of the political process? Or do we seek opportunities for impact outside of politics, in real – and virtual – communities?
Will the business world become a refuge and breeding ground for leadership like never before? Will communicators be emboldened to operate more strategically, potently and transparently inside and outside the business world?
The Chinese character for crisis contains the symbols for “danger” and “opportunity.” Like Dave Logan, I see both.