This is the famous quote by Rahm Emanuel, who was mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019, and before that Chief of Staff to Barack Obama: ‘You never let a crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that, is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before’.
He was referring to the economic conditions of the day. Today, the unexpected and unpredicted have once again knocked at the door.
‘An opportunity to do things you think you could not do before’ is not just a wonderful line, it is a whole Strategic Plan.
What if the company could change gears and think the unthinkable? After all, we would be in good company of other unthinkable things.
What if we scrapped all traditional ‘leadership development programmes’ and we started from scratch?
What if we did challenge ourselves to stop managing the inevitable and focus all our energies on the apparently implausible?
I will end this period with optimism … if we focus on ‘making it happen’. ‘It’ being all those good things that the organization can achieve, the enterprise can produce, the public sphere could accomplish. Let’s make ‘it’ happen.
The enemy has a name: Passivity. Meaning, assume history is already written (read the way we do business, political directions, world change). If involvement and engagement have always been the key to ‘agency’, our ability to take charge, as opposed to have our destiny controlled, now is the time for a big dose of that. Let’s be agents, not receivers. Let’s start within the organization.
If deep in you, you think all the laws of the firm are written, we’d better go fishing for a while, or on a sabbatical to Mars, until the inmates stop running the asylum. But, go and tell the children that we are doing that. Have the guts to write in your legacy: we did nothing. We kept calm and carried on. Not a good idea.
If this is the Era of The Unpredicted, we’d better get unpredictability skills.