2020 has hit like a tsunami.
Before the pandemic, social uprising, political divisiveness and climate change impacts of this year, we were already dealing with how to:
- lead our lives, work and organizations with purpose, but no playbook for guaranteed success,
- struggling to adapt and grow as we go, while leading ourselves and others,
- in an ever-changing and often hostile environment, without losing our authentic selves.
Whether you lead yourself, a household, team or organization, you were already swimming in a sea of complexity. But 2020 has brought unrelenting waves of it.
The official term is VUCA — which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. In this age of advanced technology and rapid change, we’re living and leading in complexity all the time. And depending on your race, gender, age, physical or neural ability or sexual orientation, you could be facing greater levels of it with far less support.
If you’re standing by waiting for the day when things go back to normal and life feels more certain you might be waiting for a long time.
I see 2020 as the great wake-up call. As leaders, we are being called to adapt, grow and lead at the speed and complexity of life.
But trying to do so without adequate support and development can:
- Limit our ability as individuals to:
- show up and lead as our authentic and best selves,
- create and maintain healthy relationships with ourselves and each other,
- sustain high levels of performance and productivity without expensive or damaging consequences in other areas of our lives, and
- adapt to unforeseen circumstances and setbacks or seize new opportunities.
2. Limit our ability as organizations to:
- attract, engage and keep diverse talent,
- develop sustainable cultures, systems and practices that honour the values, strengths and worth of people — as people not just economic inputs,
- sustain optimal economic performance without irreparable damage to our people and the planet, and
- adapt to unforeseen circumstances and setbacks and create new opportunities
3. Inadvertently do more damage than good, causing a new waves of complexity down the line.
As the Boeing 737 Max investigation and the Social Dilemma documentary demonstrate, when we as leaders and organizations embrace parts of our humanness, but not the whole human being, or serve some, but not all of our stakeholders, in the pursuit of economic interests, it can be limiting to our humanity at best and outright deadly at worst.
Given the state of the world as it is, where do we go from here?
The world needs adaptive, integrative and co-creative leaders now more than ever.
Even before I made leadership coaching and organization development my business, my focus and energy has been on 1. challenging and supporting people to show up as their best authentic selves within organizations and 2. challenging and supporting people to design organizational culture, systems, and processes to better fit the people they’re here to serve (inside and outside their walls).
This is my purpose on the planet. And I’m unapologetic about it.
It recently occurred to me though, that like a person who unwittingly tries to get all of their needs met by their significant other, maybe we’ve been trying to meet all of our needs in the workplace, when what we really need and want is community.
Enter UpLevel Leadership Academy.
UpLevel is an online leadership development community of practice that helps leader-practitioners at all stages adapt, grow and lead without losing your authentic self in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world.
UpLevel Academy was born from my guiding purpose and personal experiences. As a black woman, single parent, entrepreneur and leader in male-dominated systems for over 25 years, I learned the hard way how to navigate at the intersection of age, gender, race.
In the process, I experienced and overcame gaps in my capacity to adapt, grow and lead, without losing my authentic self. Despite facing setbacks, circumstances, unconscious bias and discriminatory systems.
Always looking for ways to turn challenges into growth opportunities and help others do the same, I founded the UpLevel Leadership Academy as an online dojo of sorts for leader-practitioners at all levels.
UpLevel brings together diverse thought leaders, facilitators and coaches, holistic programming, a dialogic facilitation and coaching approach and an experiential community to challenge and support you as you adapt and grow your leadership in your life, work and the world. UpLevel provides:
Leadership development programs that:
- Support your whole being (body, mind, heart and soul) and your whole life (not just the part that happens between 9 and 5)
- Challenge your thinking and perspectives beyond your comfort zone
- Connect you with a diverse network of other leader-practitioners
- Honour the experiences, innate wisdom and authentic power of the leader-practitioner you already are, and
- Expand your leadership to not just survive a VUCA world but adapt and thrive in one.
A community of practice that challenges and supports your growth over time with real-world application and accountability.
Community engagement activities, events and curated resources that develop you as a leader in mindful and holistic ways (think Karate Kid, Wax On, Wax Off).
A cost-effective approach to leadership development to suit individual and corporate budgets.
An appreciative rather than problem-centric environment free from advertising algorithms, where we accept, appreciate and celebrate your values, strengths and unique perspectives and address challenges and complexity with curiosity, creativity and respect for each human being.
Join me on Thursday, Sept 24th at 12:30 pm Pacific time for a community conversation (free event) on how to reclaim your authentic self through the complexity you face today, and lead the change you want to see in the world tomorrow.