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4D Leadership

4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development

Twenty years ago the accumulation of skills, knowledge and experience (‘horizontal development’) was sufficient for business success. Today, it’s not. 4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development, offers a new approach of ‘vertical development’.

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Politics, Profits and Paradox

A Christmas Message from Dr. Alan Watkins

Well what a week in Westminster. Not so much a partridge in a pear tree more like four kingdoms un-united, three parties fighting, two divisive views and a premiership gone pear-shaped.

The Christmas spirit of peace and good will to all people is hard to find, let alone the three wise men. We are witnessing a toxic polarisation and some very deep divisions within parties, between parties, between generations and within the nation itself, not to mention the split between the UK and our neighbours in Europe. People are trying to force their views on each other with little understanding that such a move can only make things worse. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that politics is broken, possibly irretrievably. It has descended into a very ugly power battle and politicians seem unable to come up with any wise answers to the mess that they themselves have created.

It’s not just the UK political landscape that’s in a mess. Many other nation states are split in two with “us and them” thinking running rampant in the USA, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Poland and the Ukraine to name just a few.

If political leadership is broken and democracy is past its sell by date1 , we may need to turn to democracy’s commercial cousin, capitalism, for leadership. Perhaps business leaders can provide some wisdom, insight and hope for the future?

Unfortunately, since the global financial crisis of 2008, many business leaders are waking up to the realisation that there is also something profoundly wrong with our corporate model. While capitalism, like its cousin democracy, has delivered immense benefits to society over the last hundred years it too is struggling to cope with the immense changes most modern societies are facing.

In 2008 the flaws in capitalism were clearly exposed and the conversation in many corporations suddenly changed. Serious organisations started to talk of ‘Triple Bottom Lines2’, ‘Conscious Capitalism3’ and ‘Conscious Business4 ’. The academic community got involved and we saw a rash of books exploring ‘Post Capitalism5 ’, ‘Full Spectrum Economics6 ; ‘Sacred Economics7’, ‘Caring Economics8’ and the ‘Circular Economy9’. Some authors went further to describe what happens ’When the Money Runs Out10 ’ and how this may exacerbate the current drift towards greater ethnocentricity in ‘Every Nation for Itself’11. The basic realisation was that there are significant problems with the idea that business solely exists to generate profit and shareholder value12. Not least because it can foster greed13, and the pursuit of money can lead to fiscal irresponsibility and massive debt. America has been held up as the poster child for such short-termism and the corporate obsession with cash, to the exclusion of all else14.

The conclusion that is beginning to emerge in many corporations around the world is that a new model of leadership is required15. The command and control autocratic approach of the heroic CEO and even the meritocratic debate of a pragmatic leadership team simple can’t handle the accelerating pace of change sweeping through the commercial world.

We are now in unchartered waters. We are in the era of Paradox16. We are struggling to cope with the pace of change while simultaneously wrestling with ‘wicked’ problems that seem intractable17. We are experiencing political and economic divisions that are driving a deep wedge into our relationships while we are also engaging in much higher levels of social connectivity with each other. Many commentators have observed that if we don’t take more radical steps on climate change in the next thirty years we will face an extinction of humanity. There is a leadership emergency at the same time as the emergence of more enlightened leadership.

Whether we kill ourselves or cure our collective ills now hangs in the balance. If enough of us wake up to the emergency and wise up we can move beyond the ‘us and them thinking’ we are currently stuck with. And there’s no better time than Christmas to sit around the table and find ways to resolve our differences! If we embrace the spirit of the season we can find our North star which can illuminate a brighter future, together.

 


 

 

1 Watkins AD & Stratenus I, Crowdocracy: the end of politics. Urbane Press 2016: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crowdocracy-
Future-Government-Governance-Wicked/dp/1910692158/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435043692&sr=8-
1&keywords=crowdocracy

2 Savitz AW (2014) The Triple Bottom Line Jossey-Bass, London

3 Mackey J, Sisodia R (2012) Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business Harvard Business School Publishing,
Boston

4 Kofman F (2014) Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Value Sounds True, Boulder

5 Mason P (2016) PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future Penguin, London

6 Arnsperger C (2010) Full-Spectrum Economics: Toward an Inclusive and Emancipatory Social Science Routledge, London

7 Eisenstein C (2011) Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition Evolver editions, Berkeley

8 Singer T (Ed), Ricard M (Ed) (2015) Caring Economics: Conversations on Altruism and Compassion, Between Scientists,
Economists, and the Dalai Lama St Martins Press, New York

9 Webster K, MacArthur E (2016) The Circular Economy: The Wealth of Flows Ellen MacArthur Foundation Publishing; 2 Edition

10 King SD (2018) When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence Yale University Press, New Haven and London

11 Bremmer I (2013) Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World Portfolio Penguin, London

12 We must rethink the purpose of corporations by Martin Wolf. MyFT DXec 11th 2018: https://www.ft.com/content/786144bcfc93-
11e8-ac00-57a2a826423e

13 Rowland W (2005) Greed, Inc.: Why Corporations Rule Our World and How We Let It Happen Thomas Allen Publishers,
Toronto

14 Wiggin A Incontrera K (2008) I.O.U.S.A.: One Nation. Under Stress. John Wiley & Sons, New York

15 Watkins AD. 4D Leadership: Competitive advantage through vertical leadership development. Kogan Page 2015:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/4D-Leadership-Competitive-Advantage-
Development/dp/0749474645/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472622446&sr=8-1&keywords=4D+leadership

16 Watkins AD & Dalton N. HR (r)Evolution: Change the workplace to change the world. Kogan Page 2019. In press.

17 Watkins AD & Wilber K. Wicked and Wise: How to solve the world’s toughest problems. Urbane Press 2014.

 

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Dr Alan Watkins

Alan is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance. He has a broad mix of commercial, academic, scientific and technological abilities.