As we consider the ‘Organisation as Ecosystem’, some fragments of thought that may come to us:
To understand it, we must move through it. We can stand on a hilltop and see to the horizon, but we can only truly know it by walking. The mountains block our view of the valley, the trees hide the farmhouse behind. This speaks to leadership as an act of movement, of orientation and disorientation. And boundaries.
I describe Social Leadership as leadership at the intersection of systems – and hence in this context it is leadership at the boundary.
At the boundaries things bleed over. Stories, floods, strangers. Ideas. Perhaps we trespass or explore notions of permeability. This speaks of leaders who travel lightly. Listening. Perhaps finding paths – connecting – carrying stories – trading even. But in which currencies?
A core idea is that we leave footsteps as we travel – in the Quiet Leadership work i say that we walk, we do not hover over it like the hawk riding the thermals. This speaks to me of leadership as the mud on our boots. Slipping and stumbling. It also talks to me about what i carry, what we all carry, what we need, and what we can leave behind.
I talk to River about getting lost: that being lost is not bad, if you are prepared. So we carry a penknife, water, food. And we rely on each other. Occasionally when we are lost, we discover things – like the beautiful clearing in the woods where we ate our picnic last week. In tune with the ecosystem, not fighting it.