Like many others, over the past month I have endeavoured to spend my time reflecting and trying to not react to the very uncertain times. At the same time there is so much noise, so I have been trying to find the balance between content overload and some light at the end of the overload tunnel.
Now feels the right time, especially as my writing and thoughts in Consequences Blog #62 predate the launch of my eBook BALANCE POINT, – making better decisions, particularly during times of uncertainty. Well I surely didn’t plan for a world pandemic to preempt its release, but it seems the perfect time to share the concept of the BALANCE POINT and a framework of how to STRADDLE uncertainty the E.A.S.Y Way.
Firstly, my time of reflection took me back to my arrival back to Australia in 2007 having lived abroad for nearly two decades. Almost immediately I was selected to join the AUSTRALIA 2020 Summit, in fact, it was 12 years to the weekend just gone – date 19th-20th April 2008.
The topic of the AUSTRALIA 2020 Summit was all about Thinking Big and its timeline preceded the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals but made no reference to the Millennium Goals which at the time I thought quite strange but those gaps in my knowledge have since been filled over the past thirteen years of having been back in Australia (see Consequences Blogs #29-#45).
“The focus of the 2020 Summit was bringing together 1000 Australians from all walks of life to both discuss these challenges and consider how the nation should act as one to address them”
The 2020 Summit was all about taking AUSTRALIA forward to 2020, being considered across 10 streams:
- The productivity agenda
- The Australian economy
- Sustainability and climate change
- Rural Australia
- Communities and families
- Indigenous AUSTRALIA
- Creative AUSTRALIA
- AUSTRALIAN governance
- AUSTRALIA’s future in the world
There wasn’t a stream particularly focusing on a pandemic although you could argue that a pandemic (such as COVID- 19) has influence across every single stream. The point of my reference to the 2020 Summit is to make it very clear that one of the first realizations of making better decisions in times of uncertainty is accepting that you cannot and will not be able to predict. In fact, to try to predict is wasted energy and it is so much better to spend time understanding the dualities or opportunities that lie between the known and the unknown (BALANCE POINT – decision-making continuum).
One of my observations and long-term memories of the 2020 Summit was that the so-called consultations were more like conversations. Understanding that a prearranged approach was woven into the consultation endeavour (possibly to co- ordinate such a large group and in a timely manner) by default limitations for innovation were created. I describe this experience like being trapped in a dominant default model for decision-making. This is an important trap for Australia (the globe) to not follow with COVID-19 future onward discussions.
As a result, both in advance and by the end of the Summit much of the material was predicted or pre planned. Any discussion that strayed outside of these boundaries was shut down or parked or not even recorded. In the BALANCE POINT decision-making continuum this is described as weighting all the decision-making towards ‘exploitation’ (known possibilities). Although this does have its place, when needing to be innovative to enable better decision-making (especially in uncertainty) it can also be too limiting.
In this COVID-19 climate I am as bold to suggest that dominant default models are where the 2020 Summit went astray. It is also possibly why the discussions of the Summit have become a distant memory – only for some! This experience has stayed with me and underpins my thoughts as to why what we need right now, is not another Summit, but a love letter!
So why a love letter – at such times of uncertainty the kind of actions that are required, in fact, fly in the face of the very action that has caused the problem in the first place. For example, more aggressive behaviour more exploitation more competition – these behaviours can be nicely summarised as traits of scarcity or take-take world which simply won’t cut it in the new post COVID-19 order. Earlier in 2020 the World Economic forum stated that the company of the future must do well by doing good. The essence of this message was the importance of helping society being a core part of business and not an add-on. The concept of the love letter is to set the forward motion understanding that decisions must not be bound by dominant default models and benefit those with greater need.
A more inclusive society is a more productive society and business can only fail in a failing world
The concept of a love letter is of course unusual especially when the world is full of pain and at so many levels. If there ever was a time for compassion rather than aggression now is the time, hence the use of the phrase love.
I have stalled in writing Consequences #62 blog as in this current heightened state of so much noise I have been keen to ensure what I have to offer doesn’t add to this craziness.
To this end the phrase love helps to set out a new acronym to be considered –baNu. The baNu acronym is an extension of the common or well-known BAU – business as usual. It is very clear by now across the globe there is no usual. The additional ‘N’ stands for the word new and keeping ‘business as usual’ in lower case represents a period in time where the new normal or understanding of love can be better understood. Although not yet formed, any attempt to continue business ‘of old’ could possibly get in the way of ‘the new’.
Even before the COVID-19 virus had its grip on the globe ways to transform were being considered – although in my opinion more within a BAU (aka business as usual – dominant default models) approach. In some respect how can the future be considered when using these dominant default models especially as the business or strategies of the past have been the ones that have landed us within the current scenario.
So, to me the love letter is all about making better decisions or at least the ones that are more fit for purpose. Even changes of working virtually and the issue of distance has shifted with online provision being re vitalised almost overnight. As an example, when questioned the McKinsley Chief on Virus (what a job title) stated very clearly, we’re not going back to the ‘normal ‘we had before coronavirus and strategy in a structural break offers the perfect opportunity to explore the BALANCE POINT as part of decision-making during times of uncertainty.
If you still need convincing, why a love letter well it’s time for leadership that is baNu and the kind that makes better decisions – well at least ones that are based on generosity rather than scarcity. Reflecting again on the aspirations of the 2020 Summit we didn’t have enough room for ‘new’ (unknown possibilities) as much of the discussion sat within the boundaries of the known.
Funnily enough it was at the 2020 Summit where I realized I had gained some insights from my international roles and sought to further understand ‘better decision-making especially during uncertainty’. I later researched this in my PhD to not only ascertain that decision-making at the local level is the missing link but to offer a language for implementation, hence the BALANCE POINT.
I definitely do not have all the answers and profess that part of the way forward is to engage with those with the lived-in experience. The concept of the BALANCE POINT offers a transformative philosophy to make better decisions during uncertainty. Thinking about baNu is a discipline to ensure dominant default models are not used in decision-making – hence the concept of the love letter rather than decisions being on habits of old – dominant default models.
My gift in these uncertain times and to help navigate the noise is the BALANCE POINT so stay tuned for more details as to when the free eBook will be released!
Consequences –Dr Jayne Meyer Tucker, Activist and Author helps humans and organisations make #betterdecisions during uncertainty. Drawing on her global experiences in social transformation and her PhD research exploring the systemic tension between structure (governance) and spontaneity (leadership), Jayne has created the Balance Point – a transformative philosophy to make #betterdecisions within a framework to STRADDLE uncertainty with decision making traits that make #betterdecisions the E.A.S.Y Way. Jayne has worked in Executive Board/CEO and consultancy roles with a number of NGO’s, corporates’ and government agencies in Australia and internationally.