The world is not perfect. And so we create a vision of how we’d like some part of it to be instead, and then we set off towards that vision.
Chapter 7 of inner leadership reminds us that there are two parts to the vision: the tangible results we want to create, and also the culture we want to have when we get there. “The way we do things around here.”
It reminds us that although external results will take time to achieve, culture is something we can create today. And the way we behave can be just as important as the results we create, perhaps more so.
Apple Corp, for example, defines its vision not in terms of the results it wants to create but the culture that leads to those results: “We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.” And Apple is now twice as big as world’s second-largest company, ExxonMobil.
Focusing on the (inner) culture first enables you to achieve part of your vision instantly. It also speeds the time when you the (outer) results you want will arrive, as Apple Corp shows.
Two examples in the UK political news yesterday also illustrate this point, showing different responses to significant failings by leadership figures.
In one example Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former foreign secretary, found himself in a cash for access scandal. The way the Conservative party decided that the way to deal with this was for him to fall on his metaphorical sword: he has resigned as chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee and will step down as an MP at the General Election.
In the other example Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, gave an extremely bad interview and later apologised, saying “That happens, I am human.” Caroline Lucas, the party’s only MP, also defended her saying, “I do think we need a bit of proportion… We are all human.”
I’ll leave it to you to decide which approach you agree with. Perhaps both. Perhaps neither.
But the point I want to make is that choosing to be part of a culture today is probably the most important part of defining the vision you will create tomorrow. As Apple Corp knows.
Chapter 7 describes this. Chapters 1-6 of inner leadership show you how to define and create the culture (and results) you want.
It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it.