Inner Leadership builds inspiration by combining seven distinct areas of skill, competence, and capability.
The first of these is to lay a strong foundation. The quality of this foundation is what will enable you to remain calm during times of crisis and also, when times are stable, to extend and expand your leadership influence into whatever areas matter most to you.
The second key skill is to be able to make clear sense of your situation. When the world no longer works the way it used to it can be easy to misinterpret events. This second competence is about identifying the mistaken assumptions we can all too easily make and developing new ways to recognise what is really going on.
A third important capability is to be able to identify the full range of opportunities that exist in any situation. This expands your options for moving forward. It also builds morale and puts you back in control.
The fourth skill lies in choosing which of the available opportunities to pursue. In a time of churning it might seem best to choose the easiest or most expedient route, but when times are changing this can lead you down a blind alley. It also denies your ability to shape the world. A better alternative is to become clear on where you want to be in the long run. Then choose the short term opportunities that take you in that direction, knowing that you can pivot, tack, and change course later if you need to.
The fifth area of competency comes from defining two key yardsticks: your purpose and your values. Tactically, these tell you which issues you can ignore, which matter to you, and how to respond: they increase your adaptability in a changing world. Strategically, they also provide a litmus test for determining the attractiveness of any opportunities that arise, reinforce your foundation, and build another step towards inspiration.
The sixth competency is what lies at the heart of inner leadership. It is the ability to describe the opportunity or direction you have chosen in a way that inspires you and other people to want to make it happen. It is this inspiration that not only gives people the courage to shift into action but also the energy and enthusiasm to maintain that action over time.
Finally, the seventh key skill is the ability to address the psychological and emotional challenges that will inevitably arise as you work to make your vision a reality — and to do that in a way that turns those challenges to your advantage.
These are the seven skills of Inner Leadership and the book lays them out across seven chapters, providing tools and frameworks for improving your abilities at each one.
Adapted from The Churning, Inner Leadership, published October 2016.