Leadership in a crazy world
It sure is a VUCA world…volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
One moment, you are Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, releasing a book about leadership in a crazy world..and the next, you are resigning as a result of an interview you had promoting that very book.
Kevin Robert’s marketing of 64 Shots, did not exactly go to plan it seems. But is it still worth a shot to read?
I for one, was curious about the book, having so enjoyed his bestseller Lovemarks. I remember how, having just started an MBA in International Business, I choose to skip lectures and sit in one of Trieste’s historic cafés to devour it - figuring it might be a more constructive use of my time. Now as a leadership consultant, I wanted to hear what the boss of one of the world’s top creative companies had to say about leading in a VUCA world. And I liked what he says up front...“leadership is the defining difference in any field and leading people in a crazy world requires a wider range of skills and emotional capabilities than ever”.
Being a creative leader is at the heart of his book, as is bringing optimism to a VUCA world. He talks of a SuperVUCA world, one in which ideas rule and where the challenge is to create outcomes that are V-ibrant, U-nreal, C-razy, and A-stounding. Such a world he demands creative leaders. Leaders who change language, have lots of ideas, surprise with the obvious, fail fast, learn fast and fix fast. As he says “We must all be Creative Leaders. We all can be, because ideas come from everywhere, because ideas come any time, and because ideas take flight like never before”.
The core driver of our leadership offering at Impact is exactly that – that leadership is not about a special person but a special action. It can come from anyone at anytime, through being able to notice, decide, and having the courage to act. At Impact we are strengthening our own identity as a Creative Change Agency, aware of the speed at which change is happening and what is at stake for our communities, companies and planet.
Reflecting this speed, Robert’s writing is practical, filled with alliteration and acronyms, making it fast paced, feisty reading. The book is ideal for those increasingly short attention spans and appetites for a quick fix, as it is a collection of easy digestible bite sized pieces of stimulation – which he creatively calls shots. You may not agree with his sources of inspiration, but he does remind us of the gifts of drawing from a diverse range of perspectives from business, music, sport, literature, and politics to create a compelling story. Photos of his ‘impact people’, are similarly a nice reminder to reflect and acknowledge those who have had a pervasive and inspirational impact on one’s own life. And, as you would expect from a marketing guru, it is a physically beautiful book and just a pleasure to flick through, designed for dipping in and out.
And it was bound to irk – somebody like Roberts always will. Someone who has pushed sugar drinks and is about buying more stuff, will never be one of my heroes but I can appreciate his story. Poignantly, given his resignation and the reasons behind it, his book opens with Don Miguel Ruiz’s 4 Agreements and ends with a chapter on legacy and the words of Maximus..”what we do in life echoes in eternity”.
The book isn’t deep or profound – but it doesn’t intend to be.
Yet to be fair – it did stir my creative juices. After reading it. I did act. I took a shot. So it did work.
Roberts, K (2016) 64 Shots: Leadership in a crazy world”, PowerHouse Books, NY
Roberts, K (2005), Lovemarks: the future beyond brands, PowerHouse Books, UK