Leadership skills from outer space
He quit 3 university degrees and spend 27 years in prison. Became South-Africa's first democratically elected president. The first black head of state, dismantling the apartheid. Assigned a team of bodyguards both black and white and told them to get along - after 40 years of institutionalized racism. How to undo 40 years of hard fought principles?
Rory Steyn became the white chief of security of Nelson Mandela. He was asked to be a human shield for the man he had once regarded a terrorist. Even worse for Rory, half of his team was black. Hunting each other for years, they were now expected to work together. Closely, since they were protecting a life together.
How to undo 40 years of principles in your team? Nelson Mandela set his life as a trophy of collaboration.
By taking this incredible risk, Mandela made professional collaboration more important than old principles. He created the overview effect around him.
This overview effect is also experienced by astronauts. Being launched into space, these adventurous space explorers are pushed into their chairs to look forward to the moon they are heading to.
At a certain moment they become weightless and are able to look back where they come from. For the first time in their life they see the earth as a whole.
This first picture of earth shifts a lot in our cognitive awereness. It is not the conference room it is all about. It is not about the so-called countries we live in. Earth is about life.
With only a thin membrane around us, we are vulnerable, but unaware of our vulnerability.
Our worm's perspective makes us think small.
This is everyday life for many. Only a few can cut loose and fly. Birds touch grounds and skies, through which they have the overview up high as well as the empathy down here.
This is exactly what Mandela did, overcoming apartheid by setting the example of the overview effect very close. By gathering his team and giving them his life, they had to look to the bigger picture. Life as a whole.
In an interview, Rory Steyn admits that he started this journey uncommunicative and reserved. Both groups were hanging out seperately. Along the path, they had to collaborate to achieve the shared goal: keep Madiba safe.
Trust grows along the way, by perceiving each other's actions and perseverance. To do so, you need to start. Work together. It's already in there: TO GET HER(E).
Business works the same. Team leaders operating in worm's perspective miss the complete earth. All of earth's chances, all of its greatness.
If you can't see your team as a whole, how can you place them in the most optimal positions?
So it's time to spread your wings and check your team out when you're up high. What's really happening in your company? And how does the complete market look like? Even better..
What's the one thing you want to awe the world with?