During these uncertain times, we have all been reading lots of information on the impact of the current Covid-19 crisis and how it is influencing the established norms, forcing them to evolve at all levels: economic, innovation, health, new ways of working, education, family etc.
At Saïd Business School, we (postgraduate students of DipOL20) also had to quickly find alternative solutions and evolve. ‘The Strategy Mindset’ module was held online, and we found ways to keep in contact with the cohort (WhatsApp, Teams and Zoom) as well as with the professional team of teachers and administrators. We also made use of our collective intelligence to deal with lectures, exam preparation, and psychological support.
Mindful transformational dynamics
It is very interesting to take a look at the path that we all naturally took to adapt ourselves to this new situation. As Charles Darwin explained in On the Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself.
I think that Darwin’s statement carefully represents the qualities of a leader being able to lead a transformational change within him or herself and to consciously ignite this ability ‘to adapt and adjust best to the changing environment in which they find themselves’ in society and across his or her organisation in a very positive way. This is a concept that comes spontaneously to my mind and that I would call ‘mindful transformational dynamics’ as this obviously has a great impact on our collective evolution.
The strategic mindset
This leads me to the second part of this post’s title, ‘strategy’. If we are going to adjust and to implement new ways of living, studying, working, doing business etc, it is better to start doing it in a very conscious way: being aware of our role/position and observing the dynamics of our environment. If we take the time to map the different stakeholders, the strengths, the weaknesses, the possible evolutions, partnerships, collaborations, interests etc then we will be able to draw a clever path that will potentially lead us to the place where we want to be. This might even lead us to places we did not foresee, maybe a Blue Ocean!
Being allocentric: During the Strategic Mindset module held online, our incredible lecturer Richard Whittington highlighted the need to be allocentric to be capable of setting the strategic map based on the external environment, independent of one’s current location: observing from the balcony. This is also a mindful way of ‘leading the transformation’. One is aware of the self but also aware of the environment, without judging it from his/her own perspective, instead taking a 360° view. This allows a better understanding of the current dynamics and helps adapt strategy accordingly.
Setting up the GPS
Now more than ever, Covid-19 has pushed the doors for global change, it is key that leaders who are driving transformational change need to ‘set up the GPS before going anywhere’. If we act responsibly, we should not blindly take the path without knowing (or at least having explored) where we want to be and how.
Three keywords for a leader to retain: mindful (conscious), strategic and allocentric
As we could not complete the first diploma examination on-site, we did it online, but we kept the Oxford tradition and dressed up for the occasion. This is a good example of positive change, adaptation and a brilliant leadership step from an excellent leader, my classmate Audrey Orhon.
I must say that we virtually travelled the world together. From right to left in the main header photo on this blog, we have: Audrey Orhon from the UK (based in Scotland), Jean d’Amour Kubwimana from Rwanda, Rouba Abou-Atieh from Palestine (based in the UEA), Mark Lissimore from the UK, Chantelle Houston from Australia (based in the UK), and Evelyn Tinajero from Ecuador (based in France).
What will be your strategy to drive your transformational change?