“Superior virtue is like water.” -Lao Tzu
The philosopher Lao Tzu says that “superior virtue is like water.” At any times water naturally knows what the best place and the best way are, so water obtains without effort and despite all efforts we produce against. Sometimes you can use this image of water flow to think about flexibility, adaptability, ability of interact, motivation skills, problem-solving and resilience. That “water attitude” is a good analogy to depict digital leadership, because digital means flow. The water moves up to the mountain, down to the valley, there are many challenges on the way which test of one’s leadership skills, who is in control in the face of adversity?
The “water attitude” of digital leadership: Sure when looking at leadership, we must admit that most of the times, we are “naturally forced” to find a kind of “Leadership recipe,” those magic key success factors that will work well “fitting them all.” But this is too mechanical, isn't it? That’s one’s ego working, trying to prove we are keen. The authentic leadership comes with the “natural” attitude: often simple words with deep insight; the clear vision with laser focus, no intention to appear, dislike negative competition, a feeling of connection, open attention and continuous moving forward, like water. Doesn't it look like “water attitude” of digital leadership? So, trying to contribute to the collective wisdom and knowledge brainstorming, that those who proactively respond and learn in hard times are those who are “like water.” Water is not choosy, has no judgmental attitude, does not strictly rely on procedures to take actions. Water acts “naturally,” flow to the river and migrate to the sea; and mature leadership is like the deep ocean which can contain varying things, and tolerate diversity.
Challenges is the way to get in deep touch with yourself: The leader is in control in the face of adversity based upon the principles that the world's finest leaders move forward with some substance of caring, consideration for the current external or internal conditions and plan for recovery. External situations are highly difficult, that require foresight to impact the people in a positive manner within the shortest duration after the disaster. It is human nature for each of us to trip or stumble over our own ego throughout life to keep us humble. Crisis and disasters have a way of letting us know that there are times in life that we can't control the events nor outcome; the only thing we can control are our thoughts, attitude, and how we react and respond to each moment at hand. The best way to be ready to adversities, change and crisis is to remain in contact with ourselves; looking at over structures for what they are, accepting to use them for their purposes, but never confusing between them and us. We can humbly let go and accept when circumstances are beyond our control. Challenges is the way to get in deep touch with yourself, taste your strengths and weaknesses with no alibis, consider the force of your inner power and how you can do with difficulties and challenges. People need to "feel and taste something on their own skin," and a challenge, even a small one, has proved to be working for the purpose. Start running toward your own destination, you don't have to aim at competition. The goal is to meet with oneself, that's not coming from a status, but for discovery, autonomy and mastery.
Plans are like road-maps or blueprints and offer context and guidance. All of us have plans for different situations in life. Planning and preparation offer us an opportunity - a kind of dress rehearsal to walk through the scenario, practice and think through in a calm pace where time is on your side. In the midst of change, crisis or challenges, we are not so clear-headed, nor clearly focused on the big picture and time is never in abundance. This is true on an individual basis because it is on a large scale-like in organizational planning. Planning and preparation allow us an opportunity to move forward, to take the next step, and the next and the next.
Change is the only constant, whether in business or any other area of life. Some change is planned, others hit us due to circumstances beyond our control. For any business, preparing for change should be an ongoing activity, built into their strategy. The fundamentals are to have robust and scalable systems and policies, train and empower people to handle crisis, and of course stand by them when they do, this cannot entirely mitigate all risks, but it will certainly reduce the impact and allow us time to recover, and move forward.