We are concerned about the future of organisations. It’s why we do the work we do.
When you stop and think about it, organisations are the bedrock upon which our society is founded. From education, government and not-for-profit organisations and through to commercial enterprise, the well-being of our society is based upon the well-being of our organisations. If our organisations fail, so too does our society. It’s as simple as that.
And therein lies the problem—we are starting to see evidence of our organisations failing.
Why then, is this happening?
It’s because a perfect storm of change is descending on our world, and it’s causing an unprecedented increase in levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
And yet our organisations are using seriously outdated ways of thinking and ways of operating. Some of which are more than 150 years old!
The difficult reality is that these ways of thinking and operating are not suited to deal with the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of the huge challenges we face in today’s world.
The challenges facing our society today—and therefore our organisations—are immense. From climate change and sustainable renewable energy to economic stagnation and a slow recovery from the GFC to technological disruption and concerns of mass unemployment from automation and artificial intelligence—sometimes it just seems so overwhelming, and at times, it can just seem downright scary.
And that’s OK.
It’s completely normal to feel this way in times of rapid change and uncertainty and ambiguity. So don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The reason most of us don’t like rapid change and uncertainty is because the human species has evolved over time to deal with gradual change (we call this linear growth). But non-linear, sometimes exponential change is the type that only gets faster and faster—and that’s the type of change that we are now facing.
And therein lies the problem.
Humans are not suited to deal with rapid paced, exponential change, nor the uncertainty and complexity that it brings.
We find non-linear exponential change not only difficult to respond to, but also difficult to comprehend. It leads us to feeling overwhelmed by a seemingly never-ending onslaught of information overload, disruption and a sense of chaos.
In the old world of gradual, sequential, linear change, we were able to manage by methodical, hierarchical and bureaucratic organisational structures (it’s what business consultants taught us, too). It gave us a sense that we were in control.
But in the new world of non linear, exponential change, these traditional methods no longer work—in fact, they provide diminishing returns. They are too heavy and slow. They are over-engineered, they are inefficient, and they no longer serve us (kinda like traditional business consultants, right?).
We need to reconsider our organisational approaches to this new world of uncertainty, complexity and change.
Rather than being ready for only one future, a future where we try and control everything (which is, in fact, an illusion), we need our organisations to be ready for any future, one where we accept that we do not have control.
The best way to be ready for any future is to give up our desire for certainty and simplicity, and embrace uncertainty and complexity. It doesn’t come easily, but the benefits far outweigh the initial discomfort. After all, continued organisational relevancy is at stake here.
So if the future is one of uncertainty and unpredictability—meaning traditional business consultants are essentially a waste of money—from who do we learn?
It happens that a small band of mountaineers have been developing an approach to mountaineering for many years that is perfect for dealing with uncertainty. It’s called Alpine Style—colloquially, it’s known as light and fast. To understand the thinking and rigour behind the concept, check out the Alpine Model Style below.
Patrick has more than 15 years of international experience both as a consultant to medium and large sized organisations and as a high-altitude mountaineer. His light and fast solution as applied to organisations is the culmination of this vast experience.
Patrick delivers these solutions in a number of traditional and non-traditional ways, from 60 minute keynotes to 12 month plus guidance through company-wide transformation. Although each piece of work is tailored for the specific circumstances of each client, the services page or our guidebook will give you a feel for how we do this.
The concept of the Alpine Style approach and its application to organisations goes much deeper than just a clever metaphor. It is built on a deep foundation of thinking, research and field-testing, and then more thinking, research and field-testing, and so on and so forth. In other words, it is constantly evolving (just like the real world) and being refined, both in the business environment and in the mountain environment.
Consider the Alpine Style approach to be both a mindset and a methodology. Applicable at an individual, team, and organisation-wide level, it is a lot more than just a simple leadership theory or strategy. It is a way of being and a way of doing, making you, your team and your organisation ready for any thing that may occur in an inherently unpredictable and uncertain world.
The Alpine Style Model is based on the concept that there are three skills that need to be acquired and honed, three personal and group insights which need to be illuminated, and three character traits that need to be nurtured. Tying it all together, at the intersection of these lie the three final components of the model: mission, engagement and antifragility—Patrick refers to these as the ‘ready to launch’ modules.
Turn the page to find out more about each of the 12 elements, and how we work with them as the foundation for our half to three-day workshops.
(And don’t forget to checkout the final third of Patrick’s book The Light and Fast Organisation: A New Way of Dealing with Uncertainty which unpacks the Alpine Style Model in greater detail).
2. decision making
3. getting critical
6. growth mindset
7. growth mindset
8. continuous learning
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