Leadership in a crisis: Think coherence

Here’s an exceptionally good article on leadership in a crisis.

We’ve seen this emerging trend for some time: in an era of growing complexity, coherence is more important than vision. We are seeing lessons in this pandemic, as we move closer to the edge, toward chaos and loss of meaning. The leaders who inspire us are giving us a sense of coherence. Where are we now? Where are we going? How will we get there?

It’s the reason, when we started designing a new approach to strategy for complex environments, that we ditched any talk of “vision statements”. They do not work in turbulent times. The reason: everyone knows that the future is unknowable. Everyone. 

We replace this standard starting point with something better: a framing question. These questions provide a sense of purpose, meaning and direction. They help people imagine a shared future. They embed a deep sense of “us”. 

Framing questions are difficult to do well. We always write and test them with a team. But our work is constrained by another fact. there is no perfect framing question.

Get on with it. Begin conversations that set a direction. Head toward an outcome that we could share together. Translate words into clear commitments and action quickly. Learn by doing. It’s the only path forward.