On Leading Through Change and Building Community for a Stronger Future

The future is emotional. It will be filled with diverse beauty and new efficiencies. A tremendous amount of resources and opportunities will be available to those humble and curious enough to explore them, and these things will teach us to build more trust, value respect over likes, and clarify consensual interactions.

However, these things will also change the nature of work and how creative communities, organizations, and businesses interact and thrive.

“Live each day as if was your last.
Learn as if you would live forever.”
—Gandhi

As we work to define and reach greatness in our work, as well as goodness in our societies, we are up against the realities of accelerating innovation, an avalanche of data, and the anxiety of the unknown. Learning to embrace and adapt to these changes is crucial, but it isn’t easy.

Change takes courage. Brain science reveals that change invokes a fear response, and fear or self-doubt defeats more people than anything else. Unfortunately, in times of rapid change, it can be challenging to keep people on course, as constant change often leads to burnout, workplace disengagement, and high turnover.

We know of the darkness and light in our world, and the perpetual onslaught of information will continue to magnify these issues. The future will be full of even more distraction, and we may see a mental health decline or worse. There will be an astounding amount of bullshit that you never thought you’d have to try to make sense of for yourself, your family, or your organization.

That’s why leading through the changes we’ll see in our world over the next few decades will require careful strategies that focus on supporting our own communities and empowering us to be genuinely better humans.

This earnest endeavor to bring about positive change will extend into both our personal and business lives, as neither will be distinct from each other much longer. As this happens, certain priorities will shift, which will influence leadership at every level of your organization.

Values Will Matter More Than Ever

You will need a strong vision that aligns company purpose with community needs, and you must learn to listen better and be charismatic in order to reach others. (Leading with empathy is crucial to do this, as is understanding how to communicate with different types of people.)

The more we can all lead with our values and honestly seek to understand the ways we impact each other, the more we can do truly “good” work.

Inclusion Will Make You Stronger

Focus on inclusion in the design of your products and workplace environments. Different groups have different needs and seek belonging in different ways, so consider how this type of applied empathy might affect the way they interact with you. (Inclusion-focused product creators like Argo Collective are leading the way here.)

We must also seek clarity around personal or systemic unconscious bias to create stronger communities.

Work-Life Balance Must Be Mastered

Leaders model expected behavior, so normalize therapy and do the self-care necessary for a positive mental attitude. Cultivate this in yourself, and work to create a culture that celebrates balance.

Above all, as you work toward a fair and sustainable world, set an intention to solve more problems and stay inspired. Your future self, critics, partners, and the generations to come shall grace you with their blessed and continued existence.

A version of this article originally appeared in the 2019 SoDa Report.