"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Upton Sinclair

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 363

Estimated reading time:  2:30


Greetings from a rainy Toronto! I’m here speaking and leading workshops at a national credit union governance conference. The future is a common part of the conversations in the sessions and in the hallways of the conference.


Humans have never been able to predict the future, although we have paid many different people to do so since we first became conscious of time as a species. Sooth sayers, astrologers, dream interpreters, psychics and economists have all earned money from the mistaken belief that the future can be predicted. The future cannot be predicted but working together we can begin to identify some likely scenarios. The challenge is around “working together.”


All too often we fall into the trap of thinking that one of us has the answers and has the visionary capabilities. The fact is that we are social beings and no single one of us has the answers. Successfully navigating an uncertain future is always a collective affair. Even Sir Issac Newton described his success as due to his standing on the “shoulders of giants.”


In the midst of our uncertain future together, be sure to map out possible futures, talk and explore the implications therein, and always challenge people who think they have all the answers. Our future is much too complex to be left to the ideas of individuals.


Here are three ways to work together more effectively to talk about the future:


  1. Generate possible scenarios from various people including supporting rationale
  2. Pay attention to other sources of news, than the ones you usually attend to, and talk about what they say without judgement or put down humour.
  3. Stop laughing at people. Yes we are a funny species but we are threatening each others status and relatedness with every joke we make about people who are different.


There is a great benediction that contains these wonderful lines:


“For the word is not too small for anything but truth, and too dangerous for anything but love.”



May this week be one of working together, not laughing at each other.