23/06/2024

Five Lenses on the World

Future-Focused Leadership, Insight, Relevant, Transformation

Five Vital Lenses 

What are they? Why are they important now and how can you develop them for yourself?

The idea of people making sense of the world through a set of lenses isn't new. Filtering what’s going on around us, connecting the dots, spotting patterns and making sense of things from our areas of expertise and lived experiences comes naturally to all of us. 

A friend who is an engineer constantly pulls things apart and puts them back together or 're-engineers' them. A complexity theorist colleague delights in exploring the edges of 'known unknowns'. And an investor friend makes sense of the world with strategy and numbers – even running his family finances in the same way. He often makes fun of himself when he jokingly calls his children "Cost Centre 1 and 2".

However, our lenses (or mental models) can get stuck in time and it's a wake-up call when we realise that how we think, decide, and act today will be experienced in a completely different future context. And we will have changed by the time we get there. 

“The End of History Illusion”

It’s really tricky for us, in all our glorious humanity, to imagine the future (think under ten years) without taking the present with us. While we know it will be markedly different, there is a significant flaw in our thinking. We mistakenly think that we won’t change. We believe who we are – our personalities, core beliefs and preferences, will remain static.

You may have heard of “The End of History Illusion”. The term describes a psychological illusion where people of all ages believe they have experienced significant personal change and growth, up to the present moment. And are unlikely to mature any more in the future.

With this in mind, it makes sense to be purposeful and intentional about equipping ourselves with a handful of interconnected lenses that will better serve us today, and shape the future we desire. 

Five Future-Focused Lenses

As the scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski famously said: "The map is not the territory" – we shouldn't confuse conceptual models with reality itself. The Five Lenses all have roots in academia and lend themselves to today's emergent context in a multitude of ways. I invite you to take what inspires you, put it into practice and then come back for more. Make it your reality. 

Relevant Five Lenses

Image from Relevant, Part IV, Five Future-Focused Lenses. ©Mowbray by Design.

  1. Conscious Leadership & Team Cohesion | Develop your self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and future-fit thinking and skills to collaborate and navigate challenges and opportunities with your team.
  2. Systems Thinking | Appreciate the interconnectedness of all things and shift from observing isolated events or data to connecting the dots and looking at it in terms of wholes, relationships and patterns. 
  3. Complexity, Sensemaking & Wayfinding | Understand the difference between complex and complicated situations, and develop your ability to stay curious and allow situations to evolve in the unknown.
  4. Futures Thinking & Foresight | Develop your critical thinking and use the push of the present, weight of the past and pull of the future to intentionally drive your business agenda towards a desired future. 
  5. Agile Thinking & Innovative Behaviours | Create the cultural conditions for ideas to thrive, and foster an organisational culture of agile thinking, experimentation and innovation. 

These five interconnected lenses empower us to create space for discernment and feel invigorated about leading the future. It’s an approach I've witnessed the most impactful leaders embodying time and again over the last couple of decades. And the good news is, you can now develop this thinking for yourself.

How to apply these Lenses

To integrate these lenses, consider the following options:

  • Buy the Book: Relevant: Future-Focused Leadership is an indispensable roadmap for today's leaders who aspire to master the art of thriving in an unpredictable, AI-infused world. 
  • Future-Focused Masterclass: Book your team on this transformative masterclass where they will develop the thinking and skills needed to navigate the future with more ease, today.
  • Keynote: Invite me to deliver an inspiring and thought-provoking keynote that will challenge your assumptions and leave you with a clear vision for building a better tomorrow.

My gift to you

You can also discover why understanding and adapting to context is the foundation to future-focused leadership (and these five lenses) in a free sample from my book.

“Nothing exists in a void, and understanding what's going on in the world and how it impacts us, our teams and organisations is often the elephant in the room for leaders.”

Get your copy delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Relevant.

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