‘Leadership Insight Dialogue’ is the term we (Richard Searle and Rob Burke) use in our leadership approach.  From a futures thinking in a leadership context perspective we use ‘Leadership Insight Dialogue’ as a design space to develop scenarios by an innovative approach to strategy implementation through a dialogue engagement process aimed at articulating purpose and shared vision through scenarios based on creative, critical and futures thinking that are both enabling and inspiring. 

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Anticipatory action learning has the advantage of enhancing the capacity for people to better prepare for the future.  Anticipatory action learning is embedded in futures studies and is the collective search for meaning and purpose through articulating a preferred future and doing now what is required to create your preferred future.

Anticipatory action learning and anticipatory action research as a basis of futures studies provide an appropriate framework from which to implement a more meaningful organisational outcome by thinking beyond just strategy for the short term.

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The aging of the population, and with it better health, suggests that people will be ‘available’ productively in the workforce for much longer periods than ever before, at least in the “developed” world.  In the under developed world there is no choice as people of all ages are immersed continuously in the work of their own survival lifelong. Three issues arise from this. One, what will it mean to be an older person in the near future? Two, will older people really be able to leave the workforce by choice? And, three, if not, what do we do with them when they can no longer work?

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“What is the end goal towards which we should direct all our activities?” and “what is the ultimate purpose of human experience?”, were questions posed by Aristotle (384-322 BCE) in his work ‘Nicomachean Ethics’.

 How relevant these questions are today. They remain unanswered.

 Concepts such as being more ‘resilient’ and ‘adaptive’ regarding leadership and life itself, suggest that reacting to setbacks and problems by being resilient and adaptive is good.  As Charles Darwin is so often quoted, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; but the one most responsive to change”. What I believe that as good as these abilities are, they are only managing a current situation, usually a current problem, which although it is important and therefore given most of our energy, is based from the past to the present and, because of this, is not enough to create a desirable and preferable future.  Essentially, perhaps the greatest responsibility and role a leader has is to make it possible to create a preferred future, the essence of Aristotle’s questions.

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A major role of a leader is to create a preferred future for the organisation, community, and nation, whoever and whatever it is the leaders are serving.

Creating a preferred future always involves change, always involves people, and always is associated with anxiety change inevitably creates.  As a rule, although it is acknowledged that change is needed, and is the only constant there is, it is also what we are most resistant and anxious about.

Over many years I have observed that often why CEOs tenure is so short is not because the CEO was trying to create change but because he or she was trying to create change but did not know how to navigate the inevitable anxiety associated with the change they were trying to bring about due, I believe, to the powerful impact of our worldview.   This has also been my experience over 25 years, as the Australian CEO/Managing Director of International publically listed companies, as I have experienced this resistance to change first hand.

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