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VUCA

Thriving in a VUCA world with the help of Archetypes

In a world of constant change and disruption (a so-called VUCA world) leaders are required to be able to change and reinvent themselves (Change-Ability) and also to be able to understand, connect and motivate with a wide range of people with different worldviews (Personal Influence).

In that sense leaders need to be able to use different “qualities” within themselves and understand and adapt to different “qualities” of others in a global environment.

In reality all these “qualities” already exist, somewhere deep inside every human. Everyone of us is unique, still reflecting certain “qualities”, certain innate human characteristics, that can be recognized in different cultures, beyond time and place. These “qualities” are vividly represented in the form of Archetypes.

So, what are the Archetypes?

The word “archetype” has its origins in ancient Greek. The first part of the word “arche” means “original” and the second part of the word “-type” means “pattern”. The two words combined refer to an “original pattern”, i.e. a pattern to which various other entities, characters, personalities, concepts are derived. 

Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist, used the term archetype, with regard to universal, mythical characters that reside within the collective unconscious. In that sense, archetypes represent the most fundamental, timeless and unique drivers of human motivation. 

The main breakthrough in making archetypes more tangible and easy to grasp happened when Prof. Carol Pearson wrote the book “Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World”.

What are the twelve archetypes?

There have been many different versions of archetypes. There are books referring to 4 core archetypes or 6 archetypes or even 22 of them. In reality there are hundreds of archetypes that have been clustered in categories, to help people make sense of a complex world. The categorization of the 12 archetypes by C. Pearson offers a fairly wide and comprehensive range, which is still simple and memorable. See the image above the 12 different archetypes according to C. Pearson.

What is the practical application of archetypes in Leadership?

We can help you identify your dominant and silent archetypes. Identifying them will help you better understand yourself and how you experience and relate to the world. Becoming familiar with the model of archetypes will help you also to better understand others (your team, your boss, your customers). You will also be able to make more sense of how you and others have preferences around change vs. stability and independence vs. belonging. They will actually equip you with a very deep understanding of how you can increase your Change-Ability and Personal Influence.

I gained a lot of personal insight when I was able to identify that my dominant archetypes are the “innocent and the magician” archetypes. A combination of optimism and a desire for transformation, that allow me to see the bright side of constant change and also act as an enabler of transformation for individuals and organizations.

Would you be curious to know what your dominant archetypes are and what their impact is on you and others? Would you be curious to identify which of the archetypes you need to activate even more to increase your Change-Ability and Personal Influence? Would you be interested in joining one of our open seminars or even organize one for your team? We have created an exciting 1-day & 2-day workshop design, including self-reflection, videos, games, and support sessions.

Join the discussion on this post on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/thriving-vuca-world-help-archetypes-vassilis-chantziaras/?published=t
Communication

The Human Side to the Digital Revolution

The last few years have seen increasing concern about the role of digitalisation and its impact on people’s lives. The tech community is full of hope and drive but the common man regards it as the reason for feeling left behind by the pace of change. I believe that this is the main reason behind the protest vote which has resulted in Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to name just two examples. It represents a vote against the present system rather than for a meaningful alternative.

Connectivity means change happens faster, impacts further and is felt sooner than ever before. It is driven by The Three ‘A’s – Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics. Automation, or automatic control, can be seen in robotics and is the force behind The Internet of Things which allows your fridge to speak to your cellphone and potentially every other electrical device you own! Artificial Intelligence is the ability for machines to learn from the environment they are operating in and then change behaviour accordingly . Finally data analytics pores through data looking for patterns and trends to create information to make decision making more effective.

A 2017 study by the McKinsey Global Institute entitled ‘A Future That Works – Automation, Employment and Productivity’ estimates that 60% of all current occupations contain at least 30% of activities that are technically automatable merely by adapting currently available technology. These percentages increase dramatically when jobs include a high level of predictable physical activities and collecting or processing data. This means that both manual and knowledge workers will see a change in what they do and how they do it. Is this then in line with the worst fears of protest voters? If the system stays the same as it is presently is then yes, it is time to start worrying. However, the combined impact of the 3 As is highly disruptive to the system itself. Brynjolfsson and McAfee suggest that we are at the start of a great restructuring where how we work both as organisations and individuals is lagging far behind the advances in technology.

This creates an interesting situation. It makes no sense for humans to do activities which automation can do more efficiently and effectively – we cannot ‘out-machine’ the machines. So what can we do? The answer is in our imperfections! Richard Florida states that ‘Human creativity is the ultimate economic resource’. Humans can see the world for what is not and what it could be. While digitalisation enables, it is how it is guided by humans that makes the difference. Those companies that can create the conditions to harness the distinctly human side of humans will have a bright future. Those that don’t, won’t!

Change

Why not slip into something more uncomfortable?

By Tim Baxter, TCO Associate

Our schooling systems are the product of a society which took certainty and stability for granted. Young people grow up thinking that perfection, zero errors, is possible and that those who do not get full marks have something wrong with them. This form of mass imprinting creates the common held belief that at work we are paid to not make mistakes. How can this help companies achieve the holy trinity of innovation, initiative and creativity that almost every corporate website announces is part of its culture? It short, it cannot!

In today’s world of fast moving, complex and unpredictable change where clarity of direction has given way to ambiguity, perfection is a dangerous block to progress. What is needed is a move towards excellence – the best possible result in a specific situation. This shift in emphasis will require us to rethink how we learn not only in our education systems but also at work. 

Someone who always strives for perfection does everything to avoid mistakes which also includes avoiding risk and playing safe. Learning is an uncomfortable business, it means going to the outer reaches of your comfort zone and dipping your toe in uncertainty. Mistakes will happen, it is a new context for you, but that is where and how the learning happens. No one has ever learned anything, rather than just improved on past skills, without making errors. Speaking, reading, writing, riding a bike all involved trial and error it is just that we have forgotten the process of learning and take the skill for granted.

Some people are naturally inclined to be risk adverse but everyone could benefit from developing a sense of which type of errors are useful and when experimentation should be encouraged. Carol Dweck has spent much of her professional life researching the implications of a fixed mindset approach (where someone avoids anything which might lead to mistakes in their performance) and a growth mindset (which regards mistakes as part of the learning process). Her work looks at children’s education but the premise holds true for adults. When a boss gives feedback to a colleague and praises the individual rather than the effort the person has put into the task they are reinforcing a fixed mindset approach. If this is scaled up to company culture then we have exactly the opposite of what is required to face the reality we operate in today. If we need agility then we need to learn both as people as as organisations. This means making mistakes. Isn’t it time that we collectively slip into something more uncomfortable?

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