Illuminating the Blind Spot of Leadership

Design principles for evolving high-velocity business environments

Immersion—becoming fully engaged in the contexts at issue. In the words of Brian Arthur:
observe, observe, observe. All profound innovations occur in an atmosphere of
immersion. In that atmosphere, or sphere, one fully observes all that is happening and is
also open to ideas from outside its boundaries.
Interpretation—becoming conscious of one’s own and other people’s views and moving across all of them
with ease. Nonaka’s principle of multi-discipline and multi-viewpoint dialogue supports the
development of new interpretations. McKinsey’s Richard Foster brings artists into
corporate strategy conversations to inspire new interpretations.
Imagination—a quality of observation that involves seeing and sensing: seeing objects and sensing
emerging patterns that suggest future possibilities. The imagination, says Henri Bortoft, is
an “organ of perception.” To imagine is to “redirect one’s attention,” as Varela puts it,
from objects to sources and patterns.


Inspiration and Intuition
—the senses that allow one to recognize and strive for the highest possibilities.
This is the level of primary knowing that Eleanor Rosch talks about, the level of
presencing one’s highest possibility. And it is the level Kahane was speaking of when he
talked about the turning point of stillness in his Guatemala story.
Intention—the alignment of one’s will with what is trying to emerge as the larger whole.79 One of the
best leverages for changing the structure of organizational fields lies in the conscious use
of one’s intention. “Intention is not the most powerful force” says Brian Arthur, “it is the
only force.”
Instant execution—rapid experimentation and prototyping in order to capitalize on
emerging opportunities. At this stage, a laser focus on instant execution and fast-cycle
experimentation and learning are paramount. Execution also means terminating
experiments and options that do not work.
Implementation—embedding and embodying the seeds of innovation in appropriate structures. These
structures facilitate the next phase of evolution, emergence, and flow.