Pioneering leadership isn’t something that most people think about. Ask different people what they think it is, and they will most likely give you different definitions. Ask them whether they think it is something that’s important or relevant to them, most will say no to both.
If most people are not thinking about pioneering leadership and don’t think it is relevant or important for them, even fewer thinking to themselves how can I create a better future, we typically don’t think in those terms.
If, however, I was to ask you what was important to you, you’d most likely be able to tell me; you’d be able to tell me what you are trying to achieve, what problems you had that you are trying to overcome, and if pushed you’d be able to tell me what hopes and dreams you have for the future. Those hopes and dreams, problems and challenges or even opportunities might relate to your life in general, your work and career, organisations or communities you are involved with, or even broader things relating to your country or even issues in the wider world. They might also relate to others, your family, friends, people in your organisation or community, in your country, even fellow human beings elsewhere in the world, who you don’t know personally.
Pioneering Leadership in Uncharted Waters is something created by me (Jonathan Blain) that should be both highly important and relevant to you, if you care about the outcomes you wish to achieve for yourself, others, organisations, communities, countries or the wider world, including the whole of humanity, all life and things in the world. It doesn’t matter who you are, what the issues you are facing or the outcomes you desire, Pioneering Leadership in Uncharted Waters is a philosophy and strategy that you can use to get better results and outcomes, which create a better future for you than you would achieve if you approached what you are doing in the normal way.
If you take any goal, problem or opportunity that you are facing or desire, there will be others who either are right now or have in the past faced the same or similar situation. Amongst all those, there will be some who have discovered the best way of getting the best outcomes. In the business world, the way those outcomes are achieved is described as “Best Practice”. When we learn anything, we typically want to learn best practice, not average practice or worst practice. There will be some people are at the leading edge using best practice and behind them will be the mainstream and behind them will be the laggards, the people doing things in the worst way. Pioneering Leadership is about starting at the leading edge and moving into the metaphoric space in front of best practice and mainstream in what I have termed “Uncharted Waters”.
The objective of Pioneering Leadership is to create better outcomes and / or to create those outcomes in a better way; either way creating a better future. This is achieved by one of four different strategies:
- Being First
And by doing what is:
When you think of pioneering leadership, you tend to think of it in relation to a traditional definition and interpretation of leadership e.g. leading other people to the achievement of goals. Pioneering Leadership transcends these definitions and includes leading yourself and well as perhaps leading others. When you first think about leading, you might think about leading people, but there is another type of leading, which is about being in front of others e.g. you might be leading a running race, be a leader in any type of competition, leading in performance e.g. the highest achieving salesman in a company, a company that is leading their industry, a doctor who is leading in cancer treatment, a teacher who teaches so well that your pupils get better results than other teachers etc. I am sure you get the gist and can apply it to yourself, your life, your work perhaps or your situations.
When you are trying to accomplish anything, it is easy to think that the only thing that matters is the expertise needed in that thing, for example, a doctor trying to find a cure for cancer, might think that it is only the science that matters. The truth is that there are generic factors that have an impact on the result. Often, we don’t think about these things, they are often unseen, unrecognised and intangible, but just because you aren’t immediately aware of them doesn’t mean that they are not there and don’t exist. Just because we can’t see radio waves around us, doesn’t mean they are not there.
A good example of these generic things can be seen in the late Stephen Covey’s highly successful book: “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”, which sold over 10 million copies. He came up with seven habits that were applicable to everyone, regardless of who you are or what you are trying to accomplish. These seven habits were:
- Be proactive.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Put first things first.
- Think win/win.
- Seek first to understand then be understood.
- Sharpen the saw.
Pioneering Leadership is similar, in being a generic philosophy and strategy, that applies to anyone trying to accomplish anything. Pioneering Leadership is often seen as something that is practised only by natural pioneers and game changers. Most people practising it, don’t even think they are practising it, they don’t use the name, they just do what feels natural to them. Academic research has shown that game changers represent a small percentage of the population, they are the innovators, with a fountain of creativity and imagination and the drive and obsession that gives them the resolve and determination to bring their ideas to reality and change the game.
I am not suggesting you can be one of these types of people if you aren’t one naturally, but what I am suggesting is that rather than pioneering leadership being something that just natural pioneering leaders do, it can also be a strategy and a philosophy that anyone can use to create a better future, in particular, to achieve the five following things:
- Make the seemingly impossible, possible.
- Solve difficult problems in unique ways.
- Create and exploit exciting opportunities.
- Compete against tough competition and win.
- Achieve extraordinary things.
- Drive progress and move the Human Race forward.
It can be applied to your life, your career, your business or organisation, local, national or international issues and to big global challenges.
Never in human history has there been a greater need for new ideas, new thinking and new solutions than right now. Pioneering Leadership is the answer and the solution, not just new ideas, new thinking and new solutions, but action that leads to results that are beyond the mainstream and best practice, at the leading edge, where the extraordinary becomes possible for those to dare to be first, new, different and better.
You might have heard of the mantra in the business world, “innovate or die”, but the reality is that we are living a world of exponential change, where change is happening all the time in virtually every area of human endeavour and enterprise. What matters most is where you are on the change curve, are you ahead of the change or behind the change or are you the one leading the change towards a better future? There is a cause and effect impact in play in the changing world. Pioneering Leadership is all about being in uncharted waters, beyond the mainstream and best practice creating better ways. It can be a frightening as well as an exciting place to be, it takes courage to practice pioneering leadership in uncharted waters, but the prize can be extraordinary. There is a balance between risk and reward, and the outcomes of pioneering leadership are uncertain, which is why it requires courage as well as skill. The adage “nothing ventured nothing gained” is true of pioneering leadership. Rather than pioneering leadership being binary e.g. something that you do for everything or something you don’t, you can see pioneering leadership as a strategy to use in your toolkit, where it is the best tool for the job. Normally Pioneering Leadership is good when you’ve got a difficult problem, perhaps when what you are doing isn’t working on one extreme, or perhaps when you don’t have a problem but you want to achieve something extraordinary rather than ordinary, or where you want to compete against tough competition and win, or where you want to create and exploit exciting opportunities or simply when you want to achieve truly extraordinary things.
Are you interested?