• Print

Why The World Needs More Leaders Who Are Unreasonably Ambitious

Friday 26 May, 2023
The difference between leaders who thrive in volatile times versus simply surviving is a mindset of unreasonable ambition. The world is on notice. We are at the edge of a new frontier with humanity facing an existential crisis which can only be solved by all of us working together. For leaders, having unreasonable ambition for what’s possible and developing the ability to evolve in real-time for the future as it emerges will make the difference between thriving and merely surviving.

Ask just about anyone how they are experiencing life right now and they’ll tell you it feels like a permanent rollercoaster ride with few feeling confident and equipped with the tools to deal with the stress that comes from constant change and disruption and not knowing how to adapt quickly enough to thrive.

It’s not letting up any time soon

In the world of work, the challenges have become even more precipitous with business leaders facing an unknown future trying to figure out how to navigate the way themselves and for their people, armed only with an outdated roadmap, bad intel and obsolete operating systems.

It is the combination of unprecedented uncertainty and successive shocks that have created the most challenging environment leadership teams have ever had to face, doing what they can to accelerate their learning to evolve quickly to keep at pace with change and not get left behind.

It’s not happening fast enough

On the ground, the casualties are piling up as so many are choosing to run away from the storms thundering down on their businesses seeking comfort, shelter and a place to hide. You may recognise them. 'Emu leaders - on the defensive, watching and waiting, leading from the sidelines all the while hoping and secretly praying for it to all to blow over. 

These leaders are most prevalent in traditional, more bureaucratic business environments. They have been successful in climbing the ladder steering the troops through stable, operating conditions, relying on known ways of thinking to solve business challenges, leading as master controllers. Their motivators are fear and a craving for certainty. Their power drawn from expert knowledge and status. Until now, their approach to problem-solving has led them to set up their organisations to measure a successful past by relying on standard operating systems that capitalise on existing logic and outdated practices to solve for a future they have never confronted. And like the dodo bird, their fate is inevitable.

It’s time for a new leadership mindset

The reality is that it’s going to take a very different kind of leader to successfully steer organisations into the future with extreme stakes of people and planet on the line - one that’s bold and adaptive with the capability to get front of the curve and read the signs of today better. Modern-day leaders who hold unreasonable ambitious for what’s possible, renegade thinkers with a pioneering world view who challenge the status quo and execute big and beyond. These are the folks who hold relentless optimism about the prospect of changing the world and confront brutal realism about the obstacles in doing so.

But to do so also requires them to get out of their own way. To build a leadership mindset that forces them to overcome fear, doubt and resistance and drives them to action no matter what - because success is a conscious choice.

Think about Alexander the Great, one of the greatest conquerors in history. Alexander was ambitious yes, but he would never have conquered the whole of the known world if he had been reasonable. He set unreasonable goals that set his sights beyond Greek civilisation. 

At the end of the day, the secret to leading people and planet to thrive is the business leader who learns to create the future for themselves - listening to the calling of their higher ambitions and setting goals that are viewed by others as otherwise unreasonable to achieve extraordinary things and create impossible change.


Author Credits

Vanessa Vershaw, author of Unreasonable Ambition: Renegade thinking for leaders to create impossible change is an award-winning speaker, facilitator and peak-performance coaching psychologist, entrepreneur, and transformation strategist. She is a trusted advisor to executives, key decision-makers, ASX-20 and Fortune 100 organisations globally. For more information visit www.reinventionconsulting.com.au 
  • Print