23 Nov 2016

In order to be able to carry out our responsibilities effectively, we need to develop a management style, which is not simply reactive.  And this is not easy, because our ‘survival instinct’ teaches us to react with caution or defensiveness to any new or unexpected development, whether in a wide context, such as the market in which we operate, or a relatively narrow context, such as a discussion with a colleague.

As a result of this tendency, many opportunities in business are missed or lost.  Instead of stepping back and looking from a detached viewpoint, we link our own personal identity, falsely, with past experience or expectations that in fact have nothing to do with it.  Just as a soccer fan might have a miserable evening if his favourite team loses an ‘important’ match, so we can lose control of ourselves, and therefore of our ability to govern change, through identifying ourselves with our prejudices.

ATTITUDE – Act ‘Like Water’

Our ability to influence and control our surroundings begins with our ability to influence and control ourselves.  This means, first of all, the ability to ‘step outside’ our habitual framework and be ready to take a fresh look at our assumptions.  When this valuable ability becomes a habit, we can develop an attitude of flexibility, which enables us, like water flowing down a hillside, to reach our goals through being adaptable along the route.


  • Always finds the goal
  • Negotiates obstacles, flows around obstructions
  • Cannot be crushed or compressed
  • Happy to exist in different forms

For more on this, consider enrolling on the next series of our Governing Change programme, starting in February 2017, which equips managers with the skills, attitudes and disciplines needed to take their careers to the highest possible levels.