Two profound examples come to mind, both concerning the climate. The first is John Elkington’s Triple Bottom Line, a concept revolving around the three Ps: people, planet and profit, which, as he stated on its 25th anniversary, needs reassessment and some strategic fine-tuning.
The other is from the marketing expert and author Philip Kotler, who has called for a ‘degrowth movement’, and rightly so. For someone who defined marketing and advertising as ‘creating demand’, he reversed his stringent thought leadership and instead embraced the much-needed constraining of consumption and ‘growing our population at a slower rate’.
If ideas were more fluid, we’d flow with the current state of affairs, while rigid definitions and academia would become more adaptive, transforming over time. But what does this tell us about leadership? Rightly or wrongly, Elkington and Kotler were willing to ensure the state of business or economics, and moreover the world, weren’t harmed by their formerly fixed opinions: a fine example of a liquid mindset.
In its simplest embodiment, to act like water is about being fluid and free-thinking. But it’s also about letting go and riding the wave of uncertainty – and this requires organisations and leaders to put their ego to one side. In this way, we can enable new perspectives to come to the surface, and eradicate unnecessary titles and hierarchies to create a culture that flows. By acting more fluidly, we can embody sustainable practices and work towards the collective goal of progress.
Danni Mohammed is the founder of creative studio GentleForces. A seasoned strategist and transformation leader, she is focused on driving teams and collaboration with partners to deliver large-scale solutions with impact.
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