Leading in a VUCA world : integrating leadership, discernment and spirituality
Kobus Kok, Jacobus
Heuvel, Steven C. van den
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We live in a particularly revolutionary time. To some it seems, in the words of W.B. Yeats’ (1919) famous “The Second Coming” poem, that “[t]hings fall apart, the centre cannot hold.” 1 “It is both the best and worst of times,” to use the words of Charles Dickens (1859) in A Tale of Two Cities; our time could perhaps be called “A Tale of Twin Towers and Multipli-Cities.” Many would agree that we live in one of the fastest changing times in history and that the change we experience now might be just as large and significant as the change between the Middle Ages and the modern world. We live amidst a digital and knowledge revolution, a knowledge worker economy of which the World Wide Web is its utmost symbol. We are connected globally like never before, but in a sense also disconnected in significant ways (De Wachter 2012). We are flooded with and have access to exponential knowledge, literally in the palm of our hand, but often realize that having that knowledge at hand does not always mean we acquire wisdom, character and discernment. We are constantly digitally connected and are expected to stay in contact and virtually online. We have shaped our tools but quickly realize that our tools inexorably shape us. This constantly digitally connected universe created a new form of morality, as we all realize when not answering our emails or WhatsApp’s in what others consider to be a reasonable time. Thus, we are overflooded with incoming streams of communication on several platforms. Some people feel the need to announce their excuses on social media platforms if they will be “offline” for a couple of weeks and “take a break” from social media. The point is, we are overflooded with incoming information and impulses, and many do not have the luxury to stop and think or discern (Rosenberg and Feldman 2008).
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