Today is 26 April 2019. As I sit here in Kabul, I think about the innovation and creativity required to move this great nation through another period of change. These next few weeks mark significant days in the history of Afghanistan. Mujahedin Victory Day is on the 28th the Loya Jirga will occur on April 29 through 2 May and Ramadan begins on May 6.
I am particularly focused on the Loya Jirga. It is comprised of over 2500 key leaders, commanders, followers and supporters from across the country traveling to Kabul in order to conduct their grand Tribal Council session where they would decide on their political leadership, announce their party position regarding the peace talks with the Taliban, adopt new laws and settle national and regional issues as well as the upcoming presidential election.
To put this into perspective, all of the key national leaders are in one location over a period of a week risking their lives and the well-being of their families to create something that has never been created before. There is nothing more complex and with the potential of a long-term impact than the decisions that will be made in the next few weeks.
I can think of no other time when so many important issues are being faced or when there was more of a need for imagination and creativity.
I also think about the businesses across the world that are addressing critical issues that affect the long-term well-being of their business, their employees, global suppliers and all of the clients they serve.
In each of these cases there is a desperate need for the application of new thinking and a time for (1) Dynamic imagination that is carefully linked to, (2) What is possible, and all based on, (3) Extensive experience. It’s quite clear that when we discover new things, places or ideas our experience is never sufficient to have imagined it in the first place.
In both of these cases, there seems to be a second constant which is that this is a meeting of senior and deeply-experienced people. They have brought with them some of the best thinkers and are focused on “Forward Planning and Past Learnings”.
As we move from our imagination to what is possible our experience as to what is practical comes to play. This includes the experience to create coherent propositions that reflect both the current and future realities. But it is also constrained by not knowing what is actually possible thus linking us to the third element of the experience where we can apply new thoughts, directions and ways of doing things by understanding what is possible to go from a vision to reality.
Businesses have the luxury of bringing together experienced practical advisors in an atmosphere where their lives literally do not depend on their success. It does have a common element where business leaders must bring together senior players that have imagination, an understanding of what is possible and the experience to bring it all together.
For the people of Afghanistan, their leaders are answering the most important question that leaders of nations have responded to for a very long time… “What is the price for peace?”.
I encourage you to watch and learn from some of the most creative leaders, in one of the dangerous places in the world as they address the most complex issues and to apply these learnings to the way you operate your businesses and how you measure your advisors.
It is possible and critically important to be innovative while you stand on the edge.