Consequences of limited leadership

We are all aware of every action bearing a consequence, and this carries within itself a distinct limitation; the effect of the action’s own limitations itself alongwith the path the action would lead towards unseen consequences. And limited approach can be a catastrophe for both the act and the leadership leading it.

Every action contains within itself a set of permissibles as a part as its properties. If you eat too much junk food, you are going to land up gaining cellulose, or being a severe taskmaster will lead to people abhorring you. You may have to act, for there may lie no respite to action, but what action is the correct one? Or is the foundation of ‘correct or right action’ itself a volition misinterpreted to the core?

There are many questions to answer to such a seemingly simple question; perhaps this is how consequences can be best understood: why actions have consequences in the first place, how are wrong or unintended consequences best avoided and what could be the effects of the consequences in terms of time and scale.

Actions have consequences: because it is inherent in the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and motion. But the greater benefit of having a consequence is in its telling us whether we were right in our assumptions of did not look through our decisions with keen observatory lenses.

Consequences are neutral to its properties: and hence, what is considered good or bad, right or wrong, correct or incorrect is our expectation, and not the duty of the consequence to satisfy our ignorant ego. And this is where the limited leadership aspect often plays out.

Consequences are always long term: even if they aren’t apparent in the shorter span of memory. Actions will bear fruits and those would lead us to further actions as a part of its trajectory, making the joy or pain long and unending in terms of time and scale.

The short and long term implications for leadership and its success lies in the ability to realise this disguised truth if success is the intended outcome. But more often than not, short term need for success drives us to do crazy things, when observed from a distant past. We can remedy our actions to focus on being unlimited in our leadership of ourselves and our teams by observing scenarios across the unlimited span of human existence and its history quite easily. But if we are limited to only viewing our decisions from the angle of satisfying short term outcomes, the long term history would invariably fail to recognize the efforts, albeit painful and unintended it might have been. This truth needs to be taught multiple times and be a guiding principle for every leader worth their salt.

Every action carries within itself certain consequences; knowledge can lead to light at the end of the tunnel, but knowledge also is unending in time and scale. Hence the morality of unlimited learning is professed. But parallel to knowledge lies observation, and application of knowledge using observation can be the right yardstick of guidance. Else it becomes perfunctory emphasis on a narrow vision spectrum. Needing everything to be packed into elevator pitches and neat bites are painful in the longer terms of time and scale. Consider our addiction to junk food; it contains ample amounts of energy in the short term, bringing joy and satisfaction, but leading to irreparable harm to our bodies over time and scale, thanks to the slow effects of addiction through short term happiness.

So what causes us to emphasise on narrow vision spectrum? This has been spelt multiple times over the ages across literature but humans seem to be in-built for focus on short term success, living one moment at a time in glorious minute bubbles rather than fulfilling decades. One may argue that biologically, we owe it to our genetic pre-disposition towards survival of the momentary crisis and hence the pre-genetic refusal to see properties of our decisions across long impacting scale of consequences. We aren’t we the super intelligent species after all?

A short or narrow vision spectrum is viewing or understanding things only to aid delivery of objectives without acknowledging the de-facto consequences in the long term. Short, crisp knowledge has a tendency of aiding survival of the moment, and missing out on long-term gains, akin to short-selling, unless it is pre-packed with adequate information aforehand.

Long vision spectrum requires a higher amount of dedication towards the objective/s and allied effects. #COVID and its management today is a great example of neglecting health and medical concerns for technological improvements. But on hindsight, parts of it were a boon; what would we do locked-up without the technological prowess of digitization to connect while we are isolated under lockdowns? The short-term objective was driven by the need to connect using buttons and clicks without realizing its benefits being so relevant for everyone to experience during pandemic times!

A long term spectrum could be the ability to deliver drugs and medications through digitized transactions, just like online banking, and I’m hopeful the studies required to deliver such benefits is already underway somewhere across the globe, analysing knowledge alongwith its consequences by an unlimited leadership team for humanity to survive the odds.

Author of Reasoning Our Choices and co-Founder, & a passionate Leadership Coach