Public Leadership: The next 5 years

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Public Leadership: The next 5 years

  1. 1. Public Leadership: The Next 5 Years The thoughts of an uncertain, but hopefully reflective and thoughtful “pracademic”
  2. 2. Erwin Schwella• Professor of Public • Professorial Leadership, School of Fellow, Leiden Public Leadership Leadership, Stellenbosc Centre, Leiden h University, South University, The Africa Netherlands• es@sun.ac.za • es@sun.ac.za
  3. 3. The Key Observations• Points of Departure:• What happened to Joe Di Maggio? – On why Steve Jobs is (perhaps not) a useful leadership example for public leadership – “Prediction is very difficult: especially about the future.” Niels Bohr
  4. 4. The Key Observations• Public leadership over the next 5 years will be: – Transitorial rather than transformative – More about contextual societal and institutional conditions and constraints impacting on public leadership and action – Less about individual or even collective public leadership and action impacting on societal conditions, constraints and action
  5. 5. The Key Observations• Less about visions, answers and final solutions• More about transitions, questions and facilitation of learning to find solutions• More about exploring new global and local institutional options and processes through facilitated complex adaptive methods• Less about implementing visionary leadership plans and prescriptions
  6. 6. The Key Observations• Leadership will be determined rather than be determining• Metaphor: – Leadership in a Fish Bowl – Perhaps even during an Earth Tremor – Is it about changing the fish or changing the water and/or the fishbowl?
  7. 7. The Key Observations• The societal context, within which effective and ethical public leadership has to be practiced now, is best described by the famous Charles Dickens quote: – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; – it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; – it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; – it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; – it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; – we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; – we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."
  8. 8. The State of the Current Reality and the Current Reality of the State• Uncertain Transitions/Transitional Uncertainty• Institutional Fatigue and Fatigued Institutions• Public leaders without publics and publics without public leaders• Democratic governments without popular support and popularly supported governments without democracy
  9. 9. Manifestations of Uncertain Transitions and Transitional Uncertainty• Psychological reactions: – Anxiety, Stress, Anger• Sociological reactions – Alienation, Radicalism, Uprisings, Revolution• Concrete manifestations of reactions: – Arab Spring – London Riots – Occupy Wall Street – South African Service Delivery Protests – Global Financial Crisis – Global Climate Change
  10. 10. Base Dynamics of the Current Reality• Inequality• Differential Access• Rising Expectations• Sustainability
  11. 11. Base Dynamics of the Current Reality• Global and local inequality – Inequality realities and trends • Global Gini Coefficient 68-70: Milanovic (2005 and 2008) • Higher than the world’s most unequal countries: South Africa and Brazil • Top 5 per cent of individuals in the world receive about 1/3 of total world income, and top 10 per cent receive one-half • Ratio between the average income received by the richest 5 per cent and the poorest 5 per cent in the world is 165 to 1 • Richest earn in about 48 hours as much as the poorest in a year. – Inequality within countries? What are the trends?
  12. 12. Base Dynamics of the Current Reality• Differential access – Perhaps based on inequality and scarcity, too little to go around – Mechanisms to control access globally and locally • Mix of political and economic measures for public and private goods and services
  13. 13. Base Dynamics of the Current Reality • “Markets and/or military might”• Rising Expectations and demands for equality and access – Increased demands for equality and access at the highest increasingly “visible” level of the highest global standard• Sustainability• This creates global and local public leadership challenges
  14. 14. Public Leadership Challenges• Angry and alienated demands to deal with the big issues related to inequality, access, expectations and sustainability• Public leadership is being determined by the challenges rather than determining what is to be done about the challenges• Three possible insufficient meta outcomes: – Malthusian collapse / MIT “Limits to Growth”
  15. 15. Public Leadership Challenges – Schumpeterian innovation / Joel Barker: Always Another Door Opening – Applying less than adequate mere muddling through methods• Rather than these inadequate, naïve or neglecting options there is a need to find ways to deal with wicked/adaptive problems
  16. 16. Public Leadership Challenges• Conceptual and strategic options in the approaches linked to dealing with adaptive or “wicked” problems• Leadership as facilitating learning (Heifetz)• Leadership as adaptation and learning in complex adaptive systems (Gunderson, Hartzog)
  17. 17. Public Leadership Options to Dealingwith Challenges of an Adaptive Type Contextual Wicked / Leadership Leadership Transition and Change Challenges Adaptive Options Actions Strategies Problems Inequality Climate Activist Leading as Leadership as building Change Vision consensus Access Poverty Transformational Leading as Leadership as creating Action reconciliation Expectations Differential Learning Leading as Leadership as power and Development Learning enforcement Sustainability World Complex Leading as Leadership as facilitating Population Adaptive Following learning Growth Global Leading as Financial Forcing Crisis
  18. 18. Public Leadership Dilemmas• Global governance deficit• Global, national, local conflicts of interest• Institutional deficit• Institutional fatigue• Scaling challenges• Individual / collective leadership capture• Leadership disempowerment and incapacity
  19. 19. Public Leadership DilemmasDo we need to replace the fish in the bowl,the water in the fish bowl, the fish bowl orall of the above?Merely replacing the fish in the same waterand/or replacing the water in the samebowl, may not suffice.

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