Yes, it is that time of year. The shortest day of the year. Time to go inward, reflect on the lessons learned from the past year and make intentions for the coming year. I thought about jumping on the bandwagon with my predictions for 2011, but instead went in the direction of two solstice wishes I have for 2011:
Empathy Becomes a New Leadership Skill: In John Marshall Robert’s TEDx speech “The Global Urgency of Everyday Empathy” he passionately argues that the era of empathy is now upon us, connecting this often ‘misunderappreciated’ psychological skill to the global climate crisis and to the sustainability movement at large. His core message is that to be successful change agents and leaders, we need to start thinking from the perspective of our audience and speak to them from their world view. On a practical level, he suggests two best practices that hopefully will catch on in 2011: root your cause in something you really care about and link it to a strong purpose and practice asking three questions: What is going on? How is it going? Why does this matter to you? May 2011 be the year empathy becomes a core leadership skill!
A Culture of Creativity is Revived: According to a Harvard Business Review blog post by Professor Teresa Amabile, creativity is under threat. She identifies three key ingredients that foster creativity: smart people who think differently, passionate engagement and a creative atmosphere–her research has shown that people are most creative when they are on a mission, intrinsically motivated by a love for what they are doing. When I am doing my art, I find three elements support my creativity: willingness to take risks, permission to “fail” and the permission to go back to something later. My second solstice wish is that a culture of creativity is revived. Not to get dramatic, but I really think our future depends on it.