Leaders in their Third Turn care about systems. Not just systems inside the organization; they care about externalities. They care about lingering effects. Their sense of mission moves forward in time to their grandchildren's grandchildren and the grandchildren's grandchildren of others.
Every now and then someone with whom I am conversing about this responds as if caring about generations beyond one's self is something jokey-jokey. They dismiss it with a wave of their hand or the rolling of eyes. If I were looking for a sure sign of someone not yet at their Third Turn, or someone not yet able to see it, this is it. I want the leaders of the institutions that affect my life and the lives of those I love to be emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically mature enough that they care about how what they do affects people alive and people who will be born. I know this is what keeps my healthcare-employed children going as they put on and peel off PPE equipment every day.
I want this maturity to be in the halls of power and commerce! I want it to lead higher education and spiritual communities and village board meetings!
The Bildung movement, largely being given oxygen in Scandinavia, has been thinking long and hard about this. They offer the Bildung Rose (pictured above) as a means to map out the effects of big decisions and to think about how a culture is built.
A key voice in this movement is Lene Rachel Andersen, with whom we have an extended conversation in an upcoming Third Turn Podcast. Use of a tool like this to build future value and foster succession and legacy requires the thinking time that Maestro-level leaders must create. Even more, it initiates the sort of conversation that we need in board rooms and on corporate retreats. And even more, it needs to be what we are talking about with those we mentor, those with whom we live, and those with whom we are in community.
Just as I want institutional leaders to be mature, I want to be engaged with the young adults in my orbit who need to grow their maturity. I want them at real warming firesides and at tangible fragrant cafes in profound mental wrestling, rather than behind closed doors with heads down trying to fight off the 111th level of the alien swamp monster threatening the ice cream land of Ne’er Do Well.
A Maestro-level leader making practical use of the Bildung Rose picks a subject: product mix, workplace culture in a COVID era, environmental footprint of the firm, or even planning for next year. Lay the Bildung Rose over that subject and ask what is present, what is missing, and what comes next - to advance the firm's development and effectiveness over the long term.
Another practical use of this tool comes the next time you do a VUCA exercise or an in-depth SWOT. Put it in the mix to help you dig up the data needed for innovation and forward-thinking.
We are in a moment to stop blaming inept politicians and biased media. We need to pick up our hammers and start building again. Or, should I say bildung-ing again?