The Power of 8


Everyone teaches “leadership” today. In our view, the whole concept of leader and follower is now passé. A new narrative is emerging about the abilities required to effectively navigate the future. Individuals and organizations are busy trying to figure out how to adapt to the external factors that are reshaping our environment, so it is important to pause and ask the question… “What are we doing to reshape ourselves to operate within emergent environments and be ready for whatever might come?”

Forget bulleted lists of leadership skills. Let’s engage in a new conversation about the pressing need for broader and systemic sensemaking abilities. Co-creating in new emergent contexts requires re-tooling our ability to make sense as individuals and as groups. This requires us to step outside of ourselves and consider how our current modus operandi may be contributing to change, but not necessarily progress.

Since humans are still having a tough time figuring this one out, we turned to other complex and dynamic living organisms to observe how they thrive within emergent environments. Consider aspen groves and their root system as a holistic example. One of the largest living organisms on the planet, a grove starts from a single parent seed and spreads its roots to create new trees. The root systems actually outlive the trees; aspen trees can live up to 100 years, the root systems can live for hundreds to thousands of years. The process works through a single, foundational, interdependent root system.

What are the foundational, interdependent roots of an ever-adapting human system?

That was the very question that we wanted to answer. Several years ago, the Kiely Group set out on a journey to answer the following question: “What does it mean for people to be ready for anything?” From this formal, global research study we discovered an interdependent system containing 8 proficiencies that constitute what it takes to be nimble and “ready for anything”:

  • Co-cre8: Develop and practice emergent processes to create the future
  • Contempl8: Develop and practice mental discipline
  • Innov8: Develop and practice creativity
  • Investig8: Develop and practice critical thinking and judgment
  • Communic8: Develop and practice ethical influence
  • Affili8: Develop and practice relationship, network and community building
  • Activ8: Develop and practice effective implementation and execution
  • Evalu8: Develop and practice the ability to demonstrate impact and results

This research – and our experience – tells us that even more than “effective leadership” we need informed citizenship. In order to keep pace with today’s work environment, individuals must first become competent and valuable organizational “citizens” – people who are up to any challenge and nimble enough to stay ahead of the emergent realities of the 21st century.

In short: we all need to be ready for anything. We need to be Powered by 8.