CtK's Brand of Leadership

We want to talk a little bit about Teri Kanefield’s perspective here and what it means for our work and our nation’s democracy:

This is what the work of Cultivate the Karass is all about: Training leaders who can handle the big, complex problems that we continue to face in our democracy and our world.

Why is this so important? Because the environment we now work within is Volatile, Uncertain Complex/Chaotic, and Ambiguous. In the leadership development field, we call it VUCA for short. The world has become a VUCA world. For those leaders who gain strength and risk taking capability through certainty, the question becomes: How to move through the world with volatility, uncertainty, chaos, complexity, and ambiguity? As Teri Kanefield points out, paraphrasing other scholars whose research has also proven it, authoritarians loathe complexity.

This is where leadership in the midst of complexity - the very core of our CtK mission - is essential democracy-building work.

Each time we host a Campfire to welcome a new cohort of Fellows, there is amazement that CtK can foster dialogue between conservatives and liberals. But we know that these leaders are all patriots, all people with the same agenda – how to foster the great democratic experiment that is the United States of America – and all people who can manage the complexity required to move our nation forward.

Because of how CtK selects, models, and teaches leadership, there is no room for authoritarian impulses. (So much so that we never really considered that was the ideological position never present in the room.) Any aversion to complexity is an automatic disqualifier for our brand of leadership.

And our brand of leadership is what the world needs right now. There is so much to gain from the complexity of our democratic experiment – and from the leadership experiment that CtK is conducting.