The one sentence summary

The old leadership rules no longer work so a new type is required based on a flexible understanding of change.

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  • The skills needed to be a 21st century leader are very different from that of the previous century. Leadership needs to become more of a focus than leaders themselves.
  • There is an overload of distracting information, and an impatience for short-term results from interested parties. We have become more frightened, angry, distracted, bored, intolerant, impatient, cynical, opinionated, and informed (but not always helpfully).
  • Comfortable but outdated models of macroeconomics no longer hold true, so leaders need to reorient to situational fluency – an ability to understand and move between spheres and areas of expertise. This means ignoring out of date facts and spotting change when it’s coming – fast.
  • This new cross-connectivity requires a shift in thinking to consider 8 areas of paradoxical change that are simultaneously both bad and good. These are ‘quantum super-positions’, and are plotted on a Kythera, a model that looks similar to a clock face and which was designed by the Greeks.
  • The 8 contradictions or axes are:
  1. Information v. inundation
  2. Internationalism v. insularity
  3. Immediacy v. impatience
  4. Intelligence v. insurgency
  5. Infrastructure v. isolation
  6. Innovation v. intimidation
  7. Inclusivity v. inequality
  8. Inspiration v. inversion
  • Leadership needs to learn the lessons of the past, study the present, prepare for the future, and commit to the leadership spirit.


  • Creative thinkers always come with one simple conceit. They genuinely believe there is such a thing as a brand-new idea – there isn’t. There’s just the history they don’t know yet. All ideas have been done before, but the context is often fresh.
  • Patience is not one virtue but three: waiting without complaint involves self-control, humility and generosity.
  • The more exclamation marks an online comment has, the more mentally unbalanced the writer.
  • Too many leaders are overconfident whilst being under-skilled or incompetent.


  • Not much, but there is a lot of detail to wade through.