Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Larry Robertson: Thriving in Uncertain Times (Episode 232)

Larry Robertson: Thriving in Uncertain Times (Episode 232)

Larry Robertson returns to the podcast for this episode to talk about his new book and way of thinking about leadership, Rebel Leadership. He and Charlie talk about why the times we are living in now will be the norm for the century, the upshot of this uncertainty, why future proofing is inevitably going to be a no-win scenario, and how we can thrive despite difficulties of the work ahead. We all have the capability of leadership within us, and today’s conversation will inspire listeners to step into it. 

Key Takeaways:

[2:50] - Rebel and leadership are both terms that people are simultaneously attracted to and repelled by; however, the best aspect of both is how we can thrive in these uncertain times. Rebels are innovative, open, experimental, and adaptable. On the leadership side, the best leaders create an environment where everyone can lead in their own way. 

[8:25] - As we move forward in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world, we will experience risk in one of two ways: conventional risk and storm-surge risk. We are experiencing both more often and more simultaneously than the human race has before. 

[12:50] - Rather than trying to contain the uncertainty, we have to prepare for and learn to live in that uncertainty. Larry talks about structure in organizations and our own preparedness, and using that structure as support for your larger purpose. This VUCA world is an opportunity to create a new normal.

[16:30] - Larry and Charlie talk about the idea of future proofing, and how it can be dangerous to focus on future proofing, because it doesn’t allow you to see opportunities in the middle of difficult times. Future readiness recognizes that we have to continually adapt.

[19:35] - This new book is kind of an evolution out of Larry’s previous two books, focusing on how we lead out of our ideas into something bigger, and how leadership has changed. He combined four ideas to make this book: a sense of incompleteness, time relevance of uncertain times, looking for something new in leadership, and identifying patterns of success for people leading in uncertain times. 

[26:30] - The people that are creating value and impact are engaging and re-engaging in the creative process to not only materialize their best work, but also evaluate what that means, especially over time. Moving on this continuum can make it easier to get started on the next part of your body of work.

[30:10] - When advancing on our next body of work, it’s important to dig deep into what people have thought along the way, what went well and what went poorly, and what kept them on the path through the ups and downs. The back and forth of digging and advancing is part of the mix all the time. 

[33:35] - Larry talks about his interview process. With a broader audience, the more revelatory it is. If you can broaden out the spaces that you’re serving, you’re going to start to see patterns emerge. These patterns become lessons that can transfer.

[41:00] - A key thing about interviews is that we often think we need better answers, but in reality we need better questions, and the willingness to engage with them in a way that fits the question. 

[45:20] - Another thing to recognize is that during this interview and exploration process, we may not always get closure on a question or idea. Recognizing the power in the idea of accepting the incomplete, we have to begin to apply it across the board, not just to isolated experiences. 

[47:00] - Each of the five insights explored in the book are helpful and powerful, but what they do in combination surprised Larry the most. The interconnection became so important, and as he realized the power, he was able to emphasize that for readers.

[51:55] - As Charlie is writing his new book, Work Ways, this same interconnection becomes important as we examine how making changes in one aspect of work will affect everything else, especially in the times we live in today as we transition back to the workplace. The reality of the uncertainty around us is that it is real, but it is also necessary. Uncertainty is how we stay curious and advance ourselves.

[1:01:25] - Larry’s challenge for listeners is to think about leadership differently; it’s not leadership in the traditional way we have thought about it, but an inherent capacity in all of us. His invitation to listeners is to rethink what leadership is, realize that you have a place in it, and choose to step into it. 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Productive Flourishing

Start Finishing, by Charlie Gilkey

Rebel Leadership, by Larry Robertson

Body of Work, by Pamela Slim

Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing (formerly the Creative Giant Show) explores how to do the work that matters to become your best self in the world. Host Charlie Gilkey and occasional co-host Angela Wheeler take listeners on a deep dive into the lives of leaders, changemakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who are thriving in life and business by doing work that matters. Listen in to see how they cultivate meaning, success, and happiness as well as their approach to productivity, business, health, and the challenges (yes, even the deep, dark ones) that show up in their lives.