Moral imagination is one of the most important leadership skills you need to future proof your business.
The recent crises have proven that the skills we most need as a human race are not based on analysis and thinking anymore. Instead, they are based on imagination and creativity. The former skills are part of the Age of Information, and the latter, the Age of Imagination.
As we move away from the Information Age into the Imagination Age, your leadership skills need to change too. The skills we have got used to deem as valuable, such as thinking and analysis, will no longer be fit for purpose.
What is moral imagination?
Creativity has been defined as the ability to generate ideas that are original and unexpected, but that are considered being useful or important. However, most likely you don’t just want to come up with great ideas but to make a difference in the world too. And that requires ‘moral imagination’.
Moral imagination means:
- being sensitive enough to be able to visualise a positive change and
- taking inspired action for the service of others and/or of the planet
Actually, research shows that we already think about moral and relational issues. And, for example, movements such as the ‘Black Lives Matter’, ‘Climate Reality’, and ‘Me too’ demonstrate that we do something about them too. In effect, as a human race, we are already practicing moral imagination! But, what does it mean for business leadership?
How to cultivate moral imagination in business leadership?
As Jacqueline Novogratz argues in her book Manifesto for Moral Revolution, moral imagination is a muscle that consists of empathy and action taking. She says:
So, moral imagination can be developed – like a muscle! – by practicing. It requires awareness and going beyond our comfort zones to really understand what has to be changed. However, it is also linked to other important skills that any future-proof leader needs, such as deep listening, humbleness, and audacity. Therefore, it is first and foremost an internal process.
Whereas we do acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers, we are willing to ask better questions. As a tribe of Future-Proofers, I am sure we can come up with better ideas and action plans that are based on humanity, opportunity, choice, and dignity for us all on this planet.