Leading in unprecedented times
It’s official – we live in uncertain and unpredictable times.
Countries in lockdown, financial markets in turmoil − this isn’t the way 2020 was supposed to pan out.
As humans, we want to be in control of our environment – we enjoy the safety that comes from having continuity between the past and the future – a future that is familiar and predictable. Humans want to feel that they are in control of their fate and future, and that is why it’s natural to feel the current discomfort when our future has suddenly become an unknown quantity.
Also, many wonder why we were not able to predict the current pandemic. Surely, with the expansion of human knowledge and all the advances of technology like AI our ability to forecast the future improves all the time? But Margaret Heffernan says that our expectation of the improvement was that it would be possible continuously and that at some stage we would perfect our forecasting. This pandemic has proven that we need to come to terms with the fact that life changes all the time in ways we can’t predict, and that uncertainty is a feature of human existence.
In a podcast on BBC Hard Talk Heffernan talks about this. She points out that the more we subcontract our thinking and our analysis and future prediction of what the world is to become to machines, the more we are rendering ourselves to incapable of independent thought. She ends by saying that human beings have a phenomenal capacity to experiment, to invent, and to explore and that in many ways we shouldn’t rely on forecasts to tell us what to do. Think for yourself, look around, have conversations, take risks, invent different things, explore by yourself, because human agency − the capacity of human beings to make choices and to impose those choices on the world − has created all the best things in the world today. And we need to cherish and protect it and not let it be taken from us by Big Tech who purport to know what will happen tomorrow.
During this crisis, SAICA has also put measures in place to ensure we continue to serve our members as usual.
We’ve established an online hub where you can access important information and read the latest news and get access to knowledge resources to assist you in this time (Visit https://www.accountancysa.org.za/covid-19/.) We are also hosting a free webinar series, Lockdown Leadership, to assist you to lead in this unprecedented time. Booking can be done on the online hub.
Gerinda Engelbrecht, Editor