In-the-moment leadership: everything is concrete

In the moment leadership

It sounds like nonsense, but we must make some distinctions

A distinction between the concrete and the abstract, between the simple and the complicated.

But the abstract must have something concrete to be abstract in. Otherwise, we can’t even perceive it. Quite concretely. The organization diagram, the statement of intent, or the conversation method may be abstract, but what does it actually look like? Right there on the paper, the screen, or inside the head. Which expression does abstraction concretely get?

Similarly, with the simple and complex. The organization, the task, and the relationship may be complex, but how does it simplify into something that – right now – should lead to orientation or decision-making? That something is complex means that it is connected to many things. But even the most interconnected thing will have a simplified manifestation, right now.

In in-the-moment leadership, a fine line is drawn between the abstract and the concrete, between the complex and the simple

But the focus is always on how it actually appears concrete and simple now, right here in the situation.

Therefore, leaders and organizations have a special responsibility to shape the abstract and the complex in ways that are loyal to its practical application and make a completely practical and concrete difference.

If you have a value set called “Integrity, sustainability, and punctuality,” then the values should be measured on whether they are practically helpful to employees in completely concrete situations. If they remain abstract, or contribute to increased complication, then they are not good values. They may express fine hopes and aspirations, but if they are not immediately helpful, then they are not helpful at all.

So, the key is to assess everything according to a concrete helpfulness parameter in completely practical situations

To look for concreteness in abstractions, to look for simplicity in complexity

It simply requires that abstractions and complexity are not expected to contain everything or express a truth, but only need to be helpful.

Think of all the organization’s abstractions as if they were maps. That all the abstract maps of the organization make up the organization’s own atlas. A map is an abstraction of an area. The map IS not the area, it is an abstraction of it. Therefore, the concreteness is not the area, but the character of the map, the lines, and the drawings. The map should be measured on whether it is helpful to the one who needs to use it. It should not be measured on whether it actually shows the area, because that’s absurd. It’s just colored ink on paper.

It is the responsibility of the in-the-moment leader to make abstractions and complexity concrete and simple so that they are actually helpful. Not to convince or translate, but to contribute to shaping the abstractions together with those who actually need to use them.

It is actually very concrete, but not always simple for the in-the-moment leader. It is concrete because it is about the concrete manifestations. Is the agenda’s formulation helpful? Is the way we prepare ourselves helpful? Are the schedules to register helpful? And so on. It can be difficult because the in-the-moment leader must be willing to replace all abstractions and facilitate a transformation.