While Joe Biden’s inauguration as the US president is a sign of hope for many, the process of the presidential elections provided some depressing perspectives on leadership: that it seems to be the preserve of old, white men and remains unreconstructed.
Thankfully, entrepreneur Lauren Currie OBE, is on a mission to democratise leadership development with her revolutionary app, Stride. As a technological solution to an age-old problem, it both embodies and enables the innovation and creativity that are the most important aspects of modern leadership in the workplace and in society.
One of the revelations of the pandemic has been how female leaders – in New Zealand, Taiwan, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Scotland, Iceland – have dealt so well with it by using a leadership style based on emotional intelligence, empathetic communication and collaboration.
Crucially, they are good at listening and they focus much more on ‘how’ something should be done rather than ‘what’ should be done.
Out with the old school
Yet, despite this, most leadership development training remains hierarchical, old-fashioned, rigid and expensive. In fact, the average age for getting onto a leadership programme is 42. That mystical number may be the answer to the universe according to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but it is shocking that leadership is seen as the prerogative of the middle-aged, especially in this golden era of creativity and innovation.
We live in a world in which the CEOs of the world’s most creative companies were barely out of college when they launched their companies. Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he founded Facebook; Bill Gates was 20 when he began Microsoft; Steve Jobs was 21 when he started Apple.
With her new app, Lauren, an amazing leader in her own right, is taking an innovative mobile digital approach to leadership that is an antidote to such out-dated macho concepts of leadership.
Better by design
As befits a renowned design expert, she has deconstructed the concept of leadership and created something new and effective. Stride is agile, scalable, flexible and personalised. It’s everything that a stuffy business diploma isn’t.
Not only is traditional leadership a nebulous concept but its huge shortcomings have been exposed by the pandemic, the lockdowns and the ensuing boom in remote working.
It is too often conflated with management and seniority, but it is radically different. Leadership is about doing the right things; management is about doing things right. But far more than that, modern leadership is no longer about command and control. Instead, it’s about your personal attributes; it’s about deploying social influence and creating the right conditions for people to thrive and perform.
Have it your way
Stride opens up a whole new personalised approach to developing confident and effective leadership. It is tailored to the learner’s own natural style and emphasises learning by doing in bite-size chunks. It offers mini-lectures from subject matter experts, assignments based on those lectures and then reflective exercises to help hardwire the new habits.
Fittingly, Stride’s model is being supported by the founders of King, the Swedish games developer that created Candy Crush and exited for £3.8 billion. The King team created Sweet Studio, a combined venture fund and development hub that helps innovative technology companies realise their ideas. Stride is right up their digitally disrupted street.
Lauren’s mission to democratise leadership development with Stride is only the latest transformational project from this serial entrepreneur who has been named by Elle Magazine as one of the 30 women under 30 changing the world, and by Management Today as one of the UK’s top 35 businesswomen under 35.
A passion for creativity
At Speaker Buzz we believe strongly in leadership cultures that stimulate creativity and innovation and are proud to represent Lauren as an internationally recognised authority on design and innovation.
Lauren is a compelling and passionate speaker who inspires audiences to make positive change. Your journey to realising your organisation’s own creative potential could begin with one of her powerful and inspirational talks.
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