What businesses can learn

from nomadic leadership and strategy

With 75% of employees calling for higher levels of fl exible working, and the potential demise of the traditional offi ce - business leaders need to adopt a new management approach. At the latest online MKBLP event, leading Milton Keynes employers

heard from intrepid adventurer, Anthony Willoughby, on how implementing a nomad approach to business might be the answer in his presentation: ‘We are all in uncharted territory – and we need a plan’. Founder of T e Nomadic Business School, Anthony regaled the

group of MKBLP members of his time with nomad tribes in Africa and Western Mongolia – indigenous communities where no one person is the leader, and at the centre is trust. Commenting on the ‘swamp of civilisation,’ the entrapments which

enslave people – debt, possessions, and desires to succeed and want more – Anthony explored the notion that society has created people who are obsessed with feeling good about themselves. Which, in turn, had built up barriers which defl ates trust. And trust among organisations as they navigate through the fallout

of COVID-19 is vital to ongoing success. At a time when many businesses are at their most

vulnerable, Anthony encouraged leaders to cultivate communities within their organisations, seeing their employees as a nomad would see their village. He said: “The nomads have created a highly

robust social system to keep them strong, unifi ed, and adaptable in the face of great hardship, by bringing out their spirit of intense cooperation and migrating when faced with challenges.” When the indigenous nomads drew territory

maps, Anthony noted that they exhibited three fundamental qualities: clarity, purpose, and agility. Anthony’s nomadic approach emboldens businesses to adopt this ‘territory mapping’ technique in a bid to function as a community, while removing the barriers that prevent trust. T rough the visual medium of territory mapping,

businesses are encouraged to draw how they conceive the risks, returns, threats and opportunities which face their organisation. With bridges, rivers and wolves linking the community from where they


are, to where they are heading. “Once people work out what they are hunting,

everyone gets a sense of clarity,” he said. “Employees need to be a part of that plan, that community. When a territory or organisation is under threat they need to migrate. Mapping gets below the rational and into the emotional drivers which it crosses all diversity.” As part of the migration, Anthony encouraged

training, coaching and further education as the bridges to migration – with employees fi rmly part of the plan. The nomadic business approach has been

incorporated into global businesses including Microsoft and T omson Reuters, putting business executives in the midst of nomad communities. It was also the catalyst for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate polio. During his engaging narrative, Anthony

enthused leaders to inspire people within their business communities to lead diff erent areas and develop people. Linking back to his experiences to the nomads where skills are recognised throughout communities and no one person if the leader.

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