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Lessons on leadership 2022

What lies ahead for 2023? This year has been packed with dramatic developments. Many were unpalatables and unthinkables that have confirmed the reasons for our eight years of work. Throughout, TTU has remained on the cutting edge of monitoring then analysing and providing advice on the implications.

TTU 2022 V2
TTU 2022 V2

Here are our 10 big take aways from 2022 to take forward into 2023:

  1. New unfathomables: complex inter-related global crises are feeding off each other and creating new unthinkables. Economic and non-economic shocks are entangled together in what is now labelled a polycrisis or a permacrisis.

  2. Stability is imploding: inequality, lower living standards, a recession and the hangover from the pandemic are playing out in unpredictable ways. The glue we have long assumed would hold together our societies is coming unstuck.

  3. Political classes are struggling: all leaders are searching for new solutions in a world that some label ‘BANI’ (Brittle, Anxious, Non-linear and Incomprehensible). It is tough being a leader today. Good ones seek solutions and the positives.

  4. Public trust being pushed to extremes: The voting public expects swift and positive solutions to the problems political leaders were elected to resolve. Many are struggling to respond effectively. The scandal over corruption in the European Parliament will widen and deepen.

  5. National Security: governments and corporates must redefine what national security is, given the human consequences of the polycrisis. With the climate emergency deepening, loss of life, threats to livelihood, new conflicts, increased migration and greater suffering in human health will be inevitable and unavoidable. The Global South will be worst hit. If the Global North doesn’t engage more with the Global South, there will be grave consequences for all.

  6. There is no “after Ukraine”: the conflict will be long and without any resolution. It will remain a key driver of the polycrisis. The global implications of the conflict will likely be with us for decades.

  7. The new geopolitics: it is both deepening and magnifying the scale of the new realities that must be confronted. Among them is the future direction of China.

  8. The unstoppable momentum of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis: we are now at 1.3 degrees of global warming. Tipping points are likely to be breached sooner than scientists have been expecting. In 2023, everyone must prepare for more floods, droughts, fires and record temperatures – both hot and cold.

  9. Extraordinary innovation: the pace of change and adaptability has been cranked up significantly by negative new realities like the climate emergency, Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis. The new ideas and technologies are there, as symbolised by electric vehicles and sustainable energy production. Fusion power could be realised in 20 years. Radical progress and solutions will drive a new optimism and determination to find positive social tipping points. The leaders in finance we engage with are actively looking for new leverage points to change a broken financial system. More on both these initiatives in 2023.

  10. AI technology: there is great progress on generative AI e.g. chatGPT. These will create both major societal advances and challenges, and far sooner than most expect. Read more chat-GPT from TTU’s Chris Langdon here.

So what can you do differently in 2023? Here are five key actions we recommend to all leaders:

  1. We suggest that you see the world as being interconnected. Don’t try to chop up problems into understandable pieces in the hope they can be controlled.

  2. We advise leaders to accept that you don’t fully understand what’s going on. You are not alone. We are all in the ‘same boat’ in this BANI world. Empower others around you to help figure out together what is happening and what to do. Be humble, flexible and adaptive. Encourage experimentation. Learn from failure.

  3. We highly recommend you listen to the next generation, then act on their thinking. Empower them. They are brimming with innovative new ideas, insights and innovation that will open up new perspectives and possibilities on the polycrisis.

  4. We propose that, if you haven’t done so already, hire or promote someone smart into your close team or Board. They must be visionary and challenge the conventional wisdom. Listen to this person, even if the message sounds unpalatable. Then, act upon it.

  5. We believe that it’s essential to look around your organisation with open eyes. How many people are suffering burnout? Don’t just offer them kind words, mindfulness or yoga. Find out what is really going on. Be self-reflective. Consider changing your own leadership style. Be kind to yourself; look after your own well-being. This will help others too.

2023 will be as least as complex and challenging as 2022. So we recommend you prepare for it well over the holidays. Stretch your mind. Enjoy and value any time-out you are lucky enough to have.

We send our season’s greetings and thank you for following Thinking the Unthinkable.

Do please get in touch with us with your perspectives or experiences. Email at if we can help.