Getting your head in the right place? That’s not stuck in the sand, or up your own backside, or in the clouds, it is firmly and squarely on your shoulders, looking ahead with a steely gaze driven by a strong sense of self and bounded optimism - I CAN do this.

Hello? Hello? Any body out there? Feeling isolated? The feeling of isolation can come at anytime where we feel disconnected. We don’t have to be physically alone to feel isolated, though that helps - if you know what I mean. Today, we are remote, we are apart, separated out of necessity, not choice. We did not ask to work this way, but we have to. I feel hard done by. Forced out of how I want to operate into this isolation. This was not my choice. My emotive response to this lack of choice feeds my feelings of isolation. Clearly, the mindset of isolation is a key element.

If you are reading this and you are over 35 years old, I may just be about to upset you. Research suggests that you will be spend 95% of your day being driven by your subconscious, following patterns of behaviour that are hard-wired into your more primitive brain areas based on your previous experience - your “back story”

These are extraordinary times. Really, really tough for us all. The world as we know it is changing. It will not be the same. There will be no going back. If I may, I thought I would like to share some of my experiences on leadership in a time of crisis. How we respond as leaders is crucial not only in the moment of crisis, but also in the brave new world that will surely follow.

We are defined within four realms, each providing opportunity for growth, that when all are well and balanced gives us a deep sense of self-worth and well-being. We can only truly shine with the conscious development of all four quadrants though some offer greater scope for development than others.

Frequently I am asked to talk about leadership, and frequently, as I first stand up and introduce the title of my presentation, I begin by challenging it. I say “Let’s take away the word leadership and replace it with the word relationship and see what happens”.

Whilst at an exhibition of the photographs taken during Scotts’ fateful expedition to the South Pole, I bumped into and was inspired by an amazing lady in her 90’s. A daughter of the Raj, brought up in a colonial world, now bent and weathered, but with an incredible sparkle in her eye and an energy in her voice. Our world’s met as we both gazed, in awe, at an iconic photograph of Scott and his men in their hut. We spoke, we connected and found mutual inspiration within each other’s stories, energy and passion for life. We exchanged details and went our ways. It tells much of the discipline and social etiquette lost over the years, that I received a letter a few days later. This beautiful lady wrote to say “thank you” and she shared something truly special that I now carry with me always.

The big impact of applying the principles of compassionate leadership is to create what I call “Collective Brilliance”. Individually we can all be great; and we are. We are all extraordinary people in our own way. We all have unique abilities and attributes. I always say that “Everybody has a book inside them”.

It was the great and hugely humble Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan people, that once described the difference between empathy and compassion. And he should know! He says “Empathy is to raise your consciousness of the other. Compassion is to work with that knowledge with positive intent”. In essence compassion is “empathy with positive action”. I like that. It sounds powerful and transformational. The application of compassion will transform teams, organisations, companies, communities and our society at large.

There is much evidence to suggest that sustainability is about balance, and that the three main systems within which we operate need to work together in a specific order. These systems are the Economy, Society and the Ecosystem.

It is all about gaining commitment. It has to be. Who wants to work with a compliant team, a reluctant team? Who wants to work with the mindset of compliance when we have the opportunity to create the excitement of commitment? The principles of compassionate leadership are those that create long-term commitment and completely remove the emotional drag of compliance.