‘Leadership is neither born, nor taught: it is circumstance calling forth a champion’
- Earle de Blonville: ‘Savage Coast. Inside Australia’s first Arctic expedition’


Leadership is a global industry which is facing an existential crisis of meaning and relevance.

Today’s $360 billion-a-year ‘leadership industry’ emerged in the 1980s when business schools began selling status by
rebranding management programs as leadership. But Management is not Leadership.

Leadership is now an almost meaningless porridge of 40 theories, 1,500 definitions and millions of books, taught globally by people with no real leadership experience. The paradox is that at every level, it seems, everyone now calls themselves a leader,
while paradoxically leaders worldwide have never been held in such low repute.

Throughout history, leadership born of circumstance has advanced civilisation through huge challenges, threats and uncertainty, from human conflict, geographical catastrophe, societal upheaval, or pandemics. Leadership has always been the human response.

In Ukraine, as if to remind us, leadership is being restored for all to view: circumstance has chosen its champion. However, looming over the whole planet, and completely reshaping our human future, rapidly escalating climate catastrophe
is already calling forth champions everywhere. So how can you prepare?

Leadership cannot be learned in a classroom, only in the crucible of life. It emerges amid unexpected turmoil, where every situation is unique, granular and episodic, each calling on different human qualities. Leadership is essentially a matter of the human heart.

When leadership circumstance calls, who answers? It is said that whoever would discover their leadership potential must first undertake a difficult journey to discover themselves, through trial and error, so that they can then understand others.

As humankind engages with its greatest leadership challenges ever, those who aspire to leadership 
need to know, above all else, how to be ready.