People are queuing up to take part in ‘Folks for a World that Works’ – OurNet’s series of mini-interviews featuring inspiring people in and around our community – so we’re going twice-weekly! Following on from laughter yogi Sue Haswell, we now talk to Justin Featherstone a freelance leadership consultant who focusses on pragmatic leadership and ‘followership’ transformation…
Justin Featherstone MC served in the British Army for 18 years, finishing as a Major. He served on operations in Iraq, Congo, Kosovo and Northern Ireland and has instructed trainee officers at both Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth and as the principal leadership staff officer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
He has led, planned and participated in over 20 overseas climbing, kayaking and trekking expeditions to the whitewater rivers, mountains and rain-forests of the world, including locations such as Nepal, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Canada, Patagonia, Namibia, Spain, Uganda, Ecuador, Alaska and the European Alps.
Currently developing leadership in diverse organisations across the globe and leading expeditions, Justin is also an occasional lecturer at the business schools of the Universities of Exeter and Ljubljana. He is an honorary Fellow at the University of Exeter with responsibilities to the Exeter Centre for Leadership.
Thank you Justin for taking the time to talk to us and being one of the ‘folks for a world that works’, can you begin by telling us about yourself and your big passion?
My big passion is adventure. Adventure in every sense: creating a daily sense of challenge; challenges through expeditions to the rainforests, mountains and whitewater rivers of the world and challenging mindsets; mine as much as others’. This includes learning from indigenous cultures and transferring that learning to the environments that we are more familiar with.
What would a ‘world that works’ look like to you?
One in which people are far more willing to challenge the status quo, one in which intellectual rigour is less derided and one in which collaborative working and shared leadership are the default way in which communities, organisations, societies and markets interact at every level. Such a world would eschew hollow rhetoric for tabling the difficult questions and ensuring everyone has a voice; not just those who shout the loudest.
At its heart, would be the celebration of our humanity and connected-ness and the moral courage to tackle individuals and groups who threaten or trample over these ideas. Strategies would be linked across all types of boundaries and long term, sustainable solutions would be valued by shareholders over short term returns. The triple bottom line of People – Profit – Planet would be the standard for measuring the efficacy and contributions of commercial and public sector organisations alike.
What is stopping us from creating a ‘beautiful world we all know in our hearts is possible’?
Conflicting interests, ideologies and increasingly protectionist and parochial world views, exacerbated by fragile economies and increasing tensions over resources and perceived differences in standards. In the UK and the US, we face the backlash of those marginalised by what they perceive as a self-entitled liberal elite with no understanding of the realities of those from less wealthy and more conservative backgrounds, for whom the pace of societal change is too quick and delivers no clear benefits.
The way we measure success in organisations and across our societies also inhibits the ability to promote the culture that would better support the behaviours needed to meet the future and the opportunities and challenges that come with it.
You can find out more about Justin Featherstone MC and his work here