Ep 30: The Opportunity In Uncertainty – Dr Tim Rayner and Diana Renner

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Dr Tim Rayner and Diana Renner


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About this conversation
As leaders, we are rewarded for our knowledge and expertise. However, our knowledge may also limit our perspective. In new, unfamiliar and uncertain situations, what we know can restrict our ability to think differently and see problems in a fresh light. The more we harness received knowledge, the less we learn about the situation, and the narrower our point of view becomes.

In these volatile and uncertain times, it is vital that leaders learn to see problems in the broadest possible light. Leaders need to cultivate a new relationship to uncertainty – one that is attentive, authentic, and generative; that involves letting go of knowing and control; and contributes to their ability to see the broader system. Instead of rushing to close down the experience of uncertainty, leaders must learn to sustain the experience and turn uncertainty into an experience of raw possibility.

The art of focus in uncertainty is about zooming in and zooming out.


More About The Speakers

Dr Tim Rayner
Dr Tim Rayner is the Director of Education and Culture at The Merrier. He is an internationally-recognised philosopher and action educator with over 10 years experience working in social entrepreneurship and leadership development. Tim’s recent book, Hacker Culture and the New Rules of Innovation, explores the impact of software hacking and startup culture on 21st century business innovation. He teaches ‘Leadership, Teams and Scalability’ in the MBA (Entrepreneurship) Program at UTS Business School.

Diana Renner
Diana Renner is an organisational consultant, teacher and award-winning author. As the director and co-founder of the Uncharted Leadership Institute and the creator of Not Knowing and Not Doing Labs, Diana helps individuals and organisations develop new skills to navigate uncertainty and make progress on complex challenges. Diana is the co-author of Not Knowing: the art of turning uncertainty into possibility, awarded 2015 Management Book of the Year in the U.K. and translated in 10 languages, and Not Doing: the art of effortless action, published in 2018.


Conversation Notes

  • Uncertainty has a lot to do with the culture surrounding expertise and leadership within our society.
  • As humans, we’re naturally wired to want to know and experience everything.
  • Emotions are not simply our responses to the world, emotions are the response to the way our body cognitively responds to the world.
  • Our brain loves taking shortcuts, but sometimes it prevents us from looking at things with fresh eyes. So when we stop looking, we miss out.
  • Uncertainty is a door way to discovery, so long as we embrace it.


“Mystery is an enticement and an invitation to learning” – Dr Tim Rayner


Tim’s Linkedin: Tim Rayner

Tim’s Twitter: @timrayner01

Diana’s Linkedin: Diana Renner

Diana’s Twitter: @notknowinglab


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