My Journey to Zen

My Journey to Zen

Thank you to the USA for hosting me for the last four weeks, my time has been incredible. Thanks to my family and those around me for supporting my life journey and the stories I am so lucky to share.  

There is so much going on in the world and I wanted to reflect on my view of change based off a highly reflective time away. I don't think I've ever had the privilege to spend so much time being by myself and having so much time to think. The last four weeks have been positively emotional for me, I have been calling it my Zen.

Let’s start with tech. We are now in a world where the leading innovation is immersing a world of tech, people and the surrounding environment in which it exists; much of which is now rapidly moving to being augmented using seriously intelligent and adaptive algorithms and advanced computing hardware and software balancing all of this.

In some recent experiences I watched Michael Jackson, One by Cirque du Soleil, experienced a highly advanced simulator and saw the marketing launch event of the 2023 F1 for Las Vegas. Some thoughts on each follow

The Michael Jackson show was a perfect precision example of human brilliance in every way; from the almost unbelievable human bodies and athletics through to the creativity that took Jackson from when he left us all those years ago to today. Holography to see Jackson dance, choreographed neon lighting on dancers to create an augmented perception of space and movement and use of motorised, sequenced lighting to create complete immersive experiences.  

Next, I sat in a simulator and went on a journey through a world filled with mummies and scarry experiences and then to a full-on circular and continually pivoting entertainment park ride. The simulations are now becoming so real with the use of sound, light, movement, smell and pneumatics they create serotonin release that gives us real feelings of fear, happiness, anxiety and ultimately "reality".

Please enjoy this video I shot off the cuff while watching the launch event for the 2023 Las Vegas 2023 F1 grand prix. It was a surreal mind-blowing experience. This video focuses on the use of 100's of drones to tell a story.   Call it augmented reality, virtual reality metaverse it doesn't matter. I used many 'I' words while filming: Innovation, imagination, ingenuity, insane, intuition, incredible. This is where we are at and where we are heading. Like it or not! F1 overall is an amazing example of modern innovation from the production to human fitness through to the cars that race.

These examples are all at the forefront of innovation and it's all been driven by people. It's this innovation that continually adapts to drive us forward and we see sometime later in our day-to-day experiences as it becomes mainstream and people adopt its use.

Let's reflect on people now and start with leadership. The recent layoffs at Twitter and Facebook to me represent the behaviours of leadership that we have come to expect over the years.

Let me ask you this question: Is this how we want our organisations of the future to be run and how fundamentally they look after the people who work and support them?

I challenge you to reflect on this question from two perspectives, first the actions and decisions of leaders over the years that get organisations to the position they are in, and secondly, the actions and decisions from leaders that move organisations forward.

There is a significant disjoint globally at the moment between the expectation of the organisation and the expectation of the people who work in them. Organisations are struggling to find their authentic purpose, what they stand for and align their moral and ethical boundaries to true capitalistic behaviours traditionally driven by maximising value in terms of organisations self and financial return.

On the other hand, people are wanting to know what the cause and effect of actions and decisions are their organisation, policy makers and governments have on people, family, community, society and the planet.

The organisational purpose, morals, ethics and its authenticity to people will be the ultimate judge on the success or failure of the organisation of the future. I believe where we will land moving forward is an inclusive environment that balances people, family, community, society and planet. Value also needs to be defined in far many more ways than purely organisational self-based capitalistic financial evolution. People's experience being another form of value that is right up at the top of the list for me and so many people in the world. There are many more.

Moving on, I've also thankfully just sent my latest book manuscript to the editor which I started and coincidentally just finished while in La Jolla, California. The Modern CEO: A CEOs perspective on leading, driving and evolving organisational success through people. It unpacks a lot of what I have been talking about here. It also has the input from 15 CEOs who range from solopreneurs through to others that run multi-billion-dollar organisations. More to come soon and I can't wait to bring this to you early 2023.

I also want to thank UKG for their support over the years, particularly Aron Ain and Chris Todd for creating what I believe is the epitome of a people centric organisation - something that we all need now and into the future. My purpose and what I stand for and believe in is aligned to what UKG stand for and believe in. This creates a platform and community for people to belong, feel safe and be their best selves to drive us forward with people at the core of what we do. Thanks also along the way to Neil Solomon, David Rasmussen and Liz Jordan.

On a philosophical level here is my view on life from having lived a very full and complete 50 years:

Let it flow, be prepared the best you can be for the future, embrace it for what it is, evolve positivity and be your best self. And most importantly LOVE those around you and what you have been gifted with (whatever that may be). You can't ask for much more than that.

Here are some pics of my last four weeks in the beautiful USA. I look forward to continuing my Zen moments and continuing to grow and evolve myself as my life journey continues.


Jarrod McGrath

Author: Jarrod McGrath

My name is Jarrod McGrath and I’ve spent the last 20 years working with organisations around the world to help them better manage their people in the rapidly evolving business landscape that we all find ourselves in. I’m passionate about putting people first in all situations and my writing, speaking and commentary focus on how we can do this through innovative thinking, embracing digital and being brave enough to embrace new operating models. View all posts by Jarrod McGrath