Transcendence – A Dimension of Leadership Character

download-1With this dimension, our Ivey character chart has me diving for my dictionaries. I learn that “Transcendence” speaks of an exceptional leader who brings a quality of vision and thought far greater than the usual, beyond the limits of intellect, experience and knowledge of us “ordinary bears”. A prodigious leader who sees the big picture and takes the long view, climbing over current barriers while bringing creativity and optimism towards an inspirational future.

All the great leaders have this rare quality. Leaders of states and armies, of races and peoples, of reform and protest, of organizations and businesses. In New Zealand we honour our greatest leaders by picturing them on banknotes, by appointing them to the Order of New Zealand, and by other symbolic affirmations of their mana. The custom of raising a statue has passed, though. No more graven King Dicks.

Reflecting its English love of pomp, Christchurch was always a generously statued city, and remains so post-quake. The city memorialized its provincial superintendents, its union leaders and its reformers, as well as sundry monarchs and rich rascals.

Narrowing our theme to New Zealand Leaders of Business, the Business Hall of Fame announces several laureates each year. These people are deemed the finest of our business leaders, portraying transcendence as a core dimension in their overall demonstration of outstanding leadership character.

While these 150 laureates have led different groupings of people to different goals in different ways and eras, most seem to have pursued a worthwhile and grand purpose. In my opinion, in our era these people most epitomize the transcendent dimension: –

Sir Douglas Myers – perhaps the greatest businessman of our era

Sir James Fletcher II – who grew a mighty conglomerate combined with social responsibility

Sir Peter Jackson – who triumphed commercially in Hollywood and entertained the world

Dame Wendy Pye – who created a phenomenal international business in developing children’s reading

Sir Rob Fenwick – who showed that the environment and business can be symbiotic

Visit the Business Hall of Fame and be humbled by the exceptional leadership talent of our nation.