5 Ways Leadership is Changing
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
This quote from Mike Tyson reminds me that leaders in this day and age must be able know what to do when the unexpected arrives. How do we adjust? The past two decades have brought wave after wave of changes: from 9/11, Al Qaeda, and ISIS to Google, Facebook, and An Inconvenient Truth. We’ve weathered tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes. We’ve decoded the human genome and put massive computing power in the palm of your hand. And yet all this is arguably only a prelude for changes still to come—a prospect of great excitement for some, deep suspicion for others. What unified their message was a focus on finding purpose in your work. The insights are both provocative and reassuring. Here are seven that particularly speak to me.
- Adaptive leaders need a scenario mindset
Leaders who create plans that are set in concrete will not be able to change quickly enough to adapt to a constantly changing landscape. Leaders need to device alternative scenarios based on where people’s energies move, what other competitors do and what resources are currently available and have the greatest impact.
- Humility and curiosity are essential traits of adaptive leaders. Everyone has ideas, answers and questions. Every leader needs to see themselves as both mentors and students. They need to share their wisdom, ideas and perspectives while also being like a sponge who soaks up ideas and insights from those they encounter. Adaptive leaders need to have a process for storing or parking these ideas for when the time is ripe to act upon them.
- Adaptive leaders do more than embrace diversity; they think, act and talk differently. The challenges of modern business are so intense and ever shifting, leaders need all the help they can get. It’s not simply about tapping into people who look different, but people who think differently. This subtext also emerges, in a more sobering context, in our roundtable on criminal justice reform. Wherever communities are excluded from access and opportunity, the waste is enormous, for all of us.
- Everyone needs to think like an owner and executive directors. The pressure on business leaders to deliver consistent, improving financial results is relentless—and unrealistic. .
- Adaptive leaders recognize that importance to being multilingual with various communication platforms. The reach you can get from using Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram—it’s awesome. But reach is not the same thing as impact. To really connect, more often than not, we have to get face to face. We believe that to stay ahead of the changes swirling around us, we need each other. And nothing builds bonds like looking someone in the eye, laughing together or crying together, or just plain talking through ideas together.