by Angela Kambouris | Featured Contributor
When we take a glimpse into the hearts and minds of CEO’s in today’s world, we uncover qualities and skills leaders need to meet the demands of their positions in the future. Our current climate of uncertainty, ambiguity demands agile mindsets to be un-disruptable. Our environments demand leaders to navigate constant turbulence and continuously adjust their actions.
There is no warning before the chaos, no recovery period afterward. Leadership today is more about translating order into chaos. A willingness to stretch capabilities into new and unexpected areas to keep ahead of the marketplace.
Flexibility is not only relevant but critical for business leaders in the current digital transformation era. New ideas are demanded and fresh thinking to lead business, in a world were change is the only constant.
Today’s leaders must have a high tolerance for flexibility and infuse the same mindset into tomorrow’s leaders. Let’s share 6 ways how leaders can act with flexibility, enable them to thrive through disruption and lead the transformation of an organization.
There is no recipe how to start this journey, however there are ways that may be considered. When we imagine an iceberg, we know the core is the hardest part of the whole. Same with organizations. Abstain from changing all parts of an organization with detailed long-term plan to prevent killing the agility experience. Step forward by investing in areas that struggle, with remote or new teams. Position the group, start with baby steps by going for low impact, early implementation and do this in a fast way. Keep deadlines short, lead direction with an open-minded attitude and learn with your colleagues in real time.
Different level of thinking
To be successful in tomorrow’s world, requires a different level of thinking to withstand turbulence and how you adapt, adjust and be agile. When we look at how animals adapt such as a crocodile we know they are very robust. Their strong jaws, metal like armor withstand many threats and they have digestive system that will breakdown anything it eats. When we look at the versatility of a Chameleon, they change color to disguise themselves and hide from predators. Dr Homa Bahrami, Faculty Director at UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education, explains as leaders in business we need a toolbox with different aspects of flexibility – sometimes you need to be agile, so you can capitalize on the marketplace first, sometimes you need to be robust like the crocodile and other times your need to versatile by skilling up people across many areas.
As a business leader you need to configure teams with a blend of different archetypal capabilities. A Warrior who when against great odds, challenges the status quo and uses his cleverness and strategic intelligence to find creative ways to turn the tide. The Sage who seeks out information and knowledge to plan, anticipate different scenarios and adopts a self-reflective practice. The Catalyst who illuminates the path, sets the destination, lives by the vision and invests in finding win solutions for all. The Performer who perfects the art of directing moving parts rapidly and their overall skill level being determined by the variations and techniques they can throw into their patterns. The Jester teaches us to lighten up, live in the moment and enjoy interacting with others without worrying about what others may think.
Leaders who understand the influence of an existing culture, can identify the gaps that exist between the organization’s vision and reality, can identify the pain points and focus efforts to strategically design an actionable blueprint for transformation and growth.
Purpose driven leadership
Purpose driven business become brands. They identify what is right with the world, what needs to be changed and create a vehicle to build a better world. Brand leverages passion and non-existent resources in critical ways. When you are committed to a purpose you will find a way to work for the cause irrespective of pay, you will solve problems that competitors cannot because of your monomaniacal focus and you will convince clients that you can do something even if you can’t because you have faith in resolving and doing.
Peter Diamandis explains “one thing l’ve learned at XPRIZE is that small teams driven by their passion and by their clear focus can do extraordinary things that only large corporations and governments could do in the past”. A common purpose is the most important thread holding teams together through a shared culture. A vision and mission statement can create magnetic forces to connect teams to shared goals. When leaders are consistent with their words and actions, people are predisposed to trust them.
Business leaders need to be the drivers of their own destiny, to deliberately adapt to new realities, to move quickly to seize opportunities, to wear different hats and switch gears depending on the context. Future leaders must plan with a forward focus, think through different contingencies and to be persistent with clear intentions to allow decision making to be effortless in crisis environments. When things go wrong and they will, leaders bounce back and recover from setbacks to navigate the road forward.
The true mark of a future leader anchors an open-mindedness to different points of view and diverse thinking. A sense of curiosity opens the door for patterns to be discerned with a continual effort to understand. Future leaders must have flexibility to bring the best out of their people and to keep them ahead in the marketplace.