Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the privilege to conduct as series of interviews with four amazing leaders. One woman and three men, each the senior-most executives of their respective organizations, offered honest appraisals of their lives, careers and the businesses they’ve built. Although the organizations they lead differ by industry, geography and size, they shared one common concern:
What made us successful in the past, will not make us successful in the future.
Across the board, these leaders saw the level of product and service value that once drove the economic engines of their organizations, steadily and irreversibly decline; resulting in everything from a reimagining of their product and service offerings, to increased reliance on inorganic growth and in one case, an exodus of the industry they’d served for a generation.
As I write this, my desk is overflowing with interview transcripts, the margins of each page filled with a scrawl of handwritten notes and questions. From those pages it has become abundantly clear that there is a new leadership challenge emerging; a concept that defies tradition, embraces the deeply human elements of business activity and holds the promise of great opportunity for those willing to embrace it.
The new leadership challenge seeks to answer the question, Now What?
Tomorrow’s leaders must be capable of sensing, absorbing and transforming oncoming change in a way that creates competitive advantage for the organization.
Bold vision and practical and tactical ideas, big and small, are fast becoming the currency of organizational and career success. The leaders I’ve interviewed agree: venturing into an uncertain future will require more leaders than ever before; but individuals hoping to fill these roles will be largely responsible for their own leadership development, which means doing the hard work of defining who you are, what you value and what you are capable of accomplishing.
In short, before your ideas will be considered, before you can effectively lead others, you must demonstrate both an understanding and control of yourself.
Next week, we’ll examine what you can do to prepare yourself to take advantage of these new leadership opportunities and springboard your career to the next level.
Until then, I’m reaching out to you to see what you think is important for leaders to consider and what skills you feel will be critical in the next generation of business leadership. As always, I welcome your comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Originally posted on October 23, 2015