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Clearing Today's Leadership Hurdles
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
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Jeff Boss, in his Forbes article, “Be Better Prepared for 2017 With These 8 Leadership Projections,” writes that “To stay competitive, companies must be willing and able to move out of the complacency of success that defined them today and continually question the status quo so they can create a better tomorrow.” 

The former definition of business and organizational success is no longer valid; leaders must—as Boss indicates—be curious about what might be. 

In “The Futurist Leader,” Yvette Montero Salvatico writes, “Today’s business leaders must remain focused on what’s next. . . . What is needed is not a better crystal ball, but an instrument for building resilience, adaptability, and opportunity through recognition of emerging patterns.” In her issue of TD at Work, Salvatico offers suggestions that help individuals, especially leaders, challenge old ways of thinking. These methods include pausing to “consider other worldviews that may lead to a different conclusion”; letting go of learned “truths” to look for opportunities to gain exposure to other fields and ways of thinking; and contemplating how an extraterrestrial might see a situation.  

“The Futurist Leader” is one of seven issues of TD at Work that provide the tools and guidance to help both seasoned and more inexperienced leaders excel in the business world today. 

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With the constant and ongoing change theme expected for 2017 and beyond, Kristin Cullen-Lester and William Pasmore suggest that even positive change can affect individuals; further, we have limited capacity for change. The authors of “Leading When There’s Too Much Change” believe that “you need to ensure that your employees’ change banks are not overdrawn along the way” as employees work through and manage change, whether it’s positive, neutral, or negative change. 

Cullen-Lester and Pasmore explain that different organizations, as well as different individuals, have a varying capacity for change. To best lead an organization and its employees through change, leaders are advised to: 

  • Periodically implement a procedure to eliminate work that no longer adds value to the organization. 
  • Use technology and mechanisms that allow people to work together and communicate as efficiently as possible.  
  • Adopt rapid prototyping from design thinking to speed change implementation. 
  • Have in place programs that help people deal with stress, maintain their health, and increase mindfulness. 
  • Celebrate progress frequently!

An additional trend that Boss outlines in his Forbes’ article includes a greater investment on human capital, a theme that Dan Schwartz discusses in “Managing as a Ground Floor Leader.” He writes, “Rather than simply telling employees where they would be best utilized, ask them what strengths and capabilities they’d like to develop and then give them the opportunity to do so in the form of a stimulating project or assignment.”

In the tumultuous world of work in which we sometimes triumph and often struggle, a sentiment from Bonnie Hagamann—as she wrote in the TD magazine article, “The Shifting Trends in Leadership”—rings true: “As executives are adjusting to the current, crazy life in leadership, it may seem as if the world is a Magic 8 Ball and God shook it to see what could come up next.”

A Toolkit for Leaders,” which include the TD at Work issues mentioned above, will help leaders meet these challenges and many more.

About the Author
Patty Gaul is a writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).
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