May 2017
Issue Map
The Public Manager

A Leadership Vision for the Future

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Change management efforts often fail because they focus on the issues as they bubble up to the surface. The result is Band-Aid solutions that fail to address the underlying culture and guiding narratives of an organization. To achieve long-lasting change, we must explore what is beneath the obvious to understand why this issue exists in the first place," writes Yvette Montero Salvatico in " The Futurist Leader."


That issue of TD at Work kicks off "A Toolkit for Leaders," an Association for Talent Development collection meant to help leaders and managers meet the challenges they face today.

In the issue, Salvatico outlines what makes a good futurist—a mindset she argues all of us need for "continually challenging biases and scanning the environment for hidden opportunities." These future-thinking qualities include the knack to:

  • Crave curiosity. It's more important to ask "why" than "what," Salvatico explains. The "why" is what will help you get to the root cause of an issue or challenge.
  • Act courageously. Change is the way we work in 2017. While it's against the grain of humans to embrace change, discomfort is where growth occurs.
  • Welcome diversity. Looking at a challenge among a group of diverse peers will help us break out of our usual information filters and biases.
  • Connect the dots. "To understand what's next," states Salvatico, "we must analyze the intersection of trends and make sense of the patterns they form."

Other issues of TD at Work and Infoline (the former name of TD at Work) in "The Toolkit for Leaders" include tips for building trust in organizations, developing one's own emotional intelligence, and identifying one's core leadership strengths. And each issue of TD at Work comes complete with one or more job aids—templates, step-by-step processes, or checklists—that help you identify gaps, see the way forward, and put into practice the issue's instruction.


For example, the job aid "A 360-Degree Assessment of Leadership Competencies" lists the following practices with a blank to indicate whether someone "does not meet," "meets," or "exceeds" expectations:

  • chooses to find time to process, review, and think to improve resiliency
  • grows self-awareness of emotions to improve decision making
  • is clear as to the intentions of her communications
  • manages with appreciation/respect for diversity of individual values and needs
  • demonstrates ability to ethically build support for a perspective she feels strongly about
  • maintains an effective, interactive, and productive team culture.

The collection consists of seven individual issues, each approximately 16 pages in length. They provide a quick but deep dive into the topic, whether it is "Leading When There's Too Much Change," "Developing High-Performance Leadership Teams," "Developing a Leadership Strategy," or "Managing as a Ground Floor Leader."

The collection is intended for seasoned and new leaders, and those in between. Indeed, as Salvatico points out, the ability to act as a futurist encapsulates skills that are now required of us all.

About the Author

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

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