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Leadership Trends for 2021 And Beyond

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Leadership Trends for 2021 And Beyond

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This blog is a recent article that appeared in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf and Dr. Christopher Washington.  It is a companion to their conversation on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Leadership Trends for 2021 and Beyond that aired on Tuesday, December 29th, 2020.

 

Where there is disruption, there is an opportunity. Where there is a collapse, there is an evolutionary opportunity. As an interconnected global system, we are facing opportunities to address risks and create a more sustainable, just and fair future for more people. To create this future, leaders need to understand the current leadership trends as well as the overarching megatrends. I’ll talk about the trends I see at the end of 2020 based on my clients’ work, as well as 50 interviews I conducted with executives, authors, thought leaders and academics.

Trend 1: Economic volatility impacting society and the workplace, increasing polarization on global sustainability, and social justice issues impacting international relations and local communities.

  • What are the likely impacts you and your organization will face in the next three-, six-, nine- and 12-month cycles?
  • How is economic volatility impacting you?
  • How is the possible realignment of the social contract to create equal opportunity across all races and gender orientations impacting your organization?
  • How is climate volatility impacting your organization?
  • How do you shore up your foundation during turmoil?
  • What opportunities are available to you now that were not before?

Trend 2: Continued erosion of trust in societal institutions and a weakening of the principles that sustain those institutions.

For organizations to function effectively, employees and participants need to trust leadership and one another. They are more effective if they believe in the mission and the organization’s commitment to accomplishing it.

  • When traditional institutions falter, what replaces them?
  • Who has power? Do you see a move from hierarchy to distributed power?
  • What is your North Star during turmoil?
  • How do your values impact your decisions and actions?
  • How does social and restorative justice impact your thinking about your work?
  • Who do you stop trusting?

Trend 3: More complex global system optimization, including resilience, geopolitical impacts, social justice, etc.

In the past, we optimized for profit and efficiency; now, the equation is more complicated. It has expanded to include a greater emphasis on geopolitics, workforce health and social justice, among others. New networks leveraging IT to share information and spread new ideas challenge hierarchies within and across systems and add complexity to supply chains that may amplify otherness among stakeholders and even within organizations.

  • How does your organization balance competing stakeholder objectives?
  • How are your systems and processes evolving to reflect systemic changes?
  • How are your cultural values evolving to meet changing social norms?
  • Is your organization designed to evolve and thrive as the ecosystem continues to evolve?

Trend 4: Increased expectations to deliver results faster.

Many organizations were effective at implementing significant change quickly during Covid-19. Now, many organizational leaders take this one-time ability to change as a demonstration that rapid change is possible and needs to become the norm.

  • Now that you have proven you can deliver quickly (in response to Covid-19), what are the expectations for ongoing speed?
  • What changes do you need to implement?
  • How do you ensure you and your people can remain balanced when the sprint becomes a marathon?
  • How does the gig economy provide you with increased capacity?

Trend 5: Major shift in knowledge and skill requirements for both leaders and employees.

Disruption and the constant push for innovation enable technology to replace many traditionally lower-skilled jobs with robots and robotic process automation, yet many jobs require special skills. With the rate of change, skilled workers need to update their skills or reskill regularly.

  • What new topics do you need to understand?
  • What do you need to be able to do that you can’t yet do?
  • What routine do you need to create to refresh your knowledge and skills continually?

Trend 6: Need to increase personal agility in all facets of life.

We, as leaders and people, need to continue to adapt to a broad range of changes in our personal and professional lives.

  • What are the biggest challenges you face?
  • What challenges do your team members face?
  • How do you work together to address the challenges?
  • Who is your tribe, and how do you stay connected?

Trend 7: More freedom to work where and how we want — and less privacy.

Mass migration, remote work and learning impact who can work, where work is done and the nature of work itself.

  • Where in your life do you have more flexibility, such as the option to work from alternate locations?
  • How will this flexibility impact your access to new opportunities for you and possibly your family?
  • How does this flexibility impact your social bonds at work and home?
  • How is technology impacting your ease of life (e.g., internet of things and self-driving cars)?
  • Where are you trading flexibility for privacy?

We are living at a fantastic time in history. We have the opportunity to plot a future that is unlike our past. We can leave a legacy where future generations look back and see this time as a renaissance — when the foundation was laid to create a future better than many people living could imagine. A future where all of the world’s population has enough food and water. A future where human exploitation is an exception rather than a common occurrence. A future where people earn a living wage to provide for their families without relying on government assistance. A future where organizations balance robust financial rewards with creating healthier communities and societies. We have the power to make progress to cocreate the future we envision — whatever that future is. I invite you to imagine the impact you want to see and work to create it.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Authors

Maureen Metcalf, CEO, the Innovative Leadership Institute, is dedicated to elevating the quality of leaders across the globe.

Forbes Councils member Christopher Washington, Executive Vice President and Provost, Franklin University, contributed to this article.

 

Leadership Trends: Lead the Disruption 2020

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The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is a companion to Trends interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, December 31st, 2019, titled Leadership Trends: Lead the Disruption 2020.

To learn more about the 2020 Trends, click here.

During a time of ongoing organizational disruption, I encourage leaders to explore how the rapid change can serve as a pointer and inspiration to help them envision futures that were not possible as recently as last year. Each disruption opens another door to opportunity across a broad range of industries.

This annual trend summary looks at what I think are the most important business drivers to consider over the next three to five years.

  1. Disruption is accelerating. Organizations must continue to monitor trends and disruptions and look for ways to leverage them for strategic advantage. It’s often noted that businesses must recognize the importance of disrupting or get disrupted. The question for organizations and their leaders is how to monitor these trends and create an advantage.

One essential tool is the strategic planning process. This process itself looks different now than it did in the past. It provides a necessary structure for leaders to use as they consider current and potential disruptions. The planning process allows leaders to envision the future and develop a business strategy to turn disruption into business advantage.

  1. Adaptive leadership is required. As companies evolve to respond to disruption, leaders need to elevate the quality of their leadership. The challenges businesses face are adaptive: leaders need to change themselves and their organizations. We are facing problems that we can’t solve with our current thinking. Dr. Ron Heifetz, Harvard, talks about adaptive leadership as a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt to changing environments so they can effectively respond to recurring problems. This research has been considered in the 10 Must-Reads by the Harvard Business Review. I recommend leaders elevate the quality of their leadership rather than build skills.
  2. Organizations need to innovate who they are — and what they offer. Organizations need to build innovation into their DNA. This means they need to get comfortable updating what they do and how they do it to meet evolving strategic goals. In addition to elevating their leadership, leaders must update the overall systems, processes and cultural beliefs that underpin their organizations.

According to Bloomberg (paywall), “Leaders at some of the world’s largest companies said they plan to abandon the long-held view that shareholders’ interests should come first amid growing public discontent over income inequality and the burgeoning cost of health care and higher education.”

This level of change could mean a significant overhaul of how companies operate. Innovation must be a priority to transform organizations. Effective innovation requires creating clear accountability, assigning people, measuring results and allocating financial resources.

Attracting and retaining the right people will become increasingly difficult with changing job requirements and growing skill gaps. According to IBM Institute for Business Value’s Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap: “Arguably, one of the greatest threats facing organizations today is the talent shortage. Executives recognize the skills gap. They know it’s both real and problematic. But most of their organizations don’t appear to be actively or effectively tackling the issue.”

It goes on to say, “Compounding the issue, new skills requirements continue to emerge, while other skills are becoming obsolete. And it’s all happening quite rapidly.” Organizations must elevate their focus on the impact disruption will have on their workforce. This includes focusing on topics like creating real diversity and inclusion. We can no longer ignore or give minimal effort to the levers that are proven to drive success.

  1. Digital transformation drives and destroys value. Organizations must become more effective at leveraging digital tools. The lines between the physical, digital and biological worlds are becoming more blurred. Many organizations are now using some form of robotic process automation (RPA), business analytics or artificial intelligence.

Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all aspects of a business. It is a trillion-dollar industry, but 70% of all digital transformations fail. The most successful organizations will break the code on implementing these tools effectively and efficiently.

  1. Human resilience remains critical. As organizations accelerate the pace of change, people are often overloaded with current work and transformation work. The people who make change possible hit a point of diminishing performance that impacts their ability to deliver. Employers must provide work environments that maximize employee performance.

One important factor is creating an environment that ensures employees connect the work they do to their values. Even better, when possible, create opportunities for employees who don’t routinely interact with clients/customers to interact and see their impact. Employees also need to own their personal resilience. They can build resilience by ensuring they are taking care of their physical health, engaging in a mindfulness practice that allows them to observe and manage their thinking and building healthy connections inside and outside of work.

  1. Sustainability and the human/planet interface are critical. We continue to see an acceleration in climate volatility, high costs to businesses from weather events, lost biodiversity and environmental damage. According to the Associated Press, July 2019 was the hottest month in recorded history. Many parts of South America are burning in unprecedented forest fires. Glacial melt is accelerating, “Over 30 years, suddenly almost all regions started losing mass at the same time,” said researcher Michael Zemp of the University of Zurich. “That’s climate change if you look at the global picture.”

Addressing this trend will require everyone to act. In 2015, the UN created the Sustainable Development Goals, “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” They address global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity and peace and justice. The goals interconnect and are designed to leave no one behind. These goals were signed by 193 countries.

Many organizations are making progress. The World Green Building Council is supporting efforts to convert buildings to energy-efficient standards on a large scale. We see changes like the move toward more local foods across the U.S. and expanding solar power in Nigeria. These actions are a start. I encourage leaders to understand the opportunities created by disruption and envision the possibilities. As we envision the future, we can elevate the quality of our organizations’ leaders.

To learn more about the 2020 Trends, click here.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

 

The Keys to Entrepreneurial Success! by Luis Vicente Garcia

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Business
The Keys to Entrepreneurial Success! by Luis Vicente Garcia

Luis Vicente Garcia Giliberti. Seminario Liderzago ante la Incertidumbre #1

When we talk about Business or entrepreneurial success, we might not be really sure what it is or how to define it; and this will prove to be critical. You need to know where you are today and where you are going; then, figure out your plan to get there.

Whether you have been in business for years or you are a start-up, things look harder and more difficult than what you originally thought, take more time and might have a bigger cost than planned. Your three main resources: time, team and money will be tested over and over again. What you need to do here is to understand what makes you apart, what is important for you and your company and how can you start redirecting some of the approaches and ideas you have been using in the past.

This actually is the number one critical issue for all people and companies that do need to change: adapt and be flexible. This implies realizing the need to adapt to the changing business environments, looking at the trends in the market and your industry, while improving some of the important areas (if not all) in your company.

When you do it, something starts to happen and suddenly there is a better flow of energy, new ideas start to flourish, a more dynamic team takes action, goals are reached and visions are aligned. In all, you, your staff, team members and your company start talking about success and what it would mean to be successful (and yes we know we all measure Success in a different way).

There are many definitions on business success and in this program we will be discussing some ideas that will allow you to understand some of the Key Elements to Entrepreneurial Success.

www.luisvicentegarcia.com
www.entrepreneurperformance.com

 

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