"Unchartered Waters:" Why Now is a Great Time to Change how We Lead

A New World

A brochure at a global conference on change said, "Few will argue that we are in a profound shift in consciousness, culture, and social systems, but many will argue what a clear path forward looks like for leadership and their teams." For example, The Industrial Era was a time of relative predictability where we could measure, predict, and understand the type and velocity of change that was coming. Today however, in the Knowledge Era the type and hyper pace of change is not only utterly unpredictable but it is completely unrecognizable. The CEO and Co-Founder of Fjord, a Global Digital Design Firm said, "Things once thought only possible in magic tricks or science fiction movies are now real. Magic is possible. With that reality that magic is possible, the expectations of the world and the people we lead has dramatically shifted."

The "Uber and Amazon effect" is real and shifting how we experience and expect life, relationships, work, and our leaders to behave. Who would have thought even 5 years parents would hire strangers to pick up, drive, and drop off their children. Or that if you got enough people to like your pictures you take on your phone that you could get sponsored and make millions of dollars - just by people liking your selfies. Or that cars would drive themselves while you shopped online on your way to church. Technology and the digital revolution has made anything possible. Innovation and the shape of change is now literally only limited by our own perceived limits.

The World Economic Forum says we are in un-chartered waters grappling with global digitization, a rapidly evolving world, and a new millennial workforce that is confounding leadership and business alike. What organizations and leadership once thought tried and true and rooted in Industrial Era have been replaced by dense, emerging networks in the Knowledge Era. What change used to look like has changed. These times are re-defining our technical, social and economic landscapes. Harvard Business Review calls it the Age of Complexity. In other words, like the journalist and writer H.L. Menchken said, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”  

As a result, this shift is causing leaders to re-evaluate the very essence of how they build, motivate, and lead teams to drive impact in their organization and the world. While Gallup says that most of global workforce is disengaged at work and leaves their hearts and minds at home only to collect a paycheck, leaders must consequently unlearn how they used to lead and learn a new way to engage their teams and avoid the risk of irrelevance; we must reimagine how we lead.

Like the ocean that creates the context for the surfer to thrive while innovating, we have an obligation and an opportunity to re-create a new context where leaders put people at the heart of their organizations; one where teams are empowered, trusted, and ultimately inspired in a deeply human way. We have the momentum of this global ripple effect to re-create a new model - one that is imbued with empowerment, autonomy, accountability, and a little bit of surfing.  

Complete and Continue