Leading for the Future

a maestro is getting ready to lead the orchestra

Leadership training programs abound, but do they develop leaders who can be successful in today’s topsy-turvy world?

For leaders to be successful in leading their organizations successfully into the future, they need to be experts at managing uncertainty, complexity and constant change. You may have hired the right talent, done your homework, crafted a sound and agreed-upon strategic plan but still, you may fail as a leader unless you can make good decisions when things go awry. You need to be able to shift direction when the unexpected occurs. 

Think of a maestro who has placed all the players in the right seats, has studied the symphony score, and has coordinated the orchestra sections so they know what role they play. But just as he climbs on the podium, something unexpected happens…the violinists go on strike, the fire alarm sounds, or the sheet music has been organized in the wrong sequence. The best leaders know how to assess the situation, make a decision and rally the troops.

Too many leadership training programs teach the same old, same old. To be able to lead successfully in the future, leaders must be able to adapt…to a broad variety of conditions, contexts and situations. We need leaders who are able to make decisions when there is uncertainty, lead through ambiguity and sift through complexity for the right priorities.

Forward thinking experts say that leading for the future requires a delicate balance: maintaining a steady purpose while adjusting course as needed when disruption occurs, keeping an eye on the entire ecosystem within which you operate while focusing on doing the best in your own world, staying true to yourself  while engaging in an ongoing process of growing your strengths. Just aspiring to someone else’s leadership blueprint will only see you become a pale version of that someone else. Be the most effective leader you can be for the future by preparing for the unexpected and remaining authentic to yourself and your organization.

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