It’s clear that we now live in a world full of confusion, ambiguity and disruption. The pace of change has outstripped our ability to keep up with it. Things don’t seem to work the same way anymore. It’s like someone has changed the rules on how to lead. Back in the day, we were taught to be decisive, to give clarity, to drive results.
The challenge now is how do we do that if we are unsure of the way forward?
The way we develop our leaders needs to be updated. We can’t expect them to learn leadership as if they were still at school being taught by subject matter experts, where every subject had a separate teacher, in a separate classroom, sharing their passion and narrow expertise. Yet today’s universities and business schools are still using this model.
The Strategy Professor says that the most important thing in business is a good strategy, then another will say that culture eats strategy for breakfast! The Finance Professor says it’s all about the numbers, and the Marketing Professor emphasises the importance of marketing… and so it goes on. Unfortunately, our world doesn’t separate that easily. It’s never “OR thinking”; it’s always “AND thinking” that counts.
Strategy, culture, finance, operations, marketing, and innovation are all important. And other elements are too. Which presents a challenge when we take the complexity of leadership, decode it, and simplify it.
If we are going to give leaders a chance going forward, we need to break things down into a number of key disciplines and create a framework to translate the disciplines into action and a way of working.