Growing a practice of observation, reflection and action

If we endeavour to meaningfully engage with and steer complex systems rather than simply allowing ourselves to be subjected by them, then we must define a new leadership vocabulary to navigate the post pandemic ‘norm’.

A global executive study and research report from MIT, “The New Leadership Playbook for the Digital Age: Reimagining What It Takes to Lead” validates the view that there is significant evidence of growing mismatch between how many organisations are currently led and how they should be led.1

The extensive study involved 4,394 global leaders from more than 120 countries, with 27 executive interviews, and further complemented with facilitated focus-group exchanges with next-gen emerging leaders worldwide. The objective of the research was to explore how the changing nature of competition, work, and society is influencing the future of leadership.

Research continues to highlight, the need for a new brand of leader, a new way of creating cohesive environments, the need for high collaboration and deep trust.  It is clear, that we need to skill up, fast and at scale. We need future-fit leaders with lateral ways of thinking, creative and inclusive approaches.  Bottom line, we need a significant number of emotionally intelligent leaders who can convert insights into scalable and responsive action.

So where do you start, when the challenge to grow these skills and capabilities seem insurmountable? The truth is rather than a silver bullet, it takes multiple simple steps to shift your mind set. Shifting your mind set is a practice. It takes conscious effort to look at things from a different perspective. To become a better leader, in a post-COVID environment, we suggest that you observe business as usual approaches with a different perspective. Potentially, it’s like looking at the situation through a kaleidoscope.  If you shift your lense and perception to bring a complex situation into focus, you are going to have a better understanding of the situation, what is sitting on the periphery and in particular, where to focus your attention.  This will enable you, to gain insights through questioning standard approaches, unpack assumptions and focus on what truly matters.

Using the ‘kaleidoscope” is about equipping yourself with a practice of observation, reflection and action.  Next time you do a task, conduct a meeting, have a one on one session with a team member, make a presentation – ask yourself, “what needs to shift to make this 10% better?”

Join us at First100 to define a new leadership vocabulary to navigate the post pandemic ‘norm’.

1.            D. Ready, C. Cohen, D. Kiron, and B. Pring, “The New Leadership Playbook for the Digital Age,” MIT Sloan Management Review, January 2020, accessed 19/02/21 <https://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/the-new-leadership-playbook-for-the-digital age/