It’s a different world out there. The current organizational climate is universes away from the one of just a few years back. As a result, the needs of companies that operate today are vastly different too. Companies need to look out for people who can help them stay competitive in the face of all these changes.
New Leaders Wanted: Now Hiring! identifies 12 kinds of leaders – the "new types" who satisfy new needs – who the managers of today must go out of their way to hire. These are:
Are able to reproduce a story from a set of bullet points
Can handle complexity without trivializing
SO-WHAT expertise (we have the SWOT ones)
See an elephant when confronted with an elephant
The Re-Constructors of Elephants are those with the ability to re-construct “elephants” from their parts , reconstruct strategies from bullet points, and re-construct portfolios from individual projects . They are big-picture people and they don’t get bogged down with details when it’s the big picture that needs looking at.
These people are needed because far too many people are unilateral , reductionist , and bullet-point – they can’t see the forest for the trees. But that’s not entirely their fault:
There’s quite a bit of information pollution floating around out there. We welcome pre-digestion, filtering, and simplification; we can’t absorb everything.
We can’t take time to think and reflect. We are in the ‘doing’ business (“We are so busy doing that we have no time for being”). So if there is ‘no time’, there is even less time for complexity or any holistic approach. At least bits and pieces are more digestible, we feel.
Many people are saddled with a ‘cut-and-paste’ education. Education has little time for learning how to connect the dots. Dot-connecting and sense-making are very weak curriculum skills .
True Signal Spotters will show proficiency in spotting the following:
Organizational signals. Signal Spotters are able to understand what is going on in the company , beyond the noise of complaints, whining, and ever-growing lists of issues.
Customer and market signals. Beyond the paraphernalia of market research and its sister, benchmarking, Signal Spotters are able to extract trends and interpret data . They are more interested in what some sorts of data mean (facts, feedback, external input) than in the arithmetic of their benchmarking.
Decision-making signals. Signal spotters tend to reject yet another cry for greater ‘availability of data ’, another wave of surveys and ‘feedback’, or another 1,000 interviews.
These people are needed because space and time are indispensable assets for both the individual and the organization , and in today’s hectic world far too many companies fail to respect them. As a result these companies fail to engender freedom and trust.
The ‘split-brain’ metaphor. The brain has two hemispheres: right and left. They work in a complimentary way, but they deal with very different aspects of our mental activity. The left brain is the home for logic. Speech, reading and writing abilities reside here. The right brain is the home for intuition and creativity. Images are more important than words.
Right-brain vacuum. You need new leaders who can bring imagination back , who dare to dream of things and who exercise their intuition as well. You need new leaders who don’t have all the answers and, above all, who can imagine the future .
From kindergarten to Corporate Normalcy. Find good rightbrainers, seduce them and offer them a job. Take the risk. Bite the bullet, the same way you bit the bullet points. Hire the creative, intuitive, pattern-recognizing, ‘however’ type of people and, in the first instance, protect them!
Can spot people who develop relationships and use them
Experts in organizational climate change
Followers of the philosophy of ‘You-got-an-A-explain-why’.
THE PERSONALITY TYPES 5. Human Capital Investment Fund (HCIF) Managers People are neither costs nor assets; they are investors of their own human capital, which is the pool of talent that invests in companies at any given point, and which, like any investor, can decide to withdraw or pull out if returns are too low. It falls to the BCIF Managers, therefore, to manage this sort of capital. Companies of today sorely need leaders who are BCIF Managers, who really believe in and live the ‘investors metaphor’ and who are good at spotting talent . These people should be scattered all over the place in management and leadership positions.
Horizontal connectedness (not hooked on top-down philosophy)
Able to tap into any source of good human capital and make sure that it is shared
‘ Invisible hands’
There is a huge interdependency between people, teams and divisions within companies. But a similar one also exists between companies themselves. Brokers – those who act as intermediaries, negotiators or agents between these parties – are thus crucial.
To understand how these people exercise lead(brok)ership we need to look at these five dimensions:
Bridging, building, gluing. Lead(brok)ers are masters of relationships. The way they build bridges and ‘integrate’ people is usually horizontal: across groups or divisions, across interests.
Clearing the way. Another aspect of lead(brok)ership is the tearing down of barriers so people can actually do their jobs.
(Back)stage management. Most of the good lead(brok)ership stuff is fairly invisible. Lead(brok)ers are stage managers without the visibility of the Almighty Project Manager.
Effectively distributed leadership. The distributed leadership model implies that leadership can be found at all levels of the organization and not only in the boxes at the higher levels of the organization chart.
Managing the organizational decibels. Lead(brok)ers have the great ability to decrease the noise, to calm things down, to quietly find the assumed source and put things in perspective.
The innovation quest(ion). Teams breed strong ties. But you also need loose networks of people (‘belonging’ to different places/teams) talking to each other, to tap into sources of human capital which may bring something new to the party . Only about a quarter of all creative interactions occur within the formal organizational framework; three-quarters of it occurs in the mostly invisible, unstructured social network of people conversing outside these structures.
This is where Riders of the Network come in. They navigate through connections both inside and outside an organization, and work on social capital – the quantity and quality of relationships in a company. They manage the flow of conversations and influence where almost all the real action takes place.
Not bothered by troublesome situations or ambiguity management
See possibilities in both the structured and unstructured side of things
Cross boundaries without creating internal diplomatic incidents
Think that having two bosses is not enough. Want at least three, so as to have more possibilities of influencing senior people
Previous experience as a bishop or squadron commander is an automatic disqualification for this job
The term ‘chaordic’ describes the combination of apparent chaos and order that corresponds to what most people would term as ambiguity. Ambiguity is present in all organizations, and leaders can’t afford to ignore it at all; they must seek to manage it properly, or else risk failure.
There are several areas where ambiguity tends to pop up, and where Chaordic Acrobats are badly needed:
Boundaries . Relationships in the form of strategic collaborations, joint ventures, partnerships, co-marketing, etc., sometimes form a big web in which the recognition of strict borders becomes harder and harder.
Decisions and ‘closure’ . The problem is that most of the work force doesn’t see the fine lines, but only the thick, fat, bold ones. Chaordic Acrobats have the ability to push for closure when needed one day and to suspend judgment another day.
Measurement . Einstein said that not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.
‘ Conversation’ . Conversations are also exiled from management and leadership teams. They are supposed to be a decision or sanctioning machinery.
Make use of visible actions, including heroic ones if needed
Action-people first; language is part of the package
Talki-Walkers, as the name suggests, take the idea of “walking the talk” very seriously. They are obsessed with the thought that whatever they say as leaders must be shown in practice . The most visible element of their leadership is action following language.
These people are perfect in three incredibly important areas:
Below is a summary graph to help leaders and teams move forward from the old skill sets that everyone has gotten used to, towards the changes for differentiation and innovation. Keep moving, because it may perhaps not be too late.
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