Leaders Recognise and Adapt to Change

To quote Stephen Hawking “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” and change is as certain as the sun rising every morning but change is by no means new, it is perhaps the most perpetual of events that takes place every second of every day; change is as they often say – all around us, it is our ability to adapt to it that is the key.

Leadership and whether leaders are born or can be trained will inevitably remain as a complex academic debate, however what is irrefutable is that “leaders” are only ever appointed by their followers. There are numerous “traits” that true leaders exhibit but some of our favourites are their ability to communicate, a positive attitude, an ability to manage failure,  they develop those around them, they delegate and empower and perhaps the most important, as “www.lifehack.org” conclude, they trust their intuition. “It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them”. Perhaps it would have been even better if Stephen Hawking had said the ability to “recognise and adapt to change”.

Steve Jobs as the iconic intellectual powerhouse who created a global technology cult called Apple was 56 when he sadly died in 2011. So the post “What capabilities might we need for the 21st century?” (https://www.insidermedia.com/blogs/midlands/what-capabilities-might-we-need-for-the-21st-century#), authored by Mark Holton of Coventry University and published online by Insider Media Midlands on 6th Sep 2016 raises some interesting and fascinating discussion points around change, capabilities and leadership for tomorrow as we all move ahead into a more and more digitised and connected world. Mark raises the seemingly endless question about what skills are required for the future within his four required capabilities. Perhaps without the aid of the crystal ball that we all crave, it is our ability to adapt to welcome and embrace the future, no matter what the level of disruption is, that is the critical factor that will set one business ahead of another.

When looking at skills for tomorrow, perhaps one of the critical factors required of all businesses nowadays, is to disseminate and understand the difference between what we at The Director-e refer to as “functional expertise”, “the far-reaching ability to understand and manage the dynamics and functional aspects of a business, to define and deliver a strategy against what is now often global competition, to understand and develop company culture and organisational behaviour, to understand global market impacts” versus the very specific technical skills that are required within a business to deliver the required strategy.

It seems to us that the engagement with Social Media channels is one of choice and relevance; in reality anyone can blog, take and post photos, write short chat lines and build personal or business profiles in LinkedIn, use #tags and @tags, we do not consider it to be a mystical art form, it is simply the modern way of passing notes and messages to friends and colleagues but in real time those social media channels are also a likely necessity in modern business which with global communications and the immediacy of events, also has to be able to operate in real time.

Here @Thedirector-e, we never cease to be amazed at the vast knowledge, insight, intuition and innovation that come from all walks of life and from across the age spectrum – on one hand we have Stephen Hawking at 74 years of age and universally revered as one of the worlds pre-eminent theoretical physicists; at the opposite end of the scale we have Mark Zuckerberg who at 20 years of age launched Facebook from his university dormitory room. One has spent a lifetime writing and theorising about why we even exist; the other, is one of the forerunners in determining how we choose to exist.

So, when considering what skills and capabilities we need for tomorrows change, perhaps it is as simple as we need them all? We will need new skills for new technologies, we will always need to be able to recognise, adapt to and capitalise on change, we need thought leaders and innovators who will challenge the status quo and disrupt tomorrow and two things that will always underpin everything – we will always need the ability to communicate effectively and we will always need seasoned and experienced leaders – leaders who are appointed by their followers?

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