A publication I once received around the Mighty Davos meeting portrays the views of five expert academics on the topic of leadership for the future, probably all attending that-type-of-business-conclave. Here are their five vignettes:
1.’The leaders who fare best at predicting the future are the ones who recognize that the future is unpredictable’.
2. ‘Heightened uncertainty puts a premium on good judgement’.
3. ‘Leaders must be able to build organizations that are agile and can routinely innovate’.
4. ‘One key skill that all responsible leaders need to have today is a deep understanding of the key global trends driving change’.
5. ‘The path to leadership is both an inner and outer journey’.
OK! Now, try to (a) disagree with any of these; (b) take the advice as an operational yardstick; (c) combinations…
Can we unpack it a bit please?
The leaders who fare best at predicting the future are the ones who recognize that the future is unpredictable. Please explain. So what do they predict? That the future is unpredictable, or a particularly unpredictable future?
Premium on good judgement? You bet. Bad judgement sounds like a bad idea, leaders or no leaders.
Building organizations that are agile and can routinely innovate? Yep. But, is there anything else? I heard that in the last decade.
One key skill that all responsible leaders need to have today is a deep understanding of the key global trends driving change. Sure. If you don’t, you should not be paid, let alone be a ‘responsible leader’. The irresponsible ones presumably don’t care.
The path to leadership is both an inner and outer journey. I could not agree more, but, what does it have to do with leadership, that it does not for all of us as plain vanilla human beings?
Is leadership so elusive? Or only in the hands of academics?
It is frustrating that people who are portrayed as ‘leaders and experts on leadership’, generate platitudes of such a magnitude which I would not tolerate from junior consultants applying for a job with us.
You could say that I have taken lines out of context. And I have. But I have also red the rest of that context and it does not add much to the position. It may well be that the journalist has edited them. That I could imagine. And I hope this is the case.
I promise you, I don’t want to make fun of the academics or anybody else for that matter. Not a good use of my time. Just want to find meaningful conversations on leadership style, and it has been a long, long time since I have had a good aha!
Maybe it’s just me who does not get it. I don’t get this Davos stuff.
This Daily Thought is featured in my recent release: Camino – Leadership Notes on the Road. Available to purchase on all major online book stores.
To find out more read this Extract Camino Chapter 1