The insights from Duke Corporate Education’s CEO study reveal challenges facing leaders have changed in material and less familiar ways. They are less predictable and knowledge is less reliable. Given the nature of these challenges, it is imperative that the way leaders develop and prepare for this interdependent world, also undergoes fundamental reform. Preparation to lead when less is predictable, familiar and reliable, requires more than just new knowledge; a change in how we think, act and interact is vital.
From these conversations, two main issues were identified contributing to a ‘new leadership context’.
First, challenges are less predictable and, second, knowledge is less reliable. Known constants in leadership are changing, if not vanishing. When asked how change is different these days, CEOs explained that it is almost impossible to predict future changes and, due to increased global interconnection, current mental models are no longer accurate as the nature of change accelerates.
For the first time in the modern era, emerging and developing countries account for more than a third of total world output. In today’s interconnected world, not only do nations depend on each other, but organizations and their leaders do so as well, often in ways that are not anticipated or easily interpreted.
Many of the mental models held by leaders have been turned upside down. Leaders cannot predict the issues they will face because not only is the playing field different, but so are the players, often with unfamiliar notions of power playing out in different cultures.
How can managers and businesses survive and thrive in the ‘leadership supernova’?