2019 is looking like a difficult year to come. Geopolitical and economical instability is everywhere. Climate evolution is triggering deep changes in environmental regulations and policies that are impacting and questioning our development model with unpredictable effects like the social unrest in France that has been and is still poisoning the business atmosphere in the country. On the bright side, innovation is accelerating, giving access to life-changing technologies we never could have dream of even a few years ago. All these elements and many others are contributing to the growing complexity of our day to day reality. Being a company leader in such an environment is becoming a more difficult exercise. These leaders are confronted with new unknown challenges and questions they need to solve more rapidly than ever. Their role is changing. They are expected not only to ensure the functioning of their organization but to reinvent it permanently in this moving world. To be able to do so they need not only new competences but new personal capacities linked with their psychological resources. Capacities among others to innovate, to be autonomous and to make decisions in the mist of uncertainty. These capacities are of key importance for leaders to fulfill their mission in this very uncertain world; and to avoid doubts, distrust and disengagement of their constituants.
As the architect of the company project and business model, leaders ensure the overall coherency of the plans and actions taken in the organization. To ensure such a coherency in a fast moving environment, leaders must constantly be on the lookout to manage evolving interactions between the different parts from conception and ideas to actual implementation. This requires more than ever a strong capacity to listen actively, ask questions and encourage challenges and confrontational ideas from their teams.
As the ultimate guarantor of the link between global and local, leaders need to build strong bridges between ideas and implementation details. To do so they need to be out of their office most of the time, meeting with the teams and constantly recall the vision and the commitment. Communicating not only to deliver information but to provide a direction and meaning to the action. Leaders will promote exchanges and dialog among the organization to develop the collective intelligence of the system. This will foster an efficient functioning of the organization and ensure that all the energy and levers are collectively oriented toward the objectives.
As the pilot of the performance, leaders need to build a strong system able to produce the expected results. This system in the current environment needs to be agile. That is to say a system able to quickly react to unforeseen changes without being obliged to refer systematically to the the top for a decision. To be able to react, the system needs to be informed and therefore leaders are expected to propose pertinent KPIs to track and measure performance evolution. The system needs as well to be able to adapt and therefore developing permanent learning capacities is becoming a must. Finally, leaders are also expected to animate and energize the system they have set up.
These tasks require a strong energy and capacities from the leader but not only. They question the leader capacity to sort out priorities, select the important battles and ignore the others. They require a capacity to genuinely « let go » and trust the others capacities to deliver. This is an internal dilemma that leaders have to fight on a daily basis. Alone they can fail, victim of complacent attitude and narcissism, blind to their own limitations. They can also reach out for help and support with a coach or sparing partner who will support them on the way to transformation.