Change is hard.
Foresight—looking forward—is hard. Why? Because we prefer certainty and concreteness to ambiguity and abstraction.
Becoming a new normal leader requires shifting your perspective. It means becoming biased towards consistent, persistent evolution, not inclined to keep things the way they are which results in stagnant-status-quo-sameness. Your organization’s sustainable success depends upon you transforming from normal to new normal leadership says Radar’s Tod Martin. And it’s really hard because it requires changing how you lead.
(Hat Tips Radar Journal.)
Understanding Exponential Change
Consider this scenario…
Let’s assume your boss walked into your office and said that she was going to give you your bonus now. You could have a $100 bill immediately or one penny today that would be doubled every day for a month. Which would you choose?
Most choose the $100 bill. And your boss would then proceed to explain that you just saved her more than $5 million. That’s the magnitude of exponential or compounded change.
Too many organizations are still making the $100 choice! Is yours?
It’s A VUCA World
Exponential change clearly creates a different set of environmental conditions than previously experienced.
The U.S. Military introduced the term VUCA—an acronym for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous—to describe the world that resulted from the end of the Cold War.
The deeper meaning of each component of VUCA underscores the need for leaders and their teams to evolve from the practices of the past. It’s how leaders can view their organization’s current and future state. It relates to how leaders plan, make decisions, manage, adapt to change and problem-solve.
- Volatile – the nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.
- Uncertain – the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.
- Complex – the multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain and confusion that surrounds organization.
- Ambiguous – the haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.
Leading In The New Normal
Leading in the new normal is hard. It requires a new set of skills that many have not yet perfected.
1. First, we have to increase our self-awareness.
We have to see ourselves more objectively. We must put our self into perspective as if stepping out of our body and evaluating our actions. Growth happens only when we are willing to experience, reflect and progress through difficult situations with difficult emotions from difficult challenges. And we allow this process to change us.
2. Along with this shift in perspective, leaders have to focus on alignment.
They must align with the organization’s mission, strategy, customers’ needs and future possibilities. Using aligned foresight is hard and often feels clumsy.
3. Another challenge with leading in the new normal is that it’s now a team sport.
It requires that the leadership team adapt collectively through coordinated change. As if it wasn’t hard enough for you to increase your self-awareness and see yourself more objectively. Now the entire team has to evolve through this process.
Ultimately, the new normal is anything but normal. It’s not business as usual. The bigger question is whether our leadership has changed with it.
What’s holding you back from evolving into new normal leadership? What’s most challenging about new normal leadership?