One of my favorite quotes by the great Harvard Business School Professor and Innosight co-founder Clay Christensen when he said: “the new game begins before the old one ends.”
We all seen companies unable to change, pivot and transform themselves in the face of a changing context.
In many ways, all the unprecedented events that unfolded this year have essentially changed the game overnight. A global pandemic upended our world. We needed to confront systemic racism. We also needed to quickly adapt to new ways of working as many employees were at home balancing work and family demands in ways fundamentally different ways.
The many conversations that I have had with senior executives in my network confirm that many of the change drivers that were already happening and bringing about the new game accelerated at warp speed. However, COVID-19 accelerated the pace and the need to pivot and change.
Leaders have always had to stay one step ahead of the transformative forces that impact businesses on a broader scale. Sometimes they can; other times, they can only react and respond.
The Five Key Drivers Reshaping Our World
In my new book, Accountable Leaders, I outline five key drivers that are changing what it means to be a leader in today’s world. These ideas were summarized in a great infographic by Visual Capitalist. Let’s explore them a little further.
- Transformative Technologies
Over the last number of decades, several technologies have emerged that could either accelerate companies’ disruption or provide them with new growth opportunities.
- Geopolitical Instability
Geopolitical risks—such as trade disputes or civil unrest—can have a catastrophic impact on a business’s bottom line, no matter its industry. By being more sensitive to the world around them, leaders can anticipate and potentially mitigate these risks.
- Revolutionizing the Working Environment
As the future of work looms, leaders are being presented with the opportunity to reimagine the inner workings of their company. By creating an inspiring work environment and investing in retraining and reskilling, leaders can nurture employee well-being and build a sense of connectedness and resilience in the workplace.
- Delivering Diversity
Diversity and inclusion can serve as a path to engaging employees, and leaders are being asked to step up and deliver like never before. But while delivering diversity, equity, and inclusion is growing in importance, many companies are struggling to understand the weight of this issue. Leaders must create a place of belonging —regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, or age.
- Repurposing Corporations
The drivers listed above ladder up to the fact that society is looking to businesses to help solve critical issues and leaders are the ones being held accountable. For a long time, the purpose of corporations was purely to create value for shareholders. Now, leaders are obligated to address and help resolve several social challenges we face so they can build trust, which is critical for sustained growth and building a productive and satisfied workforce.
Introducing my Lead The Future Video Podcast
Leaders must understand the context they operate in to identify opportunities that could fuel their organization’s growth, or help them pivot in the face of impending threats. By recognizing the new leadership rules, CEOs and managers can successfully lead their organizations and the world into a new and uncertain future.
To help you do this, I’m excited to announce the launch of my new video podcast, Lead the Future. It will feature interviews with compelling business leaders and thinkers about the big ideas and significant issues that leaders must understand to lead effectively in today’s and tomorrow’s world.
These leaders also realize that the fundamental challenge that they face is how to lead the future that will continue to be everchanging and dynamic. To be successful, leaders at all levels will need compelling ideas and inspiration to lead the future with vision, passion, courage and accountability. Yes, accountability.
I hope that my video podcast will help bring you these ideas and inspiration, and more.
Episode 1 with Alain Dehaze, CEO of The Adecco Group
The first episode features Alain Dehaze, the CEO of The Adecco Group, one of the world’s largest HR services and staffing companies. In our discussion, Alain speaks to how he and his company led during the early days of the global pandemic and what he does to cope and manage the pressures and demands of being the leader of a global Fortune 500 company. He also shares findings from Adecco’s recent research on the changing nature of work. Finally, he discusses how he and his leaders created a leadership contract to establish clear expectations for all Adecco leaders.
You can watch the video podcast here
This week’s Gut Check for Leaders asks: Are You Ready to Lead The Future?