106 Communications

6th Sense

106 Breakfast Series: Preparing for the Unthinkable

February 2016 | 106 Breakfast Series, Collaboration, Culture, Leadership

Just over half of Fortune 500 has disappeared since 2000.  We will probably see 40% disappear in the next 10 years alone.  Change is happening – and faster than ever.

We really do live in a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA).

There are the very real threats of pandemics, terrorism, political decisions, financial crisis, community activism, even employee emails.

Not to mention every other competitor wanting to eat your lunch, dinner and breakfast.

Yet leaders are often unprepared for crisis and often reluctant to take on radical change.

So what’s to be done? Peter Wright gave us an inspiring talk on the world of Leadership and Preparing for the Unthinkable.

Drawing on his experience of working with leading organisations around the world, both as a leader and a consultant, he asked some challenging questions.

Why is leadership development simply focused on traditional notions?

Would your colleagues know and understand what your organisation’s strategy is?

What is the point of your top 100 leadership?

What will organisations look like in the future?

(We’ll leave you to think about these questions for the moment.) Meanwhile, Peter described a vision of what leadership could be.

Devolved.

At graduate level.

At management level.

At executive level.

A much more flexible and responsive organisation where status and hierarchy are replaced by leadership and accountability at every level.

More than that leadership development becomes a process rather than a programme.

Nirvana? Not if you’re Peter Wright. This is the way organisations will succeed. While others that stick to the strictures of old will be those that disappear.

One final footnote.  

I was struck by some data he shared from Boston Consulting Group about how there will be a ‘perfect storm’ in leadership – with baby boomer retirement, millennials and gen Z rejecting the corporate ladder, tech change, poor D&I strategies and an inability to keep workforces suitably educated.

Yes.  It could be catastrophic.  It could also herald the biggest leadership change in generations.  

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