Why is the best investment strategy a human one?

In the face of a business landscape characterized by increasing automation, AI, and the digital disruption of business models, leadership has never been more important. However, leadership in the dynamic world in which we work is no longer effective as a top-down, hierarchical approach. Research tells us that leadership is multi-directional, emergent, and highly contextual. Our working world has changed enough to necessitate a rethink — to challenge assumptions about what it means to be a leader in today’s world and to be clear about what is needed beyond the fundamentals.Traditional leadership competencies are still important for success. But a new set of knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed to lead today.

Where will you end up if you can’t see where you are going?

In years gone by, it was the organization’s strategy that was the mechanism for uniting and focusingthe workforce. In a VUCA world, where an organization’s strategy must evolve at a pace to keep up, let alone remain competitive, it is purpose that needs to be the galvanizing force in an organization.

"Great leaders will successfully navigate the tension of embracing disruption and leading virtually with the uniquely human skills of social and emotional intelligence"

Purpose-driven leaders know how to build a trusting environment where people can be their authentic selves. They help align people’s work and effort to a higher order, and they use purpose to manage turbulence and help teams make decisions in the face of significant uncertainty. Purposeis one of those essential conditions to put in place to inspire and motivate great performance. However, it will have limited utility unless you consider it alongside how you cultivate better collaboration and teaming.

Self-reflection:

• What gives you energy and fulfilment?

• What sacrifices would you make to do something you believed in?

• Do you help others see how “what they are about” is nested within what your team or organization is all about?

• How has purpose helped create clarity in your decisions and actions?

Are high performing teams born or made?

Teaming is fast becoming a premium leadership capability. Organizations are increasingly dependent on peopleto work together more seamlessly across teams, across borders, and even beyond traditional organizational boundaries. High performing teams are more than a collection of naturally talented individuals. It is a rigorous practice that requires ongoing focus and discipline to drive team performance and results.

There are certain features that help stack the decks in favor of people accomplishing great things together:

• Psychological safety is a significant component of people’s ability to work collectively and collaboratively. This means the team can admit weaknesses and mistakes, ask for help without hesitation, share their real opinion without needing to be protective or careful around the group.

• Outstanding teams are well designed with solid structures. They comprise of the “right people” who are selected not because of their role in the organization but because they can contribute in a meaningful way to the work of the team. True teams are clearly bounded and collectively committed to a common goal and approach, with mutually accountability for the team’s success.

• Great teams come together because they have a performance challenge to solve; a compelling and urgent focus that is the vital work of all the team. These performance challenges create teams, not just the desire to be a great team.

Self-reflection:

• To what extent do you seek others’ ideas and opinions? Do you come from a place of curiosity and non-judgement?

• How do you leverage difference for a collective advantage?

• What behaviors do you exhibit to create a culture whereby getting it wrong is an opportunity to learn?

• How do you balance your time focusing on teamwork and defining the work of the team?

What intelligence will we need to create a smart future?

Advancementsin technology have revolutionized our world and daily lives. Staying competitive and relevant in an environment where change is constant relies on knowing when to leverage technology to drive growth, deliver efficiencies, and enhance a brand. This is further amplified by the exceptional and unprecedented global impacts of COVID-19. However, technology also has the potential to depersonalize work – work that will continue to need diverse human energy and ingenuity. Technology also has the potential to impede our ability to be present, lead mindfully and switch off.These diametrically opposing forces will continue to be amplified asour digital economy advances. Great leaders will successfully navigate the tension of embracing disruption and leading virtually with the uniquely human skills of social and emotional intelligence.

Self-reflection:

• To what extent are you able to set aside distractions to give others your full attention?

• How do you self-regulate your emotions and thoughts?

• How do you guard against over-reliance on emails and instant-messaging, to ensure your team builds meaningful relationships?

• How do you help find or support leveraging emerging technologies to help your team and organization get an edge?

As our paradigm for leadership shifts fromtraditional to progressive, and our landscape moves fromindustrial to digital, we need to accelerate those who can lead with purpose, who collaborate to accelerate team performance and results, and who can leverage technology but know when to turn it off for meaningful human connections. As you reflect on your strengths, how effective are you as a transformative leader? Consider – who is following you?