Corporate Climate Check: Disruption, the New “Normal”

The times they are a-changing…

One could argue that this has always been true. There have been constant shifts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries that have made things unpredictable and uncertain for many workers and businesses. I don’t think there can be any argument that the last decade has brought a level of change that is unprecedented. However, a constant stream of new “disruptions” to the marketplace has kept us on our toes in a way that we’ve never had to before.

This decade has been one of global integration, and there is a fundamental shift underway in terms of the way the world works. Technology is bringing us unprecedented levels of interconnection and interdependencies, and we are all connected on more dimensions now than we were even five years ago. Technology is also changing expectations of service, communication, and human interaction. Generational gaps (Gen Y, Millennials, Boomers) can cause rifts in corporations that demand accelerated learning and new ways to communicate. Problems are becoming more complex and the skills people need to address these complex issues are ever-changing.

We are now, more than ever, subject to the causes and effects of any number of unseen and unpredictable forces. From alternative currencies, to increases in the project-based and “side hustle” workforces, vulnerabilities to super bugs, and disruptions in food chain supplies, things are changing faster than many people and companies can keep up. These disruptions are only going to be coming at us more rapidly as time goes on. Think about the impact that severe global climate change will have on every aspect of our society. Or think about our mounting energy and water issues. What are the solutions to these problems and how will those solutions change the world? We just don’t know yet!

We just have to accept that. These disruptions are now the norm, not the exception. And speaking of “disruptions”…

Today, business is a global system of interdependent systems which means there are opportunities for large system failures and many unintended consequences. Just take, for example, the recent cyber attack that knocked out some of the most popular sites on the internet across the western world. Suddenly, social, business, and leisure tools that we all take for granted were gone! No Twitter, no Tumblr… News sources like the New York Times and CNN were knocked out. Even one of the largest and most popular marketplaces in the world, Amazon, was taken down. We have to be aware that these cyber attacks could become more frequent as our society starts to become even more interconnected.

According to a IBM study of 1,500 CEOs around the world, creativity is the single most important leadership competency needed for organizations that wish to navigate this incredible complexity successfully. The convergence and influences now facing businesses and CEOs create entirely unique situations that many “tried and true” solutions, processes, or thinking patterns can no longer effectively address. Experimentation, risk-taking, and innovation, not only in process and design, but in mindsets, skills and leadership behaviors, have never been in higher demand. In addition to creativity, leaders must have flexibility, and the ability to create coherence and collaboration, stabilize practices, and inspire employees. These skills are no longer a luxury for our leaders and employees; they are necessities.

Leaders now need to access wisdom and practices from all four main intelligences (mental, emotional, somatic and perspective) in order to fully maximize their own and their team’s brilliance:

Emotional: A leader needs to be able to recognize their own emotions, as well as the emotions of their team. They have to use this information to guide their thinking and behavior, to establish trust between people, and to develop mutually satisfying relationships.

Cognitive: The ability to think rationally and use logic is absolutely essential for a leader. This kind of intelligence is necessary for recognizing the parameters of an issue and developing effective solutions. In a world where interconnected systems are the norm, you need to have an intellectual understanding of how they all work.

Physical: Being able to know your own body, its signals and rhythms, is what allows you to alter your thoughts, feelings, actions, and outcomes. This involves taking note of when you are exhausted, stressed, panicked, frustrated… By being aware of how your body is reacting to these states, you can start to take control of them.

Perception: You must be able to sense subtle information from the body language of others. This can occur on a deeper level, when you have gut feelings and intuition. As a leader, you must trust yourself to interpret these instincts and put them into action.

As a leader in today’s world, developing these four main intelligences is par for the course. By getting in touch with them, not only will you grow as a person, but as a leader who has to deal with the disruptions of an unpredictable world every day. 

Get in touch with us with us today to discuss our global corporate changes and how they affect you!