Leadership development historically has two basic approaches: focusing on personal development and targeting an individual’s job skills. These were enough in a relatively stable environment. However, in a dynamic and fast changing world, leaders must be adept at dealing with changing environments. This new contextual approach to leadership fills the gap between personal and organizational mastery.
Wise leaders collect, decipher, weigh and use information from all points of view to capitalize on opportunities and avoid being blindsided by trends due to narrow perspectives. A limited lens, or frame of reference creates blinders. This lens is also called current driving Mindset. If we ignore some data, we open ourselves to unnecessary risk. This current driving Mindset is one of six Mindsets which enable you to assess opportunities, threats, and risks characteristic of your organization. Seeing the big picture ensures that your actions, plans, and decisions target the right outcome and address the critical challenges.
Mental agility remains a key leadership practice. Leaders who have foresight to see reality will be more proactive. To put this in practical terms, a leader who elects to act when noticing a fire code violation offers more value than one who waits until they see flames. It saves lives, property, and opportunities for the future.
Leaders with ability to make decisions or judgments which balance short-term and long-term priorities play an invaluable role moving an organization forward. It is often the ability to change minds and gain commitment of others to produce results, depends on collecting and evaluating data from six Mindsets:
The desire to develop new ideas, products, and services is high in the Inventing Mindset. This Mindset also seeks new internal synergies and cross-functional innovation.
A focus on fast action to meet customer requirements, keeping existing customers and building the brand and beating the competition drive this Catalyzing Mindset.
Building infrastructure, creating policies and systems are the focus of the Developing Mindset as are se goals and establishing policies.
Process improvement, safety, and profit margins are in focus in the Performing Mindset. In this Mindset, quality, improving productivity and performance metric are in the forefront.
The Protecting Mindset includes developing talent and building the internal culture of an organization. It also concentrates on succession planning, team collaboration, and engagement.
The desire to test assumptions, create strategic options and adjust the business plan is primary in the Challenging Mindset. Discerning and spreading best practices, seeking new alliances and niches are key to sustainability.
Neglecting to comprehensively collect and examine data generates blunders. Consider the fate of Blackberry, Kodak, and Blockbuster.
The writing was on the wall, but they failed to see it. Their limited situational awareness blinded them to the need for change. Situational awareness is the missing link in leadership development. It provided leaders with the ability to see what is on the wall, around the corner, and within reach. It is time we help leaders effectively read the realities they are confronting.