Ready, Set, Lead

There are a few certainties in the world: people will disappoint you, others will amaze you and whatever you think about tomorrow is probably not going to happen. The reason? Change. And the rate of change is speeding up – rapidly. Several factors are causing this acceleration such as the expansion of technology, access and exposure to knowledge and our need to be entertained is insatiable.

By 1900, it had taken 150 years to double all human knowledge. Today it takes only two to three years. And some estimate that by the year 2020, knowledge will double every 72 days. The millennial generation (born in the 80’s and 90’s) are the largest to enter the workforce since the boomers. Nurtured through the era of “google it” instead of “look it up” they have a keen understanding of how to access anything. The question is, who is leading them?

In the past, leadership was an economic entity. The priority was to develop structures, set controls and raise income as effectively as possible. This was accomplished through a ladder system of people managing other people as they do tasks.

Today, the speed of change demands a evolved leader. To be that person, you must rapidly adapt to change and require constant involvement in skill development while leveraging increased knowledge. It is not enough to know how to do a report, but rather to read, react and adjust based on the lesson gleaned from the data.

We have to be experts in human capital, not just financial capital. We must master emotional intelligence not just economic competence. Control is out of style because it is the customer who is calling the shots. We have to align people based on this reality and not structures and spreadsheets.

Today’s leader has a grasp of emotional aptitude and understands the new order of customer influence and peoples motivations. It less about technical or financial expertise.

Does this make you nervous? Think about what your computer can do for you. It does the counting, tracking and comparing. You have to be the person who understands what to do with the information. Now we shift from managing deadlines to managing success factors. A key success factor is to develop skills for your team members so they not only produce a report but react to the report. You lead them to direct change. Leadership does not happen while you are standing still.

Your ability to manage change will be your key success factor. And my friend, it is all changing. Winning organizations are building leaders faster.