In my consulting and teaching, I have observed the convergence of a number of diverse forces that create pressure on leaders. No, not the level of challenges that include tighter deadlines and leaner staffing. Bigger challenges, like how to think through a problem with a group, when the problem is so complex that it isn’t easily summarized. How to solve problems when you don’t know what’s causing them, or have the tools to solve them, but solving them is your job. Work has gone up in complexity the equivalent of giant steps.
What this means for CEOs, CLOs (Chief Learning Officers) and CHROs (Chief Human Resource Officers) is that we must learn how to navigate the new complexities if we ever expect the other leaders in the organization to do so. The tools we have used in the past are of little use to leaders now. The level of complexity of leadership development programs needs to at least match the level of complexity of the day-to-day leadership challenges that leaders in the organization are facing. The practice activities should be more complex than current problems, so that we are preparing leaders to handle the things that will crop up in the future, not just the ones that they’re struggling with right now.
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