I came across an article discussing “What Leadership Will Look Like In 20 Years” by Rick Smith. He discusses six major shifts he believes will mark how the most effective leaders will behave in twenty years. Reading the list I was kind of disappointed that future of leadership is pretty much the same as today with minor, technical, changes. Not that I’m good in predicting a future (who is?) but I would like to challenge you with my thoughts and brief explanation on what I think about our future leadership issues.
It is not a technology that will be the driver any more. The technological doctrine present today will be upgraded with social subjects /dimensions/ that are today missing especially within a business context. Due to technology evolution in semantic web in future the focus would be shifted from today’s “right questions” to more complicated topics. It will be important to have a proper education to know how to interpret answers, data, information instantly gotten over the Internet.
P. Sange’s learning organization principles will be the answer to today’s proven static organizational methods and processes. As innovation will shape ambiguity and therefore anticipation by agility would be the answer. Changing landscape will ask for even more continual learning at work for employees and leaders. This, in return, will influence a whole organizational structure, behavior and not only leaders. Therefore, proper leadership skills to lead in this kind of an environment would be crucial.
Today’s decisions are pushed as a central command and will be changed due to information flow from internet and intranet communication within a company and with the market. The issue will be how to make decisions and consecutively responsibility will be spread more than today. It will be an environment where leaders in organizational structures will be everywhere and on all levels as employees will instantaneously reply to demands from market and/or organizational needs. There will be no time to wait for “a command line”.
We are already experiencing the shift from the so called “four P” /price, product, place, promotion/ to the fifth one “personalization”. It is already obvious today more than ever and it doesn’t matter if it is about a car or a consumer appliance. I’m convinced that then the customers will be driving market even more and not as today where multinational organizations shape it and consumers respond. Customers (through their NGO) will have accurate and abundant information about products, they will be able to switch fast and replace products or services, etc. They’ll be taking in their hands and shaping what, how, for how much and what kind of quality products and services will be sold. To embrace those customers’ needs leaders would have to have a vision supported by impressive research and development department.
Employees’ skills and behaviors that today create growth and innovation will be complemented by currently mostly blind spotted issues on their cultural diversity or corporate culture. This two issues, due to multinational cooperation and globalization, will be something that a leader will have to be aware off and have knowledge how to deal with.
Finally, my prediction would go as well to the reshaping of current market system. It causes lots of problems to markets as well as to the Nature. Rather than dealing with capital and financial issues a new, more democratic, market system should evolve on the ashes of today’s mostly slavery system we are executing. For that a new, even better, leadership is crucial with all new attitudes, consideration of emotions and other issues that are overlooked today but are essential and healthy for Nature as well as for our successors.
I would appreciate your comments.