Monday, October 12, 2015

How to Fill Three Leadership Gaps

The more gaps a leader can mind, the better and bigger influence she/he can make.

Competition at the leading edge of business is fierce at the age of digitalization and globalization. Successful companies need to grow and innovate, investing in, and developing the next generation of leadership is one of the best ways to do that. Many studies show that there are significant leadership gaps for high potentials who will be tomorrow’s leaders. The cookie-cutting matching approach more possibly lands a homogeneous follower, not discover an authentic leader. And traditional talent pipeline is not sufficient enough to select heterogeneous, creative, and authentic leaders who can lead more effectively in today’s digital dynamic and global business setting. To put simply, there are many multinational companies around, but very few global companies; and there are many multinational business executives, but very few truly global leaders. If you are not taking steps now to shrink that leadership gaps, you will not be prepared to lead the digital business in the future. So what are the significant gaps need to be filled effectively?

Cognition Gaps: The traditional concept of diversity can not fill out the gaps caused by cognitive difference necessarily, the culture intelligence, and the strengths of the problem-solving capabilities people bring to the team. In order to build a high-effective leadership team, foresightful organizations should always look for the complementary mindsets, capabilities and skills that they don't have so that they can build a winning team and complement each other. In such a global climate, those businesses that are unwilling to GENUINELY embrace “thinking differently,” are unable to know how to tap their diverse resources, and be inclusive and recognize merit and ideas, no matter where they come from, will not be able to survive, leave alone thrive. Minding the cognitive gaps can benefit with any organization to make a sound judgment, and generate innovative solutions, to improve your company’s agility and maturity.

Generation Gaps: There is a surging need which is related to the realization that the gap is widening between boomers and the next group of workers. Whether this is related to just the generation gap or other economic factors, they are now recognizing the need to prepare the leadership succession. The key to organizational success is to integrate next generation of leaders, tap into their way of looking at the world, solving problems with very collaborative working style. By tapping into this next generation of leaders, supporting them in leading projects and giving them responsibilities early on our organizations will have a better chance to stay relevant.

Creativity Gaps: There are some competencies such as self-awareness and interpersonal competence that are the focus of leadership development. Creativity has become the #1 desired quality either for leaders or digital professionals. Creativity to some extent is the nature of seeing the patterns that already exist, and then being able to predict how they change, and sometimes manipulate them in a direction that fits our needs or that of our objective, to come out an alternative way to solve the problems. Creativity is an outcome of a deep understanding of the patterns of thinking that underlies Systems Thinking. There are "common structures" that can be used for the purpose of creativity  are produced by combining different patterns of Systems Thinking. A creative leader without systemic thinking might lack structure frame to keep focus. A creative leader can influence and build a culture of innovation. If there’s idea gap, it means the cause to gap may have something to do with corporate culture, it is imperative for improving the organization's culture to one that is more innovative, inspires creativity, celebrates or allows failure or prototyping. If you have or develop the right culture, through change management, if necessary, then everything else can be connected. An adaptive culture makes innovation & improvement easier. It is easier to collect, facilitate, and manage ideas more optimally. Finally, if you get the culture right, then people feel they have the freedom to try and even to fail.

There is no one generic set of leadership skills. Effective leadership differs by level, the type of organization, the stage of organizational evolution, the mindset of stakeholders (particularly boards of directors), the complexity of the product, the national and political culture, and many other variables. In order to mind the gaps, the leadership principles should be abstracted and highlighted, the criteria need to be refined, and leadership development has to be re-tuned and integrated with all other policies and procedures. it starts at the hiring process, needs to be linked to company culture, mission, vision, and values, and of course, there is a direct link to performance management -both thinking performance and action performance.


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