Sunday, August 9, 2020

Understand These “Thin Lines” Well to Step into “VUCA” New Normal Wisely

Understanding the “thin lines” well helps the leaders and managers demonstrate sound judgment, objective attitude, improve their competency to lead confidently, and make a seamless digital paradigm shift.

The digital era upon us is about hyper-connectivity, over-complexity, interdependence, diversification, and nonlinearity, it blurs the functional, organizational, industrial, geographical, and knowledge domain border. 

Forward-looking companies across vertical sectors are at the inflection point of digital transformation. It takes a lot of effort and resources to make change happen, and it takes even more effort to sustain changes. It's important to understand the following “thin lines” well, in order to step in the“VUCA” new normal and drive transformative changes smoothly.

The thin line between leadership and management: Good leaders are great visionaries, they can define and communicate the vision effectively, and they are realistic towards making it happen. They have great managers to compliment the execution process, understand the vision's prime directive and are capable of ensuring a smooth transition during the execution phase towards successful completion of the vision. Leaders use influence to motivate and inspire others, invite debate and challenges from employees for innovative ideas. Whereas, managers administer and execute the assigned functions with an aim to achieve targeted results.

In reality, though, leadership and management is not mutually exclusive. Most leaders have to learn to be good managers and vice versa. Business leaders have to manage, and managers have to lead to a greater or lesser extent. They need to play both roles effortlessly based on the team or organization's overall needs. The goal of understanding the “thin line” between leadership and management is to cultivate talents that are fluent in both skill sets, so they can plan strategic direction and initiatives for the company systematically, take cohesive actions to move the organization beyond its comfort zone, and transform their vision into reality in a stepwise manner.

The thin line between right and wrong: Due to the overwhelming growth of information, hypercomplex, and interdependent digital new normal, there are many grey areas and debatable concepts. For example, right and wrong is a very hard thing to define. It depends mostly on your perspective, experience, and situation. Sometimes right and wrong mean correct and incorrect: Sometimes they mean accurate or inaccurate. Sometimes they mean morally/ethically good or bad. Sometimes there is an obvious right or wrong solution to a problem which you have. But when someone else looks at the problem from their perspective, they may come up with different perspectives on what is right or wrong.

People have a tendency to look at the world the way as to how they want it to be, so anything that is not matching their criteria, they consider it as wrong, and what’s matching their vision seems right to them. Philosophically, there isn't always a right or wrong choice in any situation and there are a lot of grays. From a management perspective, understanding the “thin line” between right and wrong helps leaders to be open-minded and listen to others’ viewpoints empathetically. It helps them become more flexible to share the “right” things with others, but also be open to “wrongs,” not necessarily real wrong. They welcome challenges, encourage debates, learn the nature of each other through the aspect of civil and respectful dialog in order to step into the “VUCA” new normal wisely.

The thin line between success and failure:
Business teams innovate, research, and resolve problems in the circumstances full of complexity, uncertainty, and unpredictability, failure will happen inevitably. Sometimes you might go through a whole series of failures until you find one success. At other times, you may go through a full range of achievements before you have a failure. If you accept that the occasional failure is a certainty as an outcome of taking risks, then it makes sense to detect and deal with them effectively.

Understanding the “thin line” between success and failure helps you accept that failure is a matter of chance to drive success if you really are taking risks and working in uncertain areas. There can be a value judgment placed on failures by asking two questions: Can you turn this into a success, and could you have detected the problem sooner? Where there is a risk, you want to investigate this early and find out whether or not it can be addressed and manage it adequately, in order to turn around the situation and ultimately lead to success.

With blurred lines of organizational, industrial, and geographical territories, the dynamic ecosystem explicitly seeks to create an environment in which people can grow, and businesses focus on dynamic resources, long-term perspectives, scalable performance, and modular capabilities. During the journey of change with many accumulated steps and perhaps a few leapfrogs, understanding above “thin lines” well helps the leaders and managers demonstrate sound judgment, objective attitude, improve their competency to lead confidently, and make a seamless digital paradigm shift.


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