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VUCA

Fit for the Future

Some of us grew up at a time where only some families had a fixed phone line. We might even remember that we had to go to our neighbors’ home to make a call. I guess most of us remember visiting a travel agency to buy our travel tickets. Our parents worked for the same employer for years and years. In some countries people who worked over 30-40 years for the same employer, used to get a gift for long term loyalty. Our parents were convinced that certain jobs are great and we better aim to follow this path. Ideally continuing the same profession, they had chosen. That was consider back then, a great way to create a “solid” future.

This has been the world of the last century for (more or less) most of the people in the so called “Western World”. Nowadays there are more and more publications suggesting that the jobs that exist today might disappear in the next decades. We read that the jobs that will be in trend in 10, 20 years from now, don’t even exist right now. We just need to think of some people claiming a job title of a “Vlogger” or “YouTuber”. Who would ever imagine a “job title” like this 20 years ago.

The skills required for us to thrive in the future are mostly unknown. The future of work is quite unpredictable. The pace of change right now is exponential. They say that the change in the in the next 30 years might be equivalent of the change that happened in the last 300 years.

Who knows what could be the Leadership skills required from Organizations, if one day they end up “employing” 80% humanoid robots and only 20% humans?

The rise of the so called VUCA world has already a major impact for all of us, especially the ones that actively lead teams. First of all, many of these teams are based in different locations around the globe. This means that the biggest part of the collaboration is virtual. In addition, team members have diverse cultural and generational backgrounds. Hierarchical structures do not matter as they used to do. Not everyone in these teams is equally aware and/or comfortable with the existing set up and the upcoming changes. Leaders have a major role to play in helping their teams to become “Fit for the Future”.

According to research by McKinsey&Company social & emotional skills will remain relevant despite the rise of the digital world: “Our research finds that the strongest growth in demand will be for technological skills, the smallest category today, which will rise by 55 percent and by 2030 … This surge will affect demand for basic digital skills as well as advanced technological skills such as programming. Demand for social and emotional skills such as leadership and managing others will rise by 24 percent…”. (Skill Shift Automation and the future of the workforce, Discussion Paper, May 2018).

It seems that the more we will have “machines” substituting humans at work, the more the added value of humans will have to be differentiated from the one of the machines. Leaders of the future have a real mission to start cultivating the new set of skills required. Skills related to Agility, Creativity and Digital Savviness.

To join the discussion on LinkedIn, please go to: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fit-future-vassilis-chantziaras/
Communication

Organisations needs more Kokopelli… and so do I!

Have you ever heard about the legend of Kokopelli?

Kokopelli is one of the most intriguing and widespread images surviving from ancient Anasazi Indian mythology. It is considered the spirit of music and the symbol of fertility who brought well-being to the people, assuring success in hunting, planting and growing crops, and human conception.

There are several legends around Kokopelli. But what I would like to do here is tell you how I discovered it.

Some weeks ago I was speaking about leadership with a client –  a relatively young leader who has always impressed me for his degree of unconventional thinking. He was commenting on the fact that ‘organisations need more dreamers’.

“Tell me more?” I asked

“Well, I have a tattoo which represents Kokopelli. You can read up all the legends and stories about Kokopelli. What has always intrigued me about this symbol is that whatever he does, wherever he goes, his effects stay. When he arrives in a new place his presence is never silent though it is never noisy.

 Through his songs and his rebellious spirit, he always makes himself heard.  More importantly, though, he doesn’t just ‘come and go’, he leaves something behind him. Nobody is ever the same after meeting Kokopelli. But nobody depends on Kokopelli for good.  It is as though his music stayed in the background and moulded with the people and landscape taking on a different rhythm”.

The words of this client and his story about Kokopelli accompanied me in the journey back home when I started writing this blog. Why did it make me think so much? Why did it resonate with me so much?

This is what I thought…

Organisations need more Kokopelli – they need people who want to shake things up not just for the sake of doing it but because they take full accountability of the effects.

Organisations need people that will raise their head and look around, that want to scan inside and outside of their context for a bigger impact.

Organisations need leaders that constantly work towards leaving a legacy.

More importantly, organisations need leaders who don’t feel indispensable because they know that if they have succeeded in having an impact, that impact will be much stronger when they leave.

What else?

I met this same client the other day – just after his top-level management role was confirmed. This is what he said:

 “Now I need to focus on growing the person who will replace me. My Kokopelli has to ensure that the echo of his music takes a new rhythm – the rhythm of its legacy”.

Personally I am in a fascinating moment of my professional life. Following years of believing that time was a relative concept for me because my face and my spirit don’t show my age, I have now started to notice a shift in the way I look at myself and those around me…and in the way people perceive me as a woman and as a leader.

An example? As the Head of the TCO Coaching Practice I find myself thinking everyday about the rhythm that I want my Kokopelli to leave behind.

Join the discussion on this post on Linkedin: https://lnkd.in/ey32aYP

Leadership

It takes a fool to remain sane: lessons of authentic leadership

There is no better way of speaking about effective leadership than to write the real story of an authentic leader.

I have recently been involved in conversations with a relatively young leader responsible for 1.250 people in a complex and politically delicate organisation.

All our talks have been around what leadership looks like in every-day life. More specifically:

  • How can you focus on developing your people while dealing with emergencies 24 hours a day?
  • How can you be someone people look up to with respect while still being emotionally accessible?
  • How can you keep connected with organisational priorities while not losing sight of details?(which, in his case, can potentially put people’s life in danger)

Here is what he says:

I am just like everybody else. Possibly my only difference is that I have not forgotten how to play. Playing means not being victims of social clichés. It means not apologizing for what you do and having the courage to challenge the conventions others expect you to blindly follow. Only if you stay in the position of openness and positive curiosity that children typically have, can you then be attentive to what happens around you – be it expected or, especially, unexpected… on the other hand, as my favourite songs says ‘it takes a fool to remain sane’.

As a coach and consultant, I am often in conversations with both established leaders and with high potentials in their first people management position. I see excellence and challenges every day. I see ambitions and struggles. I see desires and dreams.

What I don’t see a lot of is voicing ‘the gut feeling’ – that deep energy that comes from the belly and that we all have thanks to our own and unique experiences and failures. That intuition that comes from thinking and feeling freely and that can make you go much further than expected. In other words, that creative and liberating energy that we can foster only by allowing ourselves moments of craziness…

or… as The Ark sing:

Do, do, do what you wanna do

Don’t think twice,

do what you have to do

Do, do, do, do, let your heart decide

That’s all there is to find

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