What does future ready leadership mean ?

January, 2017

Let me begin by wishing you all a happy, prosperous, peaceful & fulfilling New Year 2017 ! It is already the 2nd week of January and am sure the spate of new year wishes has subsided by now. As I look back on what I focussed on during 2016, it seems a myriad of things – right from the incredible way in which the Government of India announced the Start Up India, Stand Up India initiative followed by the promise of ‘no-taxes’ (largely misunderstood by the startup community) to the surge in entrepreneurship post Budget 2016-17 to a reality check in funding during the later part of the year; the silver jubilee of the 1991 LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation & Globalisation) to passing of the GST bill to setting up of the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) to the introduction of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code 2016; the ongoing flurry of notifications under the Companies Act, 2013 coupled with the technical bloopers of the unapologetic Infosys managed MCA website (which has turned our lives into a nightmare); the surgical strike of the army to the mother of all surgical strikes on the parallel economy –Demonitisation to Brexit !! While these were on the professional side, I had a take on Karun Nair’s triple century and sports as a career in our country and in our rotting education system. I had also shared with you a deeply philosophical poem by my little niece which was very well received.

I do not know what lies in store for us this year. I am not a future gazer. I will go with the flow and take life as it comes. But I would definitely like to place before you 4 pointers to the future that Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan of IIMB highlighted in her recent inspiring talk “What does future ready leadership mean?”.

– Change is happening as we speak, thanks largely due to technology. Will continue at a higher intensity and a magnitude that we cannot anticipate. Decisions are to be made. Every decision has a consequence. Every consequence is intended and somewhat unintended. A leader requires the capacity to anticipate the unintended changes and manage the risk . How to manage unintended change ? Reengineer our management tools and orientation to lead our lives.

-Forecasting is a thing of past. Vocabulary of forecasting is linearity. Capacity to anticipate and see patterns is a defining capability. Requires diagnosis and capability to sense a phenomenon. A leader requires this medical vocabulary of Prognosis-diagnosis, Proscribe-prescribe and Diagnosie-derisk.

-Yesterday’s competitors are todays collaborators. Alliance building and partnership forging is required. A leader can build alliances when he can see other person’s strength, since it is human to see differences.

-Self-awareness is fine but most important is self-development. So the important question is what is the one thing you will acquire that you didn’t last year ? What is the one thing you didn’t do that you will do now ?

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