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Future of Leadership?

This new series is being co-authored with David Mitchell, a 40 year veteran of innovation, business leadership and executive coaching. Read more about David below. As we examine the future of leadership over the coming months, our first article examines primary forces and issues that will be driving change and the leadership of the future.

1. Technology Advances – Cars that drive themselves, Nano- technology, drones that deliver packages, groceries and staples, genetic mapping changing medicine and ultimately our health, horizontal drilling where the US exports energy, are just a few of the rapid changes that technology is delivering. All of this will change education, transportation, banking and health care. No sector will be untouched by the accelerating change. How might technology alter, if not “dis-intermediate” your organization or industry?

2.  Communication – Conference calls and video conferencing are now effortless and very low in cost. Teams and groups can meet remotely from anywhere on the planet using Google Hang Outs, where everyone is seen and heard at no additional cost. You can even participate in a Virtual Choir on the internet. Television will never be the same with the rapid adoption of streaming.  This will radically change training and education. Constant communication presents incredible opportunities with the expected challenges of overload and distraction. How are you going to capitalize on the innovations in communication?

3. Continued Globalization – As what is now called Earth, Inc. refers to the mental and cultural experience of one earth where historical country boundaries are no longer how we define our companies and culture. The prior understanding of banking and investment has faded, while regulations are not able to keep pace with the change. Even a small economy like Greece can alter entire regions and macro economics in just a few days. These are just a few of the changing characteristics. Will we even have countries in the future, as we know them today?

As technology advances and our economy continues to change, we are working with people around the world more and more. We do this both in larger organizations and in smaller ventures. Renelle once had a team from Argentina create a great marketing piece completely virtual through Elance.

4. Changing Nature of the Workforce – The days of permanent hiring employees has been forever changed. With temp services, rising numbers of freelancers, outsourcing, robo-sourcing, and other employment modifications, organizations will have fewer and fewer people on the permanent payroll. You are likely to work with more transient groups, some of whom you may never meet. You will interface with robotics, drones and machines wherever possible. With the advances in communication mentioned above, more of the work force may never come to an office, which requires parking, heating, cooling and additional electricity. The use of matrix organizations and work groups will continue to grow as a specialized unit, which will prepare and broker automation.

How will your competitors use these changes to advance and where are you positioned in the transition? Are you leading, keeping pace or trailing?

5. Data Consumption – The current rate of information available is triple that of three years ago. This rapid acceleration will continue. How will you source, sort, and utilize data in your organization?

Some organizations have already suffered from “Data Obesity” and the resulting health problems that go along with too much data or the wrong data. Who is managing data consumption and utilization in your team?

6. Changes in Health Resources and Bionic Enhancement – Already present are technologies that enhance our physical life and well-being. These also can be used to gain advantage over our health and bodies. Will your organization allow for external (Google Glasses or internal technology implants) to enhance work? These bionic and genetic enhancements will surely be large in the coming years of work.

7. Transportation – Have you received your first “drone” delivery? Are you or someone you know on the waiting list for next years’ commercial space travel? How will you feel when you see your first Google “Driverless” car? How long is the travel time from NYC to Tokyo in sub-orbital commercial flight? Answer: Roughly 90 minutes.  Will your organization use the new communications technology to shorten delivery cycles and routes?

This short list is intended to orient you to the changes that are within reach. What about the changes that are outside our awareness? How can a leadership team prepare for that level of influx? Clearly, leadership will change on the front of these emerging influences. What abilities, what characteristics will be required.?What modes of management and leadership will be outdated? How can you get ahead of this steep curve?

All of these forces combined make it obvious that the pervasive command/control, 8-5 mentality will not be the leadership and organizational structure of the future. What do you think needs to change? What are you seeing that works? We look forward to continued depth of this conversation in July.

About David Mitchell, Ph.D. David has a diverse and highly successfully career history, including University Professor of Psychology and CEO of two technology companies and 35 years in leadership development consultation. David has combined his training as a psychologist, business leadership and consulting to offer inspiration and guidance to others to passionately pursue success and meaning through their work. He has worked with a variety of organizations, ranging in size from 10 to 20,000 employees. As an efficacious entrepreneur, David founded two successful companies and participated as a team member in two others. David holds the belief that work and career are the legacy we offer to our family, our community and the planet. David leads by inspiring leaders to find the greatness inside themselves.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” 

– Alvin Toffler