leadershipRecently I read a Harvard Business Review article about the impact of our current world on leadership. It served as a good reminder about the changing landscape and what we, as leaders and managers, face so as to not skip a beat.

The way we work has changed in comparison to even a decade ago. In the past, everything and everyone fit into a nice little package. People worked on-site. If the organization was large enough, you had departments. And, within those departments, there were managers who oversaw the work that was done. The managers then reported up to the top person or persons of the organization.

That structure is devolving. While there are team members who are on-site, it’s no longer uncommon to have others who work remotely. In fact, my group of companies has people who work across the country and even on other continents, such as Europe and Asia. All of this is happening because technology is advancing at an incredible pace. We are communicating with each other across vast distances and time zones in real-time and with ease.

There was a time when companies claimed to be operating 24/7/365. In today’s world, it’s a fact.

The challenges for managers and leaders are becoming much more complex. As new technology evolves, such as artificial intelligence (AI), and expenses decrease the more a given technology is used, managers have to understand the operational and financial implications.

I see it in my own businesses every day. The article went on to state that there are three key aspects that today’s leader has to master and understand.

  1. Technology: Leaders must understand technology and how it relates to their organization. Sure, you might not end up being the one who does the day-to-day work with varying technology, but as a leader, you sure better understand how it impacts your bottom line.

Before the advent of social media, there was a lot of money spent on advertising. Since the creation of Facebook and others, many brands have grown their following and supporters with social media, for less investment dollars than traditional adverting media.

Another example is project based work. Leaders have to question whether certain positions require full-time salaries, plus benefits, when there is a solid trend toward project-based work using freelancers.

Technology is a must. Period. Leaders have to understand its implications.

  1. Real World Experience: If you’ve read my background, you know I didn’t go to college. My success is owed to experience. But, I also have a curiosity to learn and know about everything. We have at our fingertips, every day, so much information it would take hundreds of lifetimes to get through.

In doing a simple Google search, you can find millions of results for any given topic or thing you want to read about. Today’s most successful leaders have an insatiable curiosity to learn and understand. They are never satisfied with how things are and they’re always looking to find ways to improve the work they’re doing. Our reality allows almost anyone to go anywhere in real time or learn and read about things they have never experienced. The real world is all at our fingertips.

  1. Coaching: No one’s success comes completely by his or her own hand. I don’t believe in “I”. I believe in people and my team. I happen to be someone who enjoys talking to people and getting stuff done. In the process, I’ve had countless mentors and coaches who’ve helped me develop myself.

As a CEO, I can tell you that I have key people whom I trust and can talk to. These are people who are also leaders and CEOs. We share experiences and it makes all the difference in the world. I believe that managers and leaders need to have people – typically on the outside of the organization – who can help them reflect and understand issues through a different lens.

 

Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)

© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.