If the cover stories of Business Week, Fast Company, and Inc are to be believed, every organization ought to be 100% Digital, Alwayson, ready for AI technologies, and so on.
But of course, that’s not happening. And, that’s not all bad.
The real question is how do we create a powerful vision for the future, WHILE ALSO delivering on today’s business. It’s fine to be forward-focused if you are a start-up but for grown-up enterprises with existing customers, you’ve got a responsibility to reinvent wisely. The truth is that leading in this context is not one or the other, it’s both. We need to know how to run towards the future with gusto, while being grounded in the present. In all my 20 years of doing operating work, I’ve found few leaders able to navigate this duality well. They tend to be either “futuristic” or “laggards”. That’s because doing both at the same time is hard. Hard. HARD.
Knowing how to lead in the social era is something that we can all do. But it requires us to consider what do we need to “unlearn” and shift to move forward. A talk at the Drucker Forum was on this topic. (The Drucker Forum is a management congress, where professors like Clay Christensen, Rita McGrath, and Roger Martin sit alongside operating leaders like Nancy Tennant, Marc Merrill, and Pat Christen (Hopelab) to discuss the much-needed great transformation for business in the 21st century.) And so I thought you might want to see it (embedded video below) :