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Five Dimensions of Successful Organizations

Transforming Leadership (4/4)

What is the impact of VUCA on the shape of our organizations? Change is no longer sufficient – instead, there is a need for transformation. In the complex world of VUCA every layer of the organization needs to be empowered to find multiple answers to multiple questions. At the same time, innovation and creativity at every level are indispensable to deal with uncertainty and volatility. Last but not least, the organization cannot be successful in the future if it does not define its place in the society, its sense of purpose, and how it intends to change people’s lives.

We at Egon Zehnder suggest that companies and their leaders focus on cultivating five dimensions of transformation:

  1. Mastering complexity – the ability to sift and integrate the multiple factors influencing the company’s success, and see through the “noise” to distill real insight and set clear direction
  2. Orchestrating creativity – the capacity to instill a mindset and a framework for action that enables the organization to generate – and implement – truly innovative ideas
  3. Growing emotional commitment – the ability to create a compelling “call for action” imbued with higher meaning and strong emotional content, so building organizational commitment far beyond “programs and processes”
  4. Anchoring in society – the ability to connect the company’s business purpose to a long-term mandate of creating social value, and to align the organization’s programs and communication with that purpose
  5. Building next-level leadership – the capacity to energize and develop a next generation of leaders, using innovative models for collective action

The need for transformation applies at the team level too. Authoritarian and hierarchical styles will not work in the VUCA world. Instead, what is required is engagement, initiative and openness from all team members. The leaders who succeed in engaging and involving brilliant young rebels will be the ones to thrive in the VUCA world; those who lead teams of average individuals will not.

The future belongs to those who dare to dream, who will thrive in white space, and who will learn to unlearn. The future belongs to those who will not be afraid of the unknown and of not knowing, to those who will not be afraid to hire better people than themselves, and who will be generous in grooming their successors. The most successful organizations will be those that foster innovation at every level, and that have a deep and authentic sense of purpose that serves at their compass to navigate a world uncertainty.

Transforming Leadership

– 1 Navigating a New World of Uncertainty

– 2 Taking a Step Into the Unknown: Embracing Continuous Learning

– 3 Authentic Leadership: Create Some Magic, Go Beyond the Rational

– 4 Five Dimensions of Successful Organizations

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