In a recent Business Report there was an article by Wayne Houghton titled, ‘Digital transformation key to being relevant in the next decade’. There were 10 skills that were identified as necessary for the future workforce. The list included three that have formed the core of our message as TomorrowToday, the three being (1) Sense making,  (2) Adaptive thinking and, (3) Cross-cultural competency.

Looking into the distanceIn a world of increasing paradox, having access to frameworks that help leaders make sense of the paradox is the smartest play available. Sense making necessitates stepping back and gaining perspective and smart leaders ensure that they build this awareness and behaviour in their team. It also involves seeing the ‘system’ and deepening one’s understanding of complex adaptive systems is essential.

Adaptive leadership is the most robust of leadership frameworks to meet the challenges posed by the 21st Century. Adaptive challenges involve ‘knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do’. They will demand an ability to challenge assumptions, to unlearn and a recognition that the solutions to tomorrow’s problems will not be found in yesterday’s solutions. Adaptive thinking understands the need to disrupt rather than maintain the status quo and adaptive thinking cascades into adaptive behaviour that leaders who wish to be futurefit will need.

A number of trends have led to the need for leaders to develop cross-cultural capacity. Migratory workforces, technology that connects us, outsourcing, companies creating international footprints, interdependent economies and numerous other factors have created multi-cultural workforces for leaders. Developing cultural intelligence is now an essential leadership responsibility and it is surprising as to how many executive leaders lack this ingredient. Being culturally intelligent hinges on doing some interior work for the leader and again, this is often unfamiliar territory for older leaders who have grown up on a diet of external skills and competencies. An important aspect of cultural intelligence is the ability to challenge your own worldview in order to be open to learning how others ‘see the world’.

Thinking about these three ‘skills’ is important. How would you rate yourself against each one of these attributes? Interpreting what they each mean and look like in your leadership sphere might be the first intentional step you and your team can take towards building capacity in these areas.

If nothing else exploring each of them is sure to evoke some interesting conversation!

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