leadership under uncertainty

Given the uncertainty of the next 5-10 years, how do leaders give direction to their business or department?  A recent article in HBR reviews the repositioning processes of successful US businesses.  It then synthesises a number of guidelines on strategy and practice for leadership under uncertainty.  In summary, innovation (or change) requires leaders to:

  • Facilitate the development and operation of a framework for innovation.
  • Set the expectation that the innovation process will push boundaries.
  • Facilitate dialogue with customers and stakeholders.
  • Embrace the apprehension associated with uncertainty as a normal part of business life.
  • Encourage development of a common language and paradigms across the organisation.
  • Create 1-2 day windows of uninterrupted time, where small cross-disciplinary teams can focus on a given issue.

These guidelines require new ways of thinking about leadership, new frameworks and processes to facilitate innovation, and new cultures where uncertainty, plurality and dialogue are organisational norms.

Taken from: Furr, N. and Dyer, J.H. Leading your team into the unknown, Harvard Business Review, Dec 2014, pp80-88

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