Great leaders see the future as opportunities and possibilities – even when the future is unknown and uncertain. This is what makes a great leader great.
Most leaders view the unknown with a sense of fear and apprehension because the unknown is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). There are no straight lines or guarantees on the path to the future. Most leaders want a level of certainty in decision making to minimize the level of risk to the organization. In “Leaders Make the Future”, Bob Johansen speaks to VUCA and what future forces will affect the leaders of tomorrow in 1, 5 and 10 years.
Great leaders prepare for risk by asking the question, “What competencies are needed to embrace the unknown with clarity vs fear?”
Here are 4 key components great leaders use to support themselves and their Executive Leadership Team when stepping into the Unknown:
- Strategic Thinking
Making time and space for thinking and having good quality information at your fingertips to understand your market, industry, ideal client, and the future of your business.
It is important to make space for research and development about future possibilities (i.e. how could Artificial Intelligence support our business?), time to study and ponder key trends that will impact the future of your business, and the ability to ask disruptive questions about the information you are receiving to create future possibilities.
In “BOLD”, Peter Diamandis writes about how to strategically build wealth and make a big impact while creating the future.
- Trusting Your Intuition
Great leaders often speak about making big decisions based on their “gut” – that inner knowing no one can explain, but is used time and time again to guide leaders through tumultuous or uncertain times to help them move their ideas forward.
Intuition is not just pure luck or guessing. Strong intuition comes from being a “Quality Observer” of your life experiences – meaning to master the art of looking, listening and sensing (feeling) what your experiences are trying to show you by taking the time to “Self-Reflect” from experiences that you reacted to (inspired you, moved you, engaged you, frustrated you).
“InnSaei – The Power of Intuition” on Netflix
- Build a Support Network with Future-Thinking People
Did you know that you are the product of the top 5 people you interact with the most in your life? The way you think, how you act and what you believe is directly related to the people (influencers) you have surrounding you on a daily basis. Great leaders surround themselves with quality people who are focused on building the future.
- Practice Being Courageous
If you want to get more confident about stepping into the unknown and knowing you can handle it, start practicing by making “Unreasonable Requests” to yourself once/week.
An unreasonable request is a request that scares you or make yourself uncomfortable because it takes you out of your comfort zone.
For example: a client is currently paying less than your full rate due to a discount put in place under old circumstances. Asking this client for a raise in rate would be an act that many leaders would find uncomfortable due to the potential consequences of what the client could say or do. This is an unreasonable request that requires courage to take action
Check out “Noika’s Transformation” after being a world leader in cellular technology.
History of Great Leaders:
Abraham Lincoln, United States of America 16th President, had 10 significant failures in life and business before he was elected President of the US in 1860.
Founder and past CEO of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford was instrumental in getting people to buy a car when there were no roads to drive the car on, no gas stations to fill the car up and no repair stations.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the Lightbulb, experimented 5,000 times before he got light.
Steve Jobs, Founder and Past CEO of Apple Inc, revolutionized the computer industry and pioneered technologies such as the iPhone and iPad.
Jeff Bezos, current CEO of Amazon.com, revolutionizing the online retail experience.
Risto Sillasmaa, current CEO of Nokia and their extraordinary transformation after being a world leader in cellular technology
Weekly Leadership Challenge:
When was the last time you did something that made you feel uncomfortable and required you to step into the unknown? Make an unreasonable request of yourself this week, step into the unknown and be a fearless leader!