Leading in Complex Times

Today’s environment is inherently uncertain and unpredictable. Successful organizations, however,  are converting uncertainty into opportunity and growth but, to do this, leaders need new approaches to  navigate successfully the increasing pace of change and complexity. Leading an organization in today’s  inter-connected, high-tech, globalized world is becoming more and more challenging.  As information is  shared anywhere and anytime, the cycle time from event to reaction is reduced. The pace and nature  of change is changing. “Change is happening so fast it is hard to predict who your competitors are.  Assumptions that seemed iron clad 12 months ago are obsolete today ,” Doug  Arnold, Vice President,  Neustar (Hinson & Osborne). Lessons are emerging from complexity science that inform how we can  lead effectively in times of change. This article describes a leader’s perspective on today’s environment  and the causes of today’s complexity. Finally, the article suggests a mindset shift for leaders and five  leadership imperatives.  What are leaders experiencing? Leaders in all industries are recognizing the  challenge of leading in complex times. The 2010 Global CEO Study by IBM states that 79% of CEOs anticipate greater levels of complexity over the next five years. Unfortunately, only 49% of those CEOs felt their organizations were prepared to deal with the rising levels of complexity.  

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