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Leading in Turbulent Times

Problem or Challenge?

· Leadership

The overriding leadership theme today is “leading in turbulent times”. Challenges have become more complex even as the world becomes smaller through the freedom of interconnection and instant communication. You have to lead in a more diverse and constantly changing environment that is unstable and ambiguous. Yet you have be more accountable, more responsible, more transparent. You even have to be more attuned to your emotions! All in all, it feels less safe to do business “out there”. Or is it?

Many would-be leaders have fallen prey to feelings of vulnerability, pessimism, apathy, inadequacy and fear, preferring to limit themselves to the “safety” of vertical thinking (selective and sequential traditional step-by-step logic) over lateral thinking (indirect and more creative reasoning). So, many companies suffer metastasizing symptoms of inhibited innovation, short-sightedness and paralysis of creativity.

It’s certainly true that leadership isn’t what it used to be, or so it seems. Yet the tools and opportunities to do better business abound! Whether big, or small, or micro, or just you, your business has greater opportunities than ever to make positive change.

Turbulence creates new opportunities to grow your business, to reach further and do more. To see them and seize them, you have to learn to leverage the four critical LEAD factors:

Light: balance self-awareness with compassion to build trust.

Energy: communicate to connect, inspire and motivate others (and yourself).

Authenticity: align your business practices with your vision and your values.

Drive: Build relationships that facilitate collaboration and cooperation.

Leaders are leaders not because they fight to get there first, but because they are the first to fight for change and to turn problems into opportunities. And they relish doing so under difficult circumstances.

Those who conquer new worlds and new times understand that they have to achieve higher levels of self-awareness and have the courage to embrace a “new normal”. For them, the difference between a problem and a challenge lies in how they choose to perceive the circumstances. A problem reflects an obstacle within ourselves, because deep down we’re afraid of change. A challenge is something we welcome because it is an opportunity that forces us to “stretch” in order to grow by changing from within.

The future offers you as many windows of opportunity as you are willing and able to look out of and see. It all depends on whether you see turbulence, and the change that it brings, as a problem to be solved, or as a challenge to be taken on to realize your full potential as a leader. You, and only you, have the power to choose whether what you see is a problem or an opportunity.

Astrid Ruiz Thierry, Principal, Upboost LLC

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