Success of next generation Asian leaders will depend on, and will be limited by, their level of fluency in understanding how the future will play out in the region, and their ability to ‘shape’ the changes future has in store.
Center for Creative Leadership’s (CCL) Imagine Asia 2030: Future Fluent Asian Leader research highlights that ‘future fluency’ starts with the confidence to learn new behaviors/modify deep-set behaviors at any age, and the ability to think from a ‘higher plane’ to ensure that mindset maturity (ability to think) matches with the level of complexity in the context. This is critical in view of all the mega-trends that will impact Asia in the next decade or two, including technology advancements and innovations (such as cloud, AI/machine learning, data analytics, IoT, virtual/mixed reality, etc.); demographic shifts, increasing inequality, changing future of work, sustainability issues, increasing urbanization.
Disruption-embracing future fluent Asian leaders must thrive in agile and dynamic work environment, adept at leading without authority, helping best ideas and solutions bubble up from any part or any level in the organization, and collaborating, collaborating, and collaborating…. to solve super-frequent challenges that are rapidly increasing in spread and complexity. The collaboration not only needs to happen at the execution level, but also at thinking level (mindset level) – seeing colliding perspectives of various key stakeholders, departments, functions, organizations, interest groups, etc., and being comfortable dealing with polarities, paradoxes and multiple (and often conflicting) lenses.
The organisation structures in future will evolve from ‘pyramids’ to ‘circles’ and project teams which will come together, disband, regroup into collaborative efforts, often challenging the role of leaders, spreading out the responsibility and accountability across the team(s). Asian leaders therefore also must get adept at working in more project-based teams, virtual teams, collaborating across organizational and geographical boundaries.
While conventional wisdom suggests that leaders must ‘adapt to changes,’ and be resilient to the changing environment, disruption-embracing future fluent leaders often lean on ‘foresight’ and anticipation to imagine what future may look like, and plan for those changes in advance….
Are we developing our leader to think from a ‘higher plane’ to match the complexity around us in Asia? That is the question we may ask of ourselves, our managers, our CEOs and CLOs, and our governments in Asia that are framing future-ready skills development policies!