Are the skills of a change leader then, the same as those for now and into the future ?
Are the skills of your current leadership team (who have delivered on your strategic vision so far), the same as those required for this next phase of your organisation’s development ?
The nature of leading strategy into the future is the inevitable impact of unplanned events which require leadership to manage through crisis, with high levels of stress as part of the job, ambiguity, complexity, resource pressure and consumer expectations.
Some leaders have already engaged with strategy replacing strategic planning. Leading with vision replaces the 3-5 year strategic plan, because unless you have powers of a clairvoyant, its improbable that you can predict and plan that far ahead. Leadership is changing to leading with the future front of mind and using the organisation’s values and culture as the glue. In addition, high visibility and relationship building require communication and people connectedness.
The question for organisations and emerging leaders is what leadership competencies are relevant for this new context and how to develop the right ones.
The right competencies
Competencies are determined by two groups of factors:
- skills, knowledge, and technical qualifications
- behavioural characteristics, personality attributes, and individual aptitudes.
From a hiring perspective, there are two key competency areas:
- Position-specific competencies – the abilities and behavioural characteristics required for success in a specific role, for example, creativity, flexibility and analytical ability, and
- Organisational competencies – the qualities and behavioural attributes that characterise success across the organisation. The latter determines what type of people will best ‘fit’ the culture of the organisation, for example, interpersonal skills, team orientation and decision making style.
Competencies for change
A good place to test your organisation’s capacity to deliver on its change agenda and the future leadership skill requirements is to identify both the organisational and position-specific competencies for a successful and proven executive leader now and those required to lead future strategy. Identify the top three to five characteristics.
Having identified the organisational success factors you can then focus on determining position-specific competencies and, depending on your strategy, begin to define business unit / service specific competencies.
You can use this approach and information to create highly focused job descriptions and inform subsequent stages of your recruitment and leadership development processes.
From a capacity building perspective, ensuring that you have the right people to drive your future strategy, the outcome of identifying these key competencies is a more targeted recruitment process and investment in leadership development because you have a clearer picture of what you need in order to get results now and prepare for future challenges.