Leadership Quarterly

Flexibility, Agility, Innovation (Part 3)

November, 2011 | by Bob Anderson
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    TLC Executive Video SummaryThe Leadership Circle Profile contains the most complete set of dimensions for increasing a leader’s or an organization’s innovative capacity, flexibility, and agility. However, this fact is only the beginning of the argument for why The Leadership Circle Profiles are designed for this outcome. The main reason has to do with the relationship between complexity and consciousness. In a recent Leadership Quarterly article I stated, “In a world of escalating global complexity, many leaders find themselves ‘in over their heads.’ This phenomenon results when the leader’s ‘Operating System’ is not complex enough to match the complexity of the challenges facing the leader. In this case, the leader needs more than skill development. The leader needs to develop greater complexity of mind.” (See the April 2011 Leadership Quarterly for a more in-depth discussion about why a competency-only based approached to leadership development is inadequate.) When organizations are struggling with a lack of flexibility, agility, and innovation, more often than not they are trying to lead the way through complexity from a Reactive mindset. The Reactive mind is simply not complex enough to have the flexibility, agility, and creative innovativeness that is required. Furthermore, research strongly suggests that full-blown vision and strategic capability do not emerge until leaders are functioning at the Creative level of mind and Systems Thinking does not emerge until leaders mature into the Creative mind and beyond. The real answer to the dilemma of escalating complexity and the demand it makes on leaders and organizations to be flexible, agile, and innovative, is not achieved by merely adding a couple of additional competencies to an assessment. The answer lies in expanding the leader’s complexity of mind. That is, creating a fundamental shift of mind from the Reactive “Operating System” to a Creative one. This is a far more complex task than can be accomplished by simply adding a dimension called Agility or Innovation to a competency assessment. This is the third and final part of a three-part series on how the Leadership Circle can be used to create a more innovative, flexible, and agile leadership culture in an organization. Part One gave an overview into Flexibility, Agility, and Innovation, and explained how these three qualities are essential in a leader, despite not appearing explicitly on The Leadership Circle Profile. Part Two presented a case study example of how The Leadership Culture Survey describes precisely what is needed for a specific organization to be more agile, flexible, and innovative.

    About The Leadership Circle

    The Leadership Circle represents an advancement in state-of-the-art of leadership development. This advancement springs from a more thorough and integrated approach to leadership—one that encompasses the best of what we know about competency development with the best of what we know about the development of the leader’s complexity of mind. It is a complete system of leadership development that integrates into one approach how Creative Competencies can be developed, Reactive leadership styles reduced, and the complexity of the leader’s mind expanded to be more flexible, agile, innovative, and creative; that is, capable of effectively leading in the midst of complex and fast changing business realities.
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        One Response

        11.03.11

        The Leadership Circle appears to be a fantastic tool that will help build leadership capacity in nonprofit organizations. I am eager to learn more about this tool to determine its applicability to the Social Prosperity project that I am working on.

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