The world has changed dramatically over the last century. Changes in agriculture, industry, medicine and education have made the world more productive, healthier and habitable in many ways. But the world has also changed fundamentally over the last decade. Education has revised the way children are education while information technology has changed the way we define our world. Even war has been redefined from fighting “objects” and people to fighting concepts such as terrorism and “human rights” and “literacy”. The corporate world has challenged the image of the super manager to run organizations and now demands process leaders to ensure corporate success. No single manager knows enough to run the corporation by him or herself. CEOs today must rely on leaders to run the business of the corporation.
The Next Generation CorporateLeaders face a different set of dynamics that their predecessors. In the past there was relative stability in professions, markets and industry structures. In the early part of last century it was possible to plan for 50 years of production for a stable market based on a single invention such as the motor car. Today strategic plans are outdated by a single innovation in a matter of months – and there are hundreds of innovations every day. In the old days markets were closed. Today anybody can do business anywhere. In the old days careers were guaranteed by education, today if you do not go for training you are outdated as soon as you graduate from college. Next generation corporate leaders must handle dynamics, diversity and turn dreams into reality.
Dynamics is not the same as change or change management. Corporations today house dynamic order. People come and go, technology is adopted and revised, products and processes are in a constant state of modification in a bid to keep up with external competition and innovation against the erratic demand of customers. Gone are the days when careers were permanent and pensionable and staff were reliable and guaranteed to stay for 20 years. The nature of the corporate process is “here today gone tomorrow”. The leader must be comfortable with these dynamics.
The very definition and advantages of a stable corporate culture demand a significant degree of uniformity. However, the new world does not guarantee uniformity. Globalization goes against the very core of uniformity. Organizations struggle with generational ethics where old and young work in the same environment. Analog and digital exist side by side. Diversity is more than race or color. Diversity is about integrated systems, accommodating religions beliefs, worldviews and educational backgrounds. It is about mainstreaming gender issues, but also providing opportunity for minorities to develop themselves. The demand is for corporate leaders to understand how to interpret a single product effectively in four different countries with multiple cultures and several different time zones. The next generation leaders will not deal with consistency indeed they must master inconsistency!
The only way that the next generation can advance the cause of their organizations is if they have vision. Vision is the capacity to not only see the future but bring it about today. In the past it was enough to see the future, today leaders are expected to bring the future to the people. Such is the challenge of NEXT GENERATION CORPORATELEADERS – Today!
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