Ready and Capable Leaders - Organisational Transformation

How Do You Know Your Leaders are Ready and Capable?

By Vikas Bhatia

In a recent conversation, the CEO of a well-run organization expressed this question and it got me thinking – is leadership development addressed sufficiently well by organizations and the owners of the organization?

Let’s begin with the CEO’s question. Common sense thinking would be to have a competent person for the job. But in the era we live in, a continuously changing and evolving landscape of business and competition make things very unpredictable. What kind of competencies would really be needed to navigate the maze becomes the single most important question to really bring about new thinking?

Ready and Capable Leaders - Pragati Leadership

Would past experience and knowledge not be sufficient? Think about, explorations of the space. Would knowledge of having been in space be sufficient to travel to Mars? Very unlikely! Important but not sufficient. One has to apply forward thinking of the unknown challenges and risks and yet be bold enough to actually jump into it.   Elon Musk, a very unconventional leader has a penchant to deviate from the normal and take risks. Does every organization need an Elon Musk type leader?  Or can they continue to win with proven horses and strategies? Organizations need a blend of both type of leaders, but it’s evident that we will need a bigger pipeline of leaders equipped to deal with the future.

So how do we approach this problem?   Clearly current day skills and knowledge will get outdated and organizations will have to reshape on a continuous basis.   The question is not when but how? Building agility and strategic mind-sets,  using executive coaching developing big picture thinking,  encouraging creative problem solving, creating inspiring workplaces, leading strategic change are few things the organization’s leaders will need to develop and demonstrate.

In one business review meeting with a client, I asked leaders if they could think what the business landscape would look like after 3-5 years, and their responses made me shudder.   The inability to foresee new challenges and taking comfort in the known situations could make the organization and the individual vulnerable to the external environment. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is upon us.  Futuristic competitive forces are a good starting point to know if the organizations and it leaders are ready and capable to address them, if not all at least some of them. Having leaders who are not just good in doing what the organization can and wants them to do, but also equipped in doing what its future competitors will do, will define whether the organization will succeed in future or not.

And yes, organizational transformation, leadership and talent development is a continuous journey.   An evolution!  And it has to happen at an increasing pace because the environment is changing faster than what we might prefer.


4 thoughts on “How Do You Know Your Leaders are Ready and Capable?

  1. Ashish Dave says:

    I recently had the good fortune of reading your article in leadership. It was well-written and contained sound, practical advice. In fact, I have already benefited from your workshop on creative problem solving. You pointed out several things that I will remember for years to come. I look forward to reading your next informative work. Thank you. Ashish Dave

  2. Naheed Khan says:

    Very relevant article Vikas… Futuristic leadership cannot be based on conventional thinking… there has to be a blend and a mindset to accept and anticipate change…
    Our organisations are investing in Leadership development but there is an individual aspect to it too… Till the time the leaders don’t believe in the change, the efforts won’t yield the desired results.

  3. P V Kotasthane says:

    Vikas nice article …
    It triggered some thoughts in my mind. If we consider 4 main pillars of leadership.. Vision ( Policies and Strategies) , Values ( Management systems ) , Actions & Behaviour . With fast changing technology speed at which you act on these 4 pillars is key factor for any organization.
    Main reason of attrition in IT industry is behaviour of boss , so now EQ is becoming equally important as IQ. I remember use of 360 deg. feedback tool use at Philips for EQ improvement ..

  4. Leena Bhatia says:

    Very well articulated Vikas. Extremely relevant in the face of the “4th IR”.

    While this article talks about senior leadership, it will be a good idea to spend equal time reflecting on changes in corporate environment and culture required to create potential capable leaders. Because each leader, good or bad, effective or ineffective, capable or incapable was once a trainee and a manager. The same person as a leader is a culmination of the journey over decades.

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