Today’s leadership challenges demand innovative thinking


Today’s leadership challenges demand innovative thinking

By Jim Hunt

March 7, 2010

Working in today’s unstable economy, leaders are facing new challenges filled with uncertainty and increasing complexity. Competition is intense, and the workforce is struggling to do more with less.

Leaders and managers face problems that are rarely simple with clear-cut solutions. Success now demands that decision makers incorporate targeted innovation and new thinking about their organizations and the challenges they face.

Historically, managerial training has encouraged us to believe that for every problem there is a simple solution. Such a quick remedy, however, may not prove to solve the problem at all. In a world where the slightest mistakes become viral media sensations, it is no wonder we routinely hear Dr. Phil’s mantra, “What were you thinking?” In reality the better question may be “How are you thinking?”

One of Leadership Tallahassee’s 10 guiding principles of leadership is “systems thinking” — recognizing and analyzing the complex interaction of structural, technical, political and personnel issues. Systems thinking integrates new perspective to give leaders the ability to see and understand the big picture. In reality, systems thinking encourages smart design and lasting solutions.

Our fast-paced workplaces are filled with information overload and the expectation of immediate response. Col. George E. Reed, a former director of command and leadership studies at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., speaking on systems thinking said, “While it may be important to orient on values, goals and objectives, the urgent often displaces the important.”

One of the major impediments to systems thinking is the problem of busy-ness, Col. Reed explains. “Immersed in the myriad details of daily existence, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.” Leaders must temper a demand for simplicity and certainty in a volatile and complex environment………………

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