March 15, 2011
Posted by Joan V. Gallos
IBM recently interviewed senior executives about their work, talking with more than 6,600 in 75 countries across 60 industries for the company’s newly-released C-Suite Studies research series. Three findings are of particular note:
- 80% of the CEOs saw their world becoming increasingly complex
- 51% of those in the C-Suite – CEOs, CFOs, CIOs – felt unprepared for the rising uncertainty
- 60% of those interviewed identified creativity as the most important leadership trait for top leaders over the next five year, trumping traditional managerial skills like influence, global thinking, and integrity.
What did creativity mean to the executives interviewed? It translated into traits and talents like “operational dexterity,” speed in understanding and taking action, a willingness to experiment, the capacity to create flexible and responsive organizations, resourcefulness, innovative outreach and customer service, imaginative problem solving, and more. Are you ready for the challenge?
You can enhance your leadership creativity with some diagnosis and scenario building: get a handle on your possible futures and anticipate how your organization (and your competitors) might get ahead of the crowd. Here are five key questions to launch the process:
- 1. What are the major challenges or changes you see coming down the pike in the next five years for your organization? For your industry? In your key markets?
- 2. How do you anticipate your competitors will respond?
- 3. What could your organization do to respond more effectively?
- 4. How easy would that be given your organization’s history and current culture?
- 5. What can you do to help your organization turn the potential threat of change into a positive business opportunity?
Play out different ways that your organization could respond and how you might facilitate that and see what the consequences of each strategy might be. It’s easier to manage uncertainty and make good executive judgments when you’re feeling confident that you’ve already thought deeply about your options.