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Update Your Leadership Skills Now, Before It’s Too Late

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Question: What are the top three skills most executives will need to lead businesses in the future? If your answer centered on experience, vision or managerial skills, give yourself a failing grade.

In a recent Inc. article entitled When Experience is Your Biggest Weakness”, writer Ilan Mochari states categorically The leadership talents you've already mastered are not necessarily the ones that you'll need in the future. In this era of big business failures such as the recent security breach at retail giant Target which cost CEO Gregg Steinhafel, the top job, Mochari cautions that the tried and true management skills that have brought most executives through the last five decades may no longer be relevant.

The need to question your assumptions, or have others in your circle question the accepted views or notions within the organization is one way to ensure that you are not being led by your leadership blind spots. In the case of Steinhafel one of those questions probably should have been: "How can I address the unnerving reality that my life experience is potentially a weakness, rather than source of wisdom?" The idea that what we have known to be true could suddenly become a potential liability is unnerving for anyone who uses past experiences to guide them through personal and professional challenges, in others words all of us.

However, with the changing business landscape, we must all become keenly aware that we only possess part of the equation, and that experience alone will not help us get through some of the most pressing challenges that businesses increasingly face today and in the future. There are a host of strategies that organizations must now begin to incorporate as part of their “plan” to begin pivoting into a 21st century global marketplace.

One of these strategies is certainly learning new skills to help prepare executives and leaders how to lead the organization of tomorrow. The Intelligent organization is one where cutting-edge technology, distributed leadership, virtual teams, global risks and knowledge management will reign supreme. When you look at your current team or your own leadership skills how prepared are you for a world that will be constantly changing and requiring a level of skillsets that very few have begun to master?

Linda Hill, is the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Her focus is on helping organizations scour their own backyard to find the raw talent that can propel their organizations to the next level of growth and success. Specifically, Hill suggests that executives refine how they scour their own backyards to find the leaders they need. Why? Because certain tenets of corporate culture prevent high-potential employees "from growing into leadership roles," she argues. As a result, many execs "shut off a rich source of talent." (Inc. Magazine-7 Breakthrough Business Thinkers To Watch)

At Gilead Sanders, we believe in preparing the next generation of leaders to take the helm of an Intelligent Organization in the Knowledge Economy. Our Prime Directive Leadership Series is aimed at preparing leaders to focus on questioning assumptions, understanding the changing consumer and employee landscape, engaging a systematic and grassroots view of leadership and becoming agile in the face of uncertainty. The Series is taught by some of the leading Thought Leaders in the world of Transformational Leadership and Change Management. Feel free to download a copy of our brochure and contact us to learn how Gilead Sanders can help you be prepared for the business world of tomorrow.

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