Over the past four years, nearly every company has had to confront the challenge of change in all its forms. From the need to shift to a new business model, serving new customers, doing more with less and getting creative when it comes to meeting financial commitments, the sheer pace and scale of change has been daunting.
Published on: Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Adaptability Becoming an Even Better Predictor of Executive Success
Whether structural or cosmetic in nature, change has forced companies to work smarter and more efficiently than ever before and pushed them to build collaboration and innovation into their cultures.
But change, or adaptability to it, is equally rising to the point of a mandate for executive business leaders.
Executives are hungering for solutions in an uncertain and rapidly changing world, and to satiate it, they're working to close knowledge gaps and expand their networking with peers who already rate as professional confidants and those who should.
The pursuit of business and careers, therefore, really comes down to a search for change from the inside out. That is, executives know they'll continue to be intellectually stretched by the complex, global business challenges that are already emerging, and they will still be pulled in myriad directions by competing interests even after the economic downturn is put indisputably behind us.
Knowing when an environment is closing in around you, or your business model, is important. Seeing what's possible through new eyes and with a focus on new ideas is key. And sensing when a team of talented individuals is facing needless obstacles is also part of what's needed from business leaders in times like these.
There are many sought after skills in top executive leaders, but perhaps chief among them should be the perspective, self-awareness and confidence to know when and how to use them when answers and data are lacking and members of the team are looking to you for sound judgment and inspiring example.
Maybe leadership for today's organizations can be summed up in this: Knowing when to change your approach, adapt your communication style and your engagement with customers, and opening your mind to a new operating environment, yet also knowing your principals and holding firm to them no matter the shifting of business conditions.
Adaptability can be a source of strength, but as with so many things in work and life, perhaps too much of it can weaken an enterprise and a career.
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Joseph Daniel McCool
Joseph Daniel McCool is senior contributing editor with ExecuNet and principal of management recruiting/succession advisory firm The McCool Group. He is also the author of Deciding Who Leads: How Executive Recruiters Drive, Direct & Disrupt the Global Search for Leadership Talent, recognized widely as "one of the best business books of 2008," and its Brazilian Portuguese translation, Escolhendo Líderes, published in June 2010.
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