Ball ComplexityI’m pleased to share the news that my column, “Thinking Like a Leader: Three Big Shifts” made it to #3 on the strategy+business top 10 most-read list for 2015. It’s an honor to be on a list with Herminia Ibarra, Roger Martin, and so many other notables. More important, I’m happy that the article made an impact.

Please read the full post but here are the three big shifts:

  • From linearity to complexity: Our world isn’t just complicated, it’s complex. Those who aspire to lead must understand the principles of complex, adaptive systems. Frederick Taylor’s time-motion studies won’t get you where you need to go anymore.
  • From “focus” as a noun to “focus” as a verb: A primary job for leaders is to ensure clarity amidst complexity. Rather than a fixed focal point — annual sales or quarterly earnings — leaders must constantly make clear the job to be done, the values that guide the work, and the measures of performance or you’ll  never make those annual sales.
  • From “they” to “you”: With corporate leader development programs being so hit-or-miss, you have to take ownership of your own path forward. Make the most of what your organization offers but then seek out the experiences and education that fit where you want to go.

I am pleased to have been able to deliver talks on this topic at O’Reilly Media’s Cultivate conferences in Portland, Oregon and New York City. I’ve also expanded the column into a forthcoming short e-book available from O’Reilly.