We’re all aware that there are timeless leadership principles that have been true since the dawn of time and that will continue to be valid in tomorrow’s business environment. Things like integrity, honesty, and personal responsibility immediately come to mind. While those are all vital traits, they’re not the leadership traits I’m addressing right now.
In today’s world of technology-driven transformation, leaders need to embrace a new leadership principle if they want their organization to be relevant today and in the future.
In the recent past, leaders have focused on agility—being able to change quickly based on external circumstances because change from the outside-in has been coming at an ever-increasing speed, and it’s only getting faster. Many of these types of changes are driven by technology, but they’re also from our customers, because technology is influencing our customers and changing the way they interact with us.
We also have increasing transparency, meaning your customers and prospects have access to complaints, as well as accolades, through social media and other new forms of communication. All of these changes, which are coming from the outside-in and force agility, cause leaders to react, crisis manage, and put out fires on a daily basis.
Knowing this, it’s evident that simply being agile no longer works. Instead, today’s leaders need to be anticipatory.
When you’re anticipatory, you’re creating changes and driving disruption from the inside-out rather than being disrupted from the outside-in. Disruption is the disruptive technology that changes our world on us and keeps many leaders up at night. Chances are you’ve often asked, “What new technology will disrupt my path to market?” or “What new technology will change how my customers behave?” For many leaders, disruption is a familiar foe.
But realize that disruptive technology is only disruptive if you didn’t know about it ahead of time. And when you’re anticipatory, you can not only see and accurately anticipate those disruptive technologies, but you can use them to create new revenue streams, new products, new services, and new markets. That’s when you drive growth and change from the inside-out so that others have to react to you instead of you reacting to what others are doing. In this scenario, disruption is your friend.
So the question is, how do become more anticipatory?