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Be a sense maker

Sensemaking refers to the process of creating meaning out of the chaotic world around us.

We need to make sense when something in our environment seems to have changed. We collect data, learn from others, look for patterns to create a new map of the landscape. Then we experiment with new solutions to see how it will respond to this new environment.

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The amount of data generated doubles every two years, reflecting a 50-fold growth from 2010 to 2020.

To thrive in this rapidly changing environment, leaders must evolve quickly or risk extinction. Leaders need to possess the skills to read the ever-changing landscape, to create flexible teams and inspire their companies to solve big problems.

A leadership signature: Who you are as a leader and how you view and approach the job. 

  • Discover your leadership signature by asking how you lead day by day. Are you task or people focussed? 
  • Ask people who work with you how they would describe your leadership.
  • Consider the impact you have. Are you changing the culture? Driving results?

Setting clear goals, defining roles and improving relations is only part of the picture. Leaders should also be able to build a new and dynamic kind of team to encourage speed, innovation, and implementation.

The next time, gather a dynamic team that can scout for talent and resources, coordinate team activities with specific goals, and also coordinate their tasks.

Toxic leadership can achieve short term results, but over time performance will deteriorate.

When things get troublesome, even the best leaders can slide into a self-centered approach. However, with self-awareness and some feedback, leaders can learn to deal with these tendencies and move toward a leadership that challenges and inspires.

Successful leaders will need to create a framework in which a dynamic team can thrive. It will involve hiring and developing three types of leaders.

  1. Entrepreneurial leaders. They are the sense makers that discover new products and create flexible teams. 
  2. Enabling leaders. They have a broader perspective and can identify similar projects and opportunities for collaboration outside.
  3. Architecting leaders. They create systems, structures, and a culture that explore possibilities and make self-governing decisions.

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The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

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Digital Literacy

Most CEOs think their businesses are being disrupted by digital business models and that they lack the right skills, leaders, or operating structures to adapt.

Being from an older generation, current CEOs are having to learn basic technology and digital marketing methods later in life, which is trickier than growing up immersed in it and puts them at risk of quickly falling behind their younger peers without continuous learning.

Companies that only look outward in the process of organizational change, and dismiss individual learning and adaptation make two common mistakes:

  • They focus solely on business outcomes and fail to appreciate that people will have to adapt to implement it.
  • They focus too much on developing skills.