The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everythin

July 22, 2019

A rapid and massively disruptive shift from centralized to distributed organizations has already begun. But current leadership practices were designed for large centralized organizations, making them increasingly obsolete. Bob Johansen, who has been projecting future trends from Silicon Valley since 1968, outlines five literacies leaders need to develop to cope with this brave new world.

Johansen says leaders need the literacy of projecting themselves into the future and “looking backwards” to make sure they are preparing for potential new developments. They have to cultivate the literacy of voluntarily engaging with their fear in a safe way, using simulations and gaming, so they can immerse themselves in the things they’re worried about and deal with them. Distributed leadership is a third vital literacy – leaders need to know how to guide organizations that have no center, grow from the edges, and can’t be controlled. In a globalized world they must master multimedia leadership – the literacy of having presence and influence even when they’re not physically present. And finally, to stay on top of all this they need the literacy of creating positive energy: leaders have to be extremely fit, physically and mentally, to keep their own energy and that of their organizations high to cope with this era of extreme disruption. Johansen presents dramatic and mind-expanding examples of how forward-looking organizations are developing these literacies and offers listeners sage advice on how to cultivate them.

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