Bill Taylor: The 4 types of leaders who create the future

Bill Taylor, author of » Simply brilliant. How organizations do ordinary things in extraordinary ways”, reflects on leaders who, as Alan Kay said, predict the future by inventing it.

The question of what it takes to invent the future in today’s turbulent and uncertain world, how established companies can stay true to their original promises while becoming relevant to new customers with different values ​​and preferences, and how executives Experts can be sure that everything they know will not limit their imagination.

These questions, among others, are what separate organizations and leaders for whom the best years are yet to come from those who are stuck in the past. Leaders of the first group, according to the author, can be classified into four categories:

One of the great satisfactions of being a leader It is the possibility of being teachers of young collaborators, sharing the wisdom acquired throughout their career. But when it comes to inventing the future, the most effective leaders are those who have an insatiable thirst to learn. The creative leaders They wonder if they are learning as fast as the world is changing.

The longer we have worked in a sector and the more successes we have had, the more difficult it is to see new patterns and possibilities and new paths forward. Too often senior executives allow the knowledge they have to limit their imagination. This is a big problem because we cannot invent the future if we cling to old-fashioned ideas, even if they have worked in the past.

Leadership has an emotional component in addition to the intellectual one. How we present ourselves and the attitude we display sets a tone for what is required to make profound changes in turbulent times. John Gardner, legendary expert on organizational life, maintained that great leaders exude stubborn optimism and that the future is not shaped by people who do not truly believe in it. It is created by those who are highly motivated and enthusiastic, who want something very much or who believe in something deeply.

There is a dark secret about the future that most of us don’t want to face: even the most exciting discoveries have been built on the ruins of projects that collapsed, products that failed, or initiatives that failed. This is why leaders who are fit for the future support many ideas, knowing that most of them will not turn out as planned, only to discover that a few will achieve results greater than anyone else could. imagine. These leaders understand that there is no success without failure and progress without obstacles.

In any field, the leaders who move their organizations towards the future are those who are capable of reimagining what they have always done, reinterpreting and renewing the products they offer and posing risky experiments to create new things.