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Posted on 9th December 2022
Leaders should prepare for head-spinning dynamism

Nada Kakabadse, Professor of Policy, Governance and Ethics at Henley Business School.

If you’re heading into 2023 expecting some modicum of predictability and consistency, park that thought and instead prepare yourself for a year of head-spinning dynamism that’s likely to challenge even the most resilient leader’s skillsets.

The New Year’s headlines are likely to be dominated by topics including innovation, diversity and geo-politics, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain and demands posed by the increasingly popular movement towards decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs).

In short - traditional organisational forms are becoming more vulnerable than ever before.

Issues surrounding diversity will also continue to advance at an ever-increasing pace, and equality and human rights will should be high on the organizational agenda, particularly in terms of public awareness.

‘Have I been appointed because of who I am, or because I’m a woman?’ will prove an increasing uncertainty for new Board members, NEDs and general managers, who will have to overcome such doubts in order to fully realise their potential.

Similarly, age, ethnicity and religious diversity are criteria that organisations will be wise to pay careful attention to while avoiding prejudgment of candidates, either overtly or covertly.

Geopolitics will continue to attract unprecedented levels of attention as Western interests push for regime destabilsation in Moscow while the fighting in Ukraine sadly continues.

In the midst of this global uncertainty, potential failures in ESG and sustainability will leave the leaders of 2023 to answer three essential questions:

  1. How can I extract greater value from the resources under my care?
  2. How do I balance gains against the potential for reputational risk?
  3. How will my leadership make a difference?

There is a shorthand formula for the last question – ‘the compelling argument (IQ), combined with the political skills (PQ) of negotiation, underpinned by emotional resilience (RQ) results in the most significant leadership difference.’

Those who get this right and make a unique difference will win the trust and buy-in of their colleagues and other most important stakeholders, ultimately becoming the leaders who are envied by all.