One of the attributes of a leader is the ability to see more and before others see. If it sounds like a leader should be able to see the future, that’s exactly the point. Leaders need to be attuned to the world around them—everything from the market to the culture at large.
In 2018, I released my book Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace. The book was something I’d been thinking about for years, and it’s been an extremely helpful book to a lot of people because it helped them see and prepare for the future.
Specifically, it helped them prepare for what we’ve experienced over the last four months during the Covid pandemic.
When 2020 dawned, no one foresaw a virus overwhelming the world and creating havoc. No one knew that millions of people globally would contract a mystery virus, or that hundreds of thousands of people would die. Most of us expected life to just continue on like normal—and yet here we are, four months later, talking about things like “the new normal.”
While the specifics weren’t there, people who read Leadershift knew what was happening: the future was arriving faster and sooner than expected. In the opening pages of the book, I shared the following thought:
“As fast as the pace was in the 1980s, when I look back now it seems slow by today’s standards. Life moves much faster now. The rate at which we must deal with change and uncertainty can seem insane…
The future seems to be coming at us faster than ever. It is not going to slow down. Would anybody seriously consider the idea that tomorrow will be at a slower pace than today? Technology, social media, and the rate of change will never allow that to happen…
To go forward, we need to move faster. And as leaders, we need to stay ahead, we need to see more than others, and we need to see before others…The more nimble, adaptable, and flexible we are, the more quickly we can move and change.”
Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, pp 2-3.
My friend, of all the words I’ve written in my career, these are some of the most important that I’ve ever put to paper. As we’ve seen since March, successful leaders are those who can adjust, adapt, and shift to the ever-changing world. The 11 shifts I share in the book are exactly what leaders of all stages needed to navigate the uncertainty we’ve all experienced.
When I wrote Leadershift, I had no idea that Covid was coming—I just knew leaders needed to be prepared for rapidly changing circumstances. I knew people needed to develop the skills necessary to not only survive but lead effectively. I knew it because I’d lived it; over my decades in leadership, learning not only what to shift but when to shift has been one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned.
Change isn’t always easy; growth rarely is. But leadershifting is never easy—yet it pays significant dividends. Being out in front of the market or being on the leading edge of culture is a price that great leaders should be willing to pay because it keeps you where you matter most: on the front lines, making a difference.
We are living through challenging times that call for skillful, values-based leadership. Maybe now is the time for you to pick up Leadershift, or better yet go through the Leadershift online course. The skills and principles you’ll learn will not only prepare you for today’s uncertainty, but tomorrow’s as well.
The future arrived sooner than we expected and the next evolution, whatever it may be, feels close. We need leaders with the flexibility and integrity to not only adjust to the changing times but lead others to adjust as well.