CPD Insights | Do you know what it takes to lead in a complex world?
IECL’s Singapore-based Principal and Coach Babara Lee Draminsky reflects on a thought-provoking session run by our very own Head of Coaching John Raymond PCC, on navigating through the complexities of the digital age. She also shares what she’s learnt in dealing with the exponential growth in information and increased relationships.
IECL recently hosted a joint meeting with the Danish Business Association in Singapore (DABS), where our Head of Coaching, John Raymond PCC presented on how to lead in a complex world. According to IBM, the digital age has led to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours. Social media has facilitated an exponential growth in the number of relationships we can have and has given us access to an almost limitless supply of connections and information. Clearly, volatility and uncertainty are hallmarks of today’s complex business environment.
John kicked off his presentation by defining the word ‘complex’ and the elements of ‘complexity’, which set the scene in underlining the errors in perception of leadership attribution that are often observed in organisations and systems. We were asked to identify some of the leadership challenges that we were facing in our organisations. John challenged us to think about our own perspectives, and how we may be able to shift these to make decisions, facilitate learning, plan ahead, and in turn, expand our perspectives.
John offered practical tips for leading in a complex world, and in using a coaching approach to leadership. Everyone was asked to participate in a Question Burst activity (where one person shares one of their leadership challenges, and then asked at least 20 questions by the team BUT without answering any of them). The Question Burst led to new thinking, new ideas and new perspectives for each participant. This goes to show that the quality of the system is determined by the quality of the relationships, which are determined by the quality of the conversations. This is the profound influence of the ‘Power of Dialogue’.
As a leader doing business in this environment, the way one chooses to navigate through the complexity will influence the overall individual and organisational success. Leaders must be experts in creating meaningful and powerful dialogues, and feedback loops, so that relationships can be built on a trusting, learning, and reflecting basis. John explains that this is how a coaching approach can support sustainable performance. By asking questions (in conversation with peers, managers and direct reports) to inspire new thinking and actions whilst maintaining a solution focus, whole systems view in achieving individual, team and organisational outcomes.