What makes a good inspirational leader in a post-crisis scenario?
Mr. Ragil Ratnam, Lead Coach at Pure Growth Asia (Chairman of South African – Thai Chamber of Commerce) will share his insight on strategic leadership.
The event was held by the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce (TNCC) at the Seven Peaks Software office
Leading in a Post-COVID world
Post – Covid has created significant challenges in leadership for us to deal. However, I partly agreed with that because rather than creating new problems it has put us under stress. People know what a good leader should be. Is it correct?
There was so much research about what makes good leadership. Harvard Business Review example, which always comes up with research on what is the leadership potential, what makes a great CEO, and what differentiate them?
People prefer leaders who decide quickly even if they decide the wrong things, rather than leaders who don’t decide at all or take too long to decide. Leaders who engage with their people. Of course there is a whole bunch of criteria that we believe based on the research of what leaders should have. Also, along with this idea that the CEO, the leader of this organization is the person who saves the organization and moves it forward.
CEO to worker compensation ratio, 1965-2017
You can see what happened in 2000, the ratio of 360.5 times which means that the average workers have to work 30 years to earn what the CEO earns. Now, is the CEO working that much? I would suggest that it is not really the case.
COVID-19 in Thailand
In Thailand, the lockdown has affected the business, the investment, the employment and tourist factors. The key driver of the economy at the moment is the government intervention. Companies are struggling, not because of COVID but even before that. In a point of view, COVID is just uncovering the existing problems from before.
Is this because the leaders are not in action or not educated enough about the development?
Solving today’s problems
What we get out of that is there are two problems. First, is that it is becoming complex so fast that we don’t know. And the second problem is leaders are not prepared to deal with the complexity, so they are making decisions and thinking in ways that would’ve worked years ago which is no longer work. Therefore, it comes, the need to find new ways to think and to approach problems.
The Cynefin Framework
This conceptual framework is used to help with decision making created by Dave Snowden. This framework is developed to identify the four domains of problems and contests which include different ways of finding solutions for each domain.
He said: “ If we cannot classify things, they are a disorder.”
But most of the time, we can put things into categories and boxes. We can say it’s simple, just like one plus one equal two. Simple problems are easily solved since they need basic practices to solve them.
However, there will be problems that are a bit more complex. Let’s say what he called complicated. Which to the point where you need experts to do that. Problems may not be simple but there are solutions which you can find through instructions and steps which we call good practices.
What is happening in this world is called VUCA (an art word and stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). In the world that we are living in, there are problems which are complex. Complexes need independent decision making, require changes and interactions which we do not have control over because of the uncertainty of every single factor.
To the point where best practice doesn’t work, we need emergence practices to try things out. Build, measure and learn; first seen in the Lean and Startup book by Eric Ries. Because there is no direct line of solution to the problem. There may be several solutions but they may change as you are trying to get to. So we need to try one step, see whether it works, find the way forward and keep doing it in a cycle.
If you have no idea of what is going on, then you are in chaos. A clear example of chaos is February, 2020 when COVID hit the world. In a situation like that, we can’t even stop to think, we take action. Resulting in countries’ lockdowns, some still open and weren’t even sure how they were going to do with varieties of policies. Pretty soon, we sorted it out by moving the problems into the complex box trying to figure it out step by step.
Mr. Ragil Ratnam said “One of my favorite characters in Game of Thrones is called Littlefinger and he said something really powerful”.
He continues “If you can find your way out of chaos faster than everybody else. You are way ahead of it”. It is a chance to climb, some try to climb and fail never get to try again but those who overcome the chaos see the opportunities of what is there up the ladder.
How do you do that?
The ideal solution for most of us these days, especially with the advent of technology is to look at the data, information gathered to find out and analyze the patterns.
These three things fit together as a model for approaching the world in a human-centered way. It is not to discard the data but to look over the big data.
The Golden Circle of purpose
The idea from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle is; whatever we are doing, why we are doing it? What is the fundamental reason why we are doing it nowadays? It is a really important thing we try to figure out. And often, we get lost in how to do things everyday.
We should strongly urge everyone to think about the why and how do we figure out our purpose?
A really nice book to read is called Discover Your True North by Bill George, CEO of Medtronic. He talks about your crucible moments that drive purposes.
What happened in your childhood or in your early life that made you who you are today? What was it that drives you in those times that really changed and shaped who you are?
That perspective of answer can give you purpose to the reason you do what you do.
We need to look differently from the outside by trying to make sense to the world before trying to make sense in it.
The inside-out model is based on our assumptions, our biases and our way of thinking and we try to fit the world to it which is useful in some instances. Unlike the outside model which tries to take a more empathetic view of the world to understand before we find our place in it.
Tendency to Default to the Inside-Out Model
- Assumptions, biases and orthodoxies are our starting point (they can also limit the questions we ask).
- Solutions that have served us well in the past might serve us well now (but they can be limiting to future growth).
- Elevates quantitative data to create insights and inform decision making (which can be insufficient).
The Outside-In Model
Focus on getting the people, the data and problem solving right
- Embraces a nuanced, humanistic perspective.
- Goes beyond the numbers, immersing in what the data is telling us.
- Approaches the problem with equal parts empathy, creativity and logic.
Empathy is more than putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, about being able to feel what others feel. But beyond that, the true meaning of being compassionate is empathy. Through that experience, one thing to help them is compassion to fellow human beings with the purpose of doing something to improve life, not just yourself but others.
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About the writer
Thida is a Junior Digital Marketing intern at Seven Peaks Software, who is currently working on both content sprouting and article writing. “Working hands-on in marketing has been an amazing experience for me so far. I hope you enjoy reading this article!” says Thida.
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