What Executive Teams Need Now
Effective teams demand flexibility and creativity
Executives want team players—that’s a truism so true that it hardly bears much attention. There’s important work to be done in an organization, and people who lack a capacity to listen and collaborate don’t have a place in it.
But the definitions of “team player” and “collaborate” can be fluid, and these days much of the business literature seems to have shifted the meaning away from consensus-building and toward a capacity to reckon with uncertainty. That’s a challenge: Associations, like all organizations, succeed when they think years in advance, but they often hire for what a job demands in the moment.
Earlier this month, Nathan Furr, author of Leading Transformation, wrote in Harvard Business Review about what leadership teams these days require. In short, it means not having all the answers and being OK with that: Team members need an “ability to be comfortable with uncertainty, even to entertain it”; a capacity to synthesize diverse ideas and then create and communicate new ideas based on them; and an ability to serve as “chaos pilots,” people who can champion new ideas and initiatives, even if they get buffeted in the process.
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