The New Leadership Literacies | Bob Johansen

Summary of: The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything
By: Bob Johansen


Welcome to the summary of ‘The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything.’ In this exciting book, author Bob Johansen explores the challenges leaders will face in a rapidly evolving world marked by uncertainty and disruptive changes. He emphasizes the importance of cultivating skills such as looking ‘backward from the future,’ using stories to inspire creativity, and embracing immersive games and simulations for learning. Additionally, Johansen explains how the trend towards decentralization will reshape organizations and demands a new approach to leadership, which values collaboration, adaptability, and wise use of technology.

Leading in an Uncertain Future

As the world decentralizes, certainty erodes, and leaders must adapt to thrive. In this uncertain future, successful leaders will need to communicate their insights and plans effectively while remaining open to discussion. They should tell future-focused stories to draw actionable insights from colleagues and employees.

Embrace Disruption: Five Key Leadership Skills for Future Success

In our ever-changing VUCA world, disruption is now a fact of business. Organizations and leaders must be equipped with the necessary skills to plan for and navigate through such changes. While trend analysis is critical, it’s not enough. Future leaders must possess five key skills, including adaptability, learning agility, communication, empathy, and intellectual curiosity. These skills will set them apart in a world where disruption is the norm.

Successful Leadership through Futurist Thinking

Leaders who are successful in the long-term cultivate the ability to envision the future and work backward to the present. This approach helps leaders see past the present’s complexity and distinguish between solvable problems and intractable dilemmas. To provoke futurist thinking throughout their organizations, leaders should use inspirational stories to encourage creative experimentation within fluid boundaries. Future foresight is only a gateway to insights and not the final destination. Leaders who analyze how future trends predictably shape their industry, organization, and role will be better positioned to form functional strategies about preparation.

In “Successful Leadership through Futurist Thinking,” the author discusses how leaders who look 10 years or more into the future can better understand the present-day’s challenges and opportunities. This approach helps distinguish between what can be solved with current solutions and what requires an alternative perspective. The book also emphasizes the importance of inspirational leadership and the use of stories to make the vision accessible to all team members. The author asserts that leaders who rigidly enforce their vision will fail and that creating fluid boundaries for experimentation will encourage creativity and bring multiple perspectives to the table. The final message is that future foresight is only a gateway to insights, and leaders who work backward from a projected new world to the present position themselves to form functional strategies and prepare for future trends.

Learning and Growing Through Games

Leaders can gain an advantage by learning through games and simulations. These low-risk environments allow leaders to explore possibilities, face fears, make mistakes, and learn. The US Army’s National Training Center and World of Warcraft are examples of how games can teach combat skills and cultivate teamwork and cooperation. Immersive experiences such as extreme sports and virtual reality can also help leaders experience fear and learn to control it. Team-based games can develop grit and communication skills, while successful video game designers invite users to co-create games and teach graphic design through streaming. In the future, game-playing accomplishments will serve as predictors of success, and employers will assess job candidates for game accomplishments as they currently assess academic credentials.

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