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Leadership today – a Q&A with Piers Lea

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Ahead of LEO’s ‘Solving The Leadership Crisis’ webinar, we caught up with Chief Strategy Officer Piers Lea to learn a little more about the problems and themes that have placed a greater need on leadership qualities than ever before. In our Q&A below, Piers, who has been a strategic leader himself for over 25 years, gives his take on the problems that organisations are facing today and how leadership has to change in order to help organisations succeed.

What problems are today’s VUCA world causing organisations?

The problem that faces us all is how we keep up with the speed of change while – at the same time –  everything becomes more complex. We know that organisations need to be on their toes and nimble. This is incredibly difficult to deliver at scale.  The very nature of today’s complex and ambiguous landscape means we have to find new ways of doing many things. And for many of our clients how they lead comes top of the list because they need leaders ‘in the middle’ as well as at the top. There’s no one piece of learning innovation or technology or ‘thing’ you can put in place to solve this challenge, it’s about putting a strategy to reach deeper and wider into an organisation.

How does leadership differ today from the past?

The notion of the leader ‘knowing-all’ is no longer valid – today’s business world is too big and moves too fast, leaders can’t possibly know everything. The idea of ‘don’t question, just do’ doesn’t work anymore because we expect people to work much faster, make their own decisions and problem solve.

What is needed to make leadership work at scale?

To deliver leadership development at scale, the evidence is clear that it’s about how you apply learning techniques and technologies, not just simply applying them. When designing learning, we’re no longer just on transmit to an audience, yes we want to distribute wisdom but we also need to bring people together in their work and help them collaborate.

To ensure that leadership qualities stick, we have found that creating large scale blends that truly mix learning with work ensures learning can be applied immediately and integrated back into job roles. Creating this is both an art and a science, and can only be achieved as a product of finely-tuned teamwork across multiple disciplines.