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Prophets before profits

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger
Have you noticed that despite the advances in technology, weather satellites that can gather data across the planet, sophisticated  computer software that can process all this information, the forecasters still can’t get it right. I assume ice caps melting, sea levels risking, warmer oceans and traditional weather patterns changing have made the task of forecasting more complicated. It is much the same in business with forecasting becoming more complicated as a result of the increased pace of change and  the massive disruption to traditional business patterns  caused by the pandemic . But this hasn’t stoped people trying.
The journals are full of prophecies , what the new normal will look like, the future of AI, the advantages of collaboration, the need for employee engagement, the gains to be made by empowering employees, the opportunities presented by a more diverse workforce and the  public’s growing intolerance of business that  fail to acknowledge their social responsibility. One thing all the business prophets agree on is that a post pandemic world is looking for a different type of leadership. One that can take advantage of all the above and knit it all together seamlessly.
The trouble with prophets is that they confuse what will be with what should be. They want the world to change within a moral context that will make things better. So the gains are over sold and the risks underplayed. So technological advances are always a good thing. The gig economy means people can work as and when they want to fit in with family life. Collaboration benefits all parties equally. Fully  engaged employees will swallow whole the organisation’s vision and goals. Empowered  employees new assertiveness will be welcomed and seen as reducing the risk of poor decision making at the top. A more diverse workforce will give a wider perspective and means those seen as different will be viewed positively. The socially responsible organisation will have the support of a community that puts political correctness before employment opportunities/ job creation.
No wonder there is a call for a new type of leadership. And there almost certainly will be new types of leadership ranging from all managers are leaders to the collaborative leader, to the project leader and the old fashioned heroic leader. Which type will depend on the environment and circumstances in which they operate.
Leaders are aware that their leadership style needs to change with the times and circumstances so they will read the journals with a keen interest. But as skeptics they recognise  that where organisations are encouraged to look beyond the bottom line / the budget there is always the suspicion that authors put prophets before profits.

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