Riding ‘white-water’ requires skill to navigate and past experience to succeed, but neither of those 2 criteria are a predictor for success. In fact the only worthwhile theory to build on, is one that captures what was gained today and holds the next moments loosely because the nature of whitewater is that you never know when the vessel could be overturned or by what.
Says Innovation Leader Raina Kumra:
“Our lives and the technology surrounding them are changing faster than we know. The ones that hold onto the old ways of doing things will find themselves sidelined and irrelevant. Question everything!”
Nostalgia is of particular concern to GE’s Peters, keeper of the company’s vaunted leadership training.
Since 2009, she has been aggressively rethinking their Leadership program; last January, she rolled out “a new contemporized view of expectations” for GE’s top 650 managers. That’s a mouthful, but basically it’s a revolution to the way execs are evaluated at the company.
“We now recognize that external focus is more multifaceted than simply serving ‘the customer,’ says Peters, “that other stakeholders have to be considered. We talk about how to get and apply external knowledge, how to lead in ambiguous situations, how to listen actively, and the whole idea of collaboration.”
So much for nostalgia. At this year’s meeting of GE’s top executives, presentation materials will be available only via iPads. “Some are scrambling to learn how to turn one on,” Peters says. “They just have to do it. There’s a natural tendency for some people to pull back when change comes. We’re not going to wave a magic wand and make everyone different. But with the right team, the right coaching, we can get them to see things differently.”
For more along this line, check out this GREAT article in Fast Company: The Future of Business