Where will you yield?

Aug 16, 2011

We’re looking at the implications of the new economic environment in which we now find ourselves – something that looks a lot like this:

How it's going to be

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(You can read more about where this graph comes from here.)

This changed scenario – from a slow recovery in 2011 to an even slower one extending into 2014 or so – has implications for leadership on a number of levels: personal, organizational and cultural. In this series we’ll look at each, beginning with the personal.

On a personal level, leaders in organizations large and small are facing three challenges; exhaustion, bankruptcy and alienation, each of which threatens to kick in at different times:

Exhaustion, Bankruptcy, Alienation

1. Exhaustion

Many leaders came into 2011 with only a little gas left in the tank, metaphorically speaking. Drained by the struggles of maintaining morale and vision through 2008-2010, the prospect of having to do it all again through 2011-2014 is for some quite simply a bridge too far.

Tomorrow we’ll look at this group of leaders specifically, with some suggestions as to what they might best do next.

2. Bankruptcy

For those leaders who still have the energy left for the fight, many face what might be termed ‘leadership bankruptcy’ – the flesh is willing, but the strategic tank is empty. At the most basic level, many leaders are simply out of ideas as to how to motivate and lead their teams (maybe even themselves) through yet another three-and-a-half years of difficult times. We’ll look at this challenge in Thursday’s post.

3. Alienation

A third challenge looms in the distance, its shape only dimly visible through the fog of economic turmoil: what if the new ‘normal’ – assuming we get there – isn’t what you signed up for in the first place? For many leaders, the shape of what is sustainably ‘leadable’ is changing to such a degree that it may turn out to be something they have no heart or passion for. We’ll look at this challenge on Friday.

Here’s your question for today:

Which of these three (if any) threaten your leadership most, right now: exhaustion, bankruptcy or alienation?