As the context becomes more complex, the component parts more dynamic/less deterministic and organisations more fluid, then leaders are increasingly struggling to keep up.
Many run harder only to stand still – the “Red Queen” effect. The reality, underpinned by findings of our research, is that leaders today know less than 10% of the solutions to the problems facing the organisations they lead…
Leaders are expected (and expect themselves) to know the solutions. The reality is in a VUCA world they no longer do. So they do not know, and for the most part they KNOW they do not know. But they cannot SAY they do not know – when was the last AGM you went to when the CEO stood up and said “Sure beats me – any suggestions?”. This is because they are EXPECTED to know, often by those below who actually know leaders no longer know anyway. So leaders run hard to find out, or often pretend they know (or fool themselves into thinking they actually do), whilst those lower down pretend not to know and wait for solutions they already know to be given to them by those who do not know! A tragic charade.