Capitalizing on Complexity

March 7, 2011 By Aminda

A recent post shared insight from IBM’s, 2010 Global CEO Study, Capitalizing on Complexity. The report indicated that the most pressing concern among today’s business leaders was how to manage complexity. It then identified current leaders who were rising up to the complexity challenge and providing direction on how to capitalize on complexity. One of the areas in which these “standouts” focused their attention on was creativity, a practice that deserves more attention. Here are some more excerpts from the study.

Creativity is the most important leadership quality, according to CEOs. Standouts practice and encourage experimentation and innovation throughout their organizations. Creative leaders expect to make deeper business model changes to realize their strategies. To succeed, they take more calculated risks, find new ideas, and keep innovating in how they lead and communicate.

Creative leaders, according to participating CEOs, were determined to shed long-held assumptions and upset the status quo. They knew what had helped them get to where they were today would no longer be sufficient for the next leg of the journey.

A separate IBM study asked students, representing The “Millennial” generation, which will soon make up half of the global workforce, many of the same questions as in the CEO study. Like CEOs, six out of ten students rated creativity among the top three leadership qualities, more than any other attribute.

However, students had their own opinions as to creativity looked in practice. Their primary business concern was not complexity but sustainability. In their mind, today’s creative leaders at organizations that educate and employ future leaders should absorb the values of future leaders in an integrated way. To do that requires more than relegating sustainability courses and programs to a “nice to have” niche. By making these values core to their mission and operating strategy, CEOs and college presidents alike can seize an immediate opportunity to prepare students to translate values into effective actions that will benefit their organizations, as well as current and future generations.

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