Leaders can recognise the true signal within a lot of noise

As Dave Matthews sings in the song ‘Madman’s eyes’, ‘Can’t hear what you’re saying when everybody else is screaming’ (which is a thinly veiled commentary of the Presidency of Donald Trump …) these days it’s tough to make sense of things these days.

  • AI is a threat v AI is a saviour
  • Remote work is here to stay v. Remote work is a passing phase
  • Culture eats Strategy, or Strategy eats Culture

McKinsey published this article earlier in the year that outlines what CEOs are prioritising and taking action against.

  1. The rise of disruptive digital technologies
  2. Risk of prolonged inflation
  3. Escalation of geopolitical risks
  4. War for talent
  5. Shifts in the way we work
  6. Increased importance of climate change
  7. Supply chain disruptions
  8. Higher expectation of social purpose
  9. Persistence of gender and racial gap
  10. Emergence of blockchain and Web 3.0

These skew toward large, global, publicly-traded companies, which is important to recognise. But I feel that the total picture is telling, and is probably the way to view this research.

Here’s where the ‘noise’ comes into play. 

Unless you have a well-formed view on what is happening around you, it is extremely easy to develop CEO blindspots. These are particularly damaging because they will play out regardless and a non-response might have hugely adverse effects on your business.

But here’s the fun part: forming an accurate worldview is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience. It grows way more than merely your business acumen. A worldview is an effective tool, essentially: a decision shaper that allows you more surety in your actions that allows you to destress your nervous system and gives you a good night’s sleep. It’s also a fascinating topic with which to engage your senior leaders – to stretch them, to teach them, to provoke them, to expand them.

The noise will only increase. Quieten it down by knowing more than the noise-makers.

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