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Multi-Thinking: Emerging Styles Needed in the C-Suite

by Kenneth R. Brousseau and David M. Morris

     In an ongoing survey of CEOs, we ask, “Looking to the future, and thinking about the kinds of leaders you need in your enterprises, what sort of behavioral competencies do you see as most critical for the immediate future and beyond.” Our survey participants answer this question with different words and examples, but there are several themes that are emerging very clearly. The most prominent theme to emerge so far addresses the way leaders think.

    Our sample of CEOs and PE partners say they need leaders who can “balance different issues.” A particularly good example was articulated by a CEO of a company, famous as a dynamo of innovation. He told us, “In our company we have a vast array of inventions and products. Our leaders can’t just focus on one invention in one of our lines. The leaders who we need - and have in large measure - need to step back and look at the whole array and then look for innovations that utilize as many of our inventions as possible.” Then, he added, “we need leaders who can think in multiple contexts.”

    Other CEOs are saying basically the same thing when they tell us that they want executives who can hold several very different ideas in their heads at the same time, or that they want executives who can think across boundaries.To us, these comments spell a particular style of thinking and deciding. We call the style Integrative, for its propensity to pull together diverse ideas and information. Some leaders have this style in greater measure than others. How about you? What styles of thinking come naturally to you? Do you need to make more use of the Integrative style?

    You can learn more about this and other styles of decision-making, and how to assess them, right here, at Decision Dynamics. Check out our library for more information. In particular, see "StyleView Decision Styles Basics" video and "The Dynamics of Decision Making".

Perspectives

Crisis Management: The New Global Constant
Kenneth R. Brousseau, David M. Morris, and Pauline N. Johnson

Managing crises is becoming a modern day constant, a continuous fact of life in multinational enterprises. Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, plus wars both large and small take their tolls in lives and in business disruptions. Rare is the day when a crisis of some sort is not underway somewhere on this planet.

Yet, crises catch many businesses unaware and unprepared. Frequently, those charged with the responsibility of cleaning up and mopping up lack knowledge about the dynamics that determine how quickly and successfully operations can be returned to normalcy. Experience and research tells us that, in any crisis, the central element affecting success, revolves around the belief of those on the scene that they can and will overcome the crisis and go on to thrive in the future. Even in the same crisis situation, those who believe in their own, personal efficacy recover quickly and go on to do well; those who believe that their lives are determined by forces beyond their control tend to falter or fail altogether.

This quality of belief can be viewed as a character trait. Yet, here again, research and experience show us that this belief is quite plastic. The implication is that an enterprise can raise or lower this belief by the actions that the enterprise takes to shore up the persons on whose energy, ingenuity and persistence recovery from a crisis depends. To gain further insight into the dynamics of this central belief in one’s personal efficacy. ...More