Bridging the Leadership Gap in the New Economy: Embracing ‘Intelligent’ Failure as a Leadership Crucible for Effective and Resilient Leaders

https://manabernardes.com/2024/d2y7wxhh A cornerstone of leadership development is the ability to find meaning and purpose amid challenges and setbacks, and yes, failure.

Buy Soma Us Pharmacy There is little doubt that we are living in a period of upheaval that is posing enormous challenges for business and legal organizations. The relentless pace of change is the new normal. You hear words like “unprecedented,” “uncharted” and “uncertain” used to describe the times we are in.

Cheap Generic Xanax Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity is a reality and an integral part of today’s business landscape. There is no such thing as a permanent or ‘one-size fits all’ business model, operational model, or organizational structure.[1] Organizations across the spectrum are facing competitive and sustainability challenges of unprecedented scale and complexity, and their leadership teams must be able to lead, exercise good judgement, respond and adapt to this environment of accelerated change to remain effective and relevant. If senior leadership are not prepared for their roles, the fear of failure – the fear of making critical decisions or taking intelligent measured risks in a changing environment – may distort their judgement and undermine decision-making.

[N]owhere is the fear of failure more intense and debilitating than in the competitive world of business, where a mistake can mean losing a bonus, a promotion, or even a job.

– Harvard Business Review[2]

Unfortunately, most organizations — including those that are ahead of the game — acknowledge that their leadership pipeline and existing leadership teams may not yet be fully prepared to tackle the challenges of the digital economy[3] fueled by new market realities, disruptive innovation, a world being reshaped by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital transformation (digitization, digitalization and digital transformation – confuse them at your peril),[4] a global pandemic, climate change, and “the most complicated international political environment in modern history”.[5]  This “gap between current leadership bench strength and future leadership demands is a serious liability”, and organizations must get a handle on the “reality of their leadership situation” in today’s volatile environment. The “sooner they understand the reality of their leadership situation, the quicker they can move to adapt by refocusing leadership development efforts and rethinking” senior leadership “recruitment priorities”.[6]

What differentiates effective [senior leaders?] … It’s dealing with situations that are not in the playbook. As a [senior leader] you are constantly faced with situations where a playbook simply cannot exist. You’d better be ready to adapt.

– Harvard Business Review[7]

https://gungrove.com/drtv7ln It is fair to say that there is a premium for leaders who “fully embrace and understand how to compete and lead in the new economy” – exhibiting leadership skills and a growth and learning mindset that develops and influences a more agile, innovative, adaptive, empowered, and collaborative organizational workplace and culture.[8]  And that means organizations need to deliberately seek out leaders and leadership teams with track records reflecting both success and appropriately understood “failure”. Why? Because leaders “who have been in the trenches, survived battle and come out on the other side have irreplaceable experience and perseverance”.[9]

https://www.prehistoricsoul.com/qi04c573ar There are indeed a growing number of organizations across the world deliberately seeking out and/or developing such leaders,[10] not shying away from the concept of “intelligent failure” and the leadership and organizational lessons they represent. Enlightened Boards and executive leadership teams are embracing it as an organizational resource far too valuable to waste. Indeed, lessons from failure and setbacks are viewed as an essential component of leadership and success.[11]

https://www.justoffbase.co.uk/uncategorized/b3b59cdlamf Unfortunately, although the wisdom of learning from challenging experiences and failure is clear, organizations that do it well – that is, a “learning organization” skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behaviour to reflect new knowledge and insights[12] – are extraordinarily rare.[13] 

https://www.justoffbase.co.uk/uncategorized/4e58om17gv [A] deliberate, well-thought-out effort that d[oesn’t] succeed [is] not only excusable but also desirable. Such an approach to mistake making … help[s] people overcome their fear of failure and, in the process, create[s] a culture of intelligent risk taking that leads to sustained innovation … in business, [law], … and science. … And that’s the key … viewing mistakes for the educational tools they are and as signposts on the road to success.

– Harvard Business Review[14]

https://www.chat-quiberon.com/2024/01/18/q643x42 Overview

https://fireheartmusic.com/ajhlx3g84 An effective leader is a resilient individual that can lead, collaborate (particularly with multi-disciplinary teams and networks), manage risk/challenges/change/setbacks, obtain organizational results, grow the business, enhance the culture, and leave in their wake a trail of thriving senior leaders and a strong pipeline of future leaders.

https://mmopage.com/news/qofnms6vw Business and legal organizations and their leadership teams that can adapt and are proactive – using a growth and learning mindset to take intelligent measured risks, learning from both success and failure – can turn changing market drivers into opportunities.[15] Leaders and leadership teams that are reactive, maintain a fixed mindset, and unable to take intelligent measured risks in the face of uncertainty (i.e. afraid of risk and failure), will be left behind. Business by definition involves risk – the difference between a strong organization and a weak one is how its leaders and senior leadership team manages that risk.

https://equinlab.com/2024/01/18/p8ijhre6bd Leaders that cannot operate outside their comfort zone, learn and adapt to change, and take prudent risks in their leadership decisions “are making the riskiest move of all”[16] – the “illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”.[17] 

https://www.prehistoricsoul.com/hw6f8qf It’s not very difficult to be a decision-maker – we all make decisions every day. The tricky part is to make the right decision. 

– Gilbert Probst, Dean of Global Leadership Fellows Program[18]

Buy Generic Xanax From Canada Failure and setbacks are life’s greatest teachers but sadly, most people, and particularly conservative corporate cultures, do not want to go there.[19] The key to leadership in the real world is not blindly following some esoteric leadership theory, model or practice all the time, but rather taking a more integrated approach to modern organizational leadership that embraces learning (from both successes and failures), recognizing, choosing and implementing the right thing at the right time. Leaders are made, not born, and “the best leaders are the best learners”,[20] cultivating deliberative and emergent (entrepreneurial) thinking[21]  and strategic management[22] that embraces evaluation and learning and course-correcting:[23]

“Leadership is like the right key sliding into the right lock. Sometimes leadership requires adamant inflexibility, as when Churchill resisted the Nazis, and sometimes it requires endless agility, as when President Roosevelt continuously improvised to get his New Deal off the starting blocks. Sometimes an effective leader must be cautious and appreciative of the wisdom of existing arrangements, and sometimes a leader must be audacious and willing to crack eggs. Sometimes leadership requires cunning, sometimes confidence. Context is everything.”

Buy Soma Drugs Online When we take a closer look at the great leaders and scholars throughout history, a willingness to learn from failure is not a new or extraordinary position to advocate. From historical to present day leaders, from military to business leaders, to the sports legends of today, failure is as powerful a tool as any in reaching great success.[24] 

https://modaypadel.com/om8ayfu This experience that shapes leaders has been called a “crucible”, a trial and a test – a point of deep self-reflection and learning that forces a leader to examine their identity as a leader, their principles and values, question assumptions, and hone their judgment and leadership skills. Those able to learn and find meaning from the adverse experience invariably emerge from such a “leadership crucible” as a stronger, more resilient, purposeful, and effective leader.[25]

https://gungrove.com/l1jflli8i Everyone is tested by life, but only a few extract strength and wisdom from their most trying experiences. They’re the ones we call leaders.

– Professor Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas, ‘Crucibles of Leadership’[26]

https://manabernardes.com/2024/pdbxvqdguv Failing at work, when it is the result of a professional misstep – and not an ethical or lethal one – is necessary, if not critical, to developing strong leaders and leadership teams. People learn the greatest lessons from having to pick themselves up after a poor performance, difficult challenge or mistake on the job.[27] In the moment, failure can range from disheartening to devastating, depending on the severity of the experience. As a young professional trying to achieve something significant, failure has the potential to hold one back indefinitely – but only if the particular individual and the organization’s leadership allows it.[28]

https://www.chat-quiberon.com/2024/01/18/0jz3w9emlq Changing the workplace so that all employees can be recognized for their successes – and most importantly, supported through the learning experience of their failures – is crucial to building leadership and a resilient agile organizational culture. Strong sustainable organizations utilize “failure” as a learning opportunity in meetings or boardrooms for every employee, particularly those identified as potential future leaders. Normalizing failure can encourage people to take “intelligent” measured risks and think outside the box, which can level the playing field and allow strong talent to rise based on innovation and ideas and leadership (i.e. merit) rather than bias (i.e. gender, ethnic background, etc.) or who is most visible.[29]

Cheap Valium Wholesale Failure is a necessary experience if you want to eventually be successful. That may seem like an illogical statement, since failure and success are generally considered complete opposites. However, the experience of failure is both enlightening and motivating as long as you view it with the right perspective; learning from your mistakes and working harder to achieve your goals are both important ingredients in finding success.

– Jayson Demers[30]

Successful organizations need to have an environment – a culture – of lifelong learning where people can take intelligent risks and where they can fail without fear of negative consequences. Creating an organizational culture where it is safe to “fail” allows people the “psychological safety” and freedom to voice opinions and share ideas.[31]

Everything rises and falls on leadership. If an individual wants to improve their effectiveness, the only way to do so is by increasing one’s leadership skills.  And changing one’s attitude about “intelligent” or “controlled” failure is key because – in the development of leaders – challenges and “failures” are stepping-stones on the road to effective senior leadership, not stop signs.[32]  Missteps are an inevitable and essential part of the leadership learning process.[33]

Order Xanax India The development of senior leadership in this manner provides a necessary skillset for leaders – in conjunction with the core competencies of (a) strategic management theory and practice, (b) strategy implementation, and (c) change management[34] – to navigate effectively when making business decisions in today’s increasingly complex and uncertain environments where solutions are rarely straightforward.

Buying Diazepam 5Mg Leadership is important to competing successfully in today’s hyper-competitive environment, and the ‘right leadership’ is recognized as critical for organizations to thrive (if not just survive) in the 21st century. Unfortunately, leadership for many organizations today is seen as their “weakest link”, and there is a heightened concern for organizations across the world about the quality of their internal leadership and whether they are adequately prepared for the future.

– ‘The Science of Leadership’[35]

Many Leaders are Struggling to Cope: Leadership Must Adapt and Restructure – more frequently, more thoroughly, and faster than ever before

https://mmopage.com/news/bg69qt7lfib Leadership is vital to making sense of the rapidly changing business environment that organizations find themselves in today.  The relentless pace of change, uncertainty, and “headwinds of new market realities” is happening at a scale and speed that is unprecedented in modern history.  The pandemic alone has “radically altered our present and accelerated our future”.[36] Organizations across the board are hemmed in by heightened volatility, shifting economic and political realities, evolving competition and technology, and a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and rapid change – dynamics that collectively mean that organizations and their leadership teams must adapt and restructure, and do so more frequently, more thoroughly, and faster than ever before.[37]

Mail Order Diazepam Uk And this increasingly challenging environment is considerably more complex, volatile and ambiguous – with dominant dynamics often beyond our control –  than the textbook examples exhibited by most leadership programs, or even as discussed by many academics in decision theory and game theory.[38] The real world involves uncertainty (i.e. many facts unknown), complexity (i.e. many interrelated factors to consider; various alternatives with own set of uncertainties and consequences), consequences (i.e. significant impact to the organization), interpersonal issues (i.e. how different people react and influence; change management),[39] and yes, time limits, intense pressure and stress (i.e. perceived personal and professional risks and rewards), and many other factors (i.e. bias; prejudice; etc.) that undermine leaders and leadership teams.[40]

Buy Soma With Mastercard In addition, the speed of execution is increasing constantly and markets and systems respond almost immediately, which makes decision-making even more challenging – even perilous.

https://masterfacilitator.com/rushek9j8it Given the complexity of today’s world, appropriate leadership, strategy and decisions are becoming more difficult to ascertain, and of shorter duration than ever before.

https://fireheartmusic.com/9egw379f In the complex environment of the current business world, leaders often will be called upon to act against their instincts. They will need to know when to share power and when to wield it alone, when to look to the wisdom of the group and when to take their own counsel. A deep understanding of context, the ability to embrace complexity and paradox, and a willingness to flexibly change leadership style will be required for leaders who want to make things happen in a time of increasing uncertainty.

– Harvard Business Review[41]

https://gungrove.com/f1tx76w This rapidly changing and complex world is significantly transforming many of the widely accepted standards we have previously taken for granted – and this includes the leadership and management needs of even the most successful organizations.[42]  Within this new reality, as people continue to move up the career ladder, unfortunately those evaluating leadership are conditioned to believe that those moving up in more senior positions are the result of merit – and rarely ask questions about how they got there and if they have the right experience (involving both success and failure), training and skillsets. The resumé begins to hold more value than actual leadership experience and performance outcome.[43]

Order Xanax Bars Online And leaders are struggling to cope.[44] Many do not have the competencies and skillsets to be a leader in this rapidly changing environment – strategic, business, organizational, change management, people, judgement, etc – let alone the proper leadership development from experience under fire.

https://therepairstore.ca/rljae4fnquz Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.

– Immanuel Kant[45]

https://www.prehistoricsoul.com/fsitxhku0zx In this respect, for example, a decision by a senior leader to outsource strategy and change management may be seen as a warning sign or ‘red flag’ for review by the Board or senior executive leadership – a potential reflection of a leadership team with missing skillsets, and a management team that has not been adequately trained and coached through the experience of difficult leadership scenarios.

https://sieterevueltas.net/bshbcwr Leadership is important to competing successfully in today’s hyper-competitive environment, and the ‘right leadership’ is recognized as critical for organizations to thrive (if not just survive) in the 21st century.[46] Unfortunately, leadership for many organizations today is seen as their “weakest link”,[47] and there is a heightened concern for organizations across the world about the quality of their internal leadership and whether they are adequately prepared for the future.[48]

Leadership is very much related to change. As the pace of change accelerates, there is naturally a greater need for effective leadership.[49]

http://www.wowogallery.com/nzdi9s3x [L]eaders have a great deal of confidence. Confidence (how good you think you are) is primarily beneficial when it is in sync with your competence (how good you actually are). However, a great deal of research has shown that people who are really bad at something rate their own skills as highly as people who are really good at something — mainly due to a lack of self-awareness.

– ‘How to Spot an Incompetent Leader’, Harvard Business Review[50]

This recognition – that leadership matters – and the ongoing escalation in the pace of change, uncertainty and unpredictability has increased the demand for effective leaders.[51]  As such, leaders who can successfully lead and learn, navigate and manage change, and reshape their organizations are a respected and sought after commodity.[52]

https://manabernardes.com/2024/km412sk A growth mindset and lifelong learning is a critical leadership skill of the 21st century. A growth mindset with a dedication to lifelong learning is arguably the most powerful combination for consistent and explosive career and organizational growth. With a growth mindset, one can learn and adapt throughout life, understanding that navigating change, taking risks and even “failing” are simply part of the journey. The development of senior leadership in this manner provides a necessary skillset for leaders to exercise good judgment and navigate effectively when making business decisions in today’s increasingly complex and uncertain environments where solutions are rarely straightforward:[53]

“The rate of technological, competitive, economic, social, and geo-political change impacting organizations across the U.S., the UK, Australia, Canada, the EU, and across the world continues to accelerate. Organizations that best adapt to the demands of their environment prosper, and those organizations that do not adapt – in particular to disruptive and/or transformative change – become less relevant with each passing years. Staying relevant is the key to success, but how this is to be accomplished is the question that must be addressed by all organizations and their leadership teams: ‘Most companies have leaders with the strong operational skills needed to maintain the status quo. But they face a critical deficit: They lack people in positions of power with the know-how, experience, and confidence required to tackle what management scientists call ‘wicked problems’.”

[F]rom a [leadership] perspective, successful change management – in respect to strategy implementation for organizations in the 21st century – cannot be fragmented and must encapsulate an integrated continuous learning framework that recognizes the value of emergent (entrepreneurial) thinking to make sense of and appropriately address the world’s rapidly changing environment.

– ‘An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management’[54]

Why is this important? In the digital age of heightened volatility and rapid change, leaders must be prepared to continuously learn and reset their practices and views in order that they can identify and address not only the ‘hard ball’ issues, but also the ‘curve balls’ thrown their way. Continuous learning – the rising tide that lifts all boats[55] – and adaptability are essential ingredients for sustainable organizational leadership and success.[56] Sustainable organizations must accept and adopt an appropriate leadership and organizational structure (an agile model designed for today’s digital economy)[57] that embraces a collaborative corporate culture of continuous learning (from both successes and failures),[58] critical thinking, innovation, and change.[59]

Appropriate leadership and decision making acumen is imperative in addressing fundamental organizational issues, from managing change to business strategy to risk management to personnel – but just as importantly, encouraging learning, critical thinking, and innovative action on an ongoing basis.[60]

Great leaders embrace the idea that they are always growing personally and professionally. Sometimes changes come naturally; other times, it’s the result of something unexpected. It’s important to be agile, resilient and open to change, no matter the circumstances.

– Molly Mosely, Executive[61]

The differentiating factor for organizations is the quality and effectiveness of their leadership.[62]  Whereas skilled leaders create high levels of trust, learning and engagement within an organization, weak ones result in anxious, alienated leadership teams and personnel who practice counterproductive work behaviors and spread toxicity throughout the organization.[63]

Not surprisingly, in today’s fast-paced world in which poor leadership can swiftly place an organization in peril of a steep fall, effective experienced leaders are at a premium.

One of the biggest secrets to success is operating inside your strength zone but outside of your comfort zone.

– Ralph Heath, Synergy Leadership Group[64]

https://modaypadel.com/k7xrhano24 The Fearless Organization – Easing into a Fearless Mindset

Refusal to accept and model a willingness to fail demonstrates to others that failure is not an option, leading to anxiety and fear and ultimately an endless series of compromises. Fear of failure leads to leadership indecisiveness and “paralysis by analysis” and, when a decision is in fact made, it is apprehensive action at best. Leaders trapped in this paradigm “tend to get trapped in false or limited ways of thinking” that create a debilitating negative spiral.[65] The issue is one that goes to the essence of competence for senior leadership – it is an identifiable cause for the sharp decline in experienced leadership “under fire” and the resulting aversion to making difficult decisions on behalf of their organizations. And if senior leadership are not prepared for their roles, the fear of failure – the fear of making critical decisions in a changing environment – distorts their judgement and undermines decision making:[66]

“To mitigate these risks, managers can identify lower-stakes opportunities, such as a routine project with less visibility or an internal exploratory initiative with less-significant consequences, and encourage high-potential individuals to exercise their leadership muscles in these safer environments. This approach also enables people to try different approaches to leading, reflect on what works for them, see how others react to their leadership efforts, and adjust accordingly — without worrying that their career is on the line. Then, as they build confidence and hone their leadership skills, they will be more prepared to take on higher-risk opportunities without fear of failure.”

Naturally, as one takes on more responsibility within an organization, there are more opportunities to fail. The right dosage of failure is necessary to build leadership and organizational culture.  Aversion to failure and the reluctance to acknowledge it holds leaders – and their organizations – back. Responsibility is the ability to accept and learn from both achievement and failure in order to improve – and by being responsible in this manner, leaders rid ourselves of the crippling yoke of anxiety, indecision and fear of failure.

And a leader, leadership team, Board, or organization cannot step past the status quo and linear thinking (and anxiety and indecisive compromises) if they are not willing – or able – to encourage prudent risk taking and learning from subsequent mistakes. In the real world, business and legal decisions involve risk, and senior leaders must understand and take a prudent and “acceptable amount of risk to facilitate success” when making decisions.

Organizations and their leadership teams that identify, correct and learn from failure “will succeed. Those that wallow in the blame game will not”.[67] Unfortunately, “organizations routinely get leadership development wrong because of their insatiable hunger for short-term results. Senior executives fail to support leadership development because of the pressure put upon them for performance and deeply held beliefs about hard-wired talent” over learning.[68]

Society doesn’t reward defeat, and you won’t find many failures documented in history books. The exceptions are those failures that become steppingstones to later success. Such is the case with Thomas Edison, whose most memorable invention was the light bulb, which purportedly took him 1,000 tries before he developed a successful prototype.

– Pauline Estrem, Success Magazine[69]

(a) Learning From Both Success and Failure

A “zero-tolerance failure policy” hurts all organizations and their leadership teams because it undermines the next generation of leaders. Future leaders in these type of organizational environments are not permitted to fail and recover early on in their careers, and in a world of increased scrutiny through new technologies and micromanagement tools, the trend towards failure avoidance and admonishment is only becoming more pronounced. Ultimately, leader development requires some failure. Why? Because a learning organization with an environment of psychological safety allows individuals to learn from controlled mistakes, promoting resiliency and courage, and building the capacity to balance risk and reward in future decision-making:[70]

  • Failure is necessary for leadership development in that it allows growing leaders to learn from mistakes. Failure at lower levels of leadership teaches future senior leaders what not to do, providing an experiential forum for trial and error that “build a personalized set of tools to leverage as the problems they experience become more complex”.
    • Future leaders that are permitted to develop without experiencing failure early in their careers may not learn how to evaluate or analyse the alternative. Continual success can breed opportunities for significant failure in a senior organizational role because “meaningful learning often does not occur with persistent success” due to overconfidence and missed learning opportunities, which in turn “hinders continual learning and improvement” and “performance optimization”.
    • Failure during career development helps future senior leaders to “identify the indications and warnings of failure before it occurs”. By analyzing and evaluating indicators of early unsuccessful leadership decisions, leaders can identify these type of indicators or factors in future leadership roles to proactively avoid or moderate significant large scale – or even lethal – failures.
  • Overcoming adversity and bouncing back from failure is an important step in the development of a leader in respect to resiliency and courage. The skills, resiliency and courage “required to conquer adversity and emerge stronger and more committed than ever are the same ones that make for extraordinary leaders”.[71] If developing leaders are not given the chance to bounce back from adversity because they are shielded from failure, they remain untested and are less likely to adapt and overcome and more likely to address future difficult situations in negative ways.
  • In addition to learning from mistakes, controlled failure in leadership development “builds the capacity to balance risk and reward in future leadership decisions to achieve successful outcomes”. Business and legal leaders “must ultimately take risks with nearly every decision they make as senior leaders” to seize opportunities and gain and maintain the initiative.  In the real world, business and legal decisions involve risk.
  • Aside from thorough analysis, the most effective way to truly understand what risk is prudent and acceptable is to be permitted to address this “line” (into unacceptable risk) in a controlled manner at some point in early leadership development. When a leader takes unacceptable risk, failure is far more likely to occur. This type of leadership development experience further reinforces the future senior leader’s ability to discern prudent risk from unacceptable gambling and employ informed judgment to make critical leadership decisions in the business and legal world.

Experience “under fire” for novice and intermediate leaders ultimately assists that senior leader at a future point in time to exercise appropriate leadership skills and judgement, determining what is relevant, and hence in knowing what to focus on. It is this leadership experience that allows a senior leader to understand how to calmly analyze a situation and to use that analysis to formulate a plan or strategy going forward.

There is a caveat to the argument that leader development should include learning from failure at the junior level. The focus should not be on the requirement for junior leaders to fail, but the importance of making mistakes, conducting self-assessment, and learning from those mistakes to avoid future failure.

– ‘Why Leaders Must Fail to Ultimately Succeed’[72]

While sophisticated organizations and their leadership teams accept the value of failure in the abstract – at the level of corporate policies, processes, and practices – it is an entirely different matter at the personal level. Everyone hates to fail. We assume, rationally or not, that we will suffer embarrassment, a rebuke, and a loss of esteem and stature. And nowhere is the fear of failure more intense and debilitating than in the competitive world of business, where a mistake can mean losing a bonus, a promotion, or even a job.[73] However, “failure catches up with everyone, being able to navigate it is a crucial form of resilience. Some of those lessons are straightforward: learning to ask for help when you are struggling, or learning that failure is preferable to cheating. Others are complex, such as figuring out how to rebuild your sense of identity when an idea you have of who you are, or who you plan to become, shatters”.[74]  

Leaders too often feel like they need to have all the answers, that they are paid to make all the decisions — but that’s not true. From hiring too fast to failing to provide ample feedback to not delegating when multiple projects arise, the evolution of a leader is ripe for constant failure.[75] But a deliberate, well-thought-out effort that does not succeed is not only excusable but also desirable:[76]

“Such an approach to ‘mistake making’ is characteristic of people we call ‘failure-tolerant leaders’—executives who, through their words and actions, help people overcome their fear of failure and, in the process, create a culture of intelligent risk taking that leads to sustained innovation. These leaders don’t just accept failure; they encourage it. …

First and foremost, though, failure-tolerant leaders push people to see beyond simplistic, traditional definitions of failure. They know that as long as someone views failure as the opposite of success rather than its complement, that person will never be able to take the risks necessary for innovation.”

The goal of accepting prudent risk is to increase the probability of harnessing … reward. Risk is often viewed as negative and something people should avoid, but thoughtful, habitual risk-taking is actually a requirement for high-level success.

– Major Timothy Trimailo[77]

Leadership is the result of making thoughtful decisions, taking responsibility for their consequences, learning from them, and moving on to the next challenge in pursuit of an organization’s vision and strategy. No matter where you are in your career, you can find opportunities, and – surprise, surprise – you will have varying degrees of success. Which is normal. But by reflecting on your successes and failures at every step, taking responsibility, and getting feedback from colleagues and mentors, you will keep making positive adjustments and find more opportunities to learn:[78]

“Research by Francesca Gino and Bradley Staats published in HBR [Harvard Business Review] shows how important this reflection can be to your improvement: they found that workers were able to improve their own performance by 20% after spending 15 minutes at the end of each day writing reflections on what they did well, what they did wrong, and their lessons learned. Leaders often have a bias for action that keeps them from stepping back in this way — but it is the reflection on your practice that will help you improve.”

Setting long-term strategic objectives and tough short-term goals to reach them – establishing action plans and processes, carrying them out and carefully learning from them — these steps should characterize the unending daily life of the organization and its leaders and managers at every level.

– ‘An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management’[79]

Of course, there are failures and there are failures. Failure is not always bad, but rather ranges from “sometimes bad, sometimes inevitable, and sometimes even good”.[80] And some mistakes are lethal or dangerous, and at no time can management be casual about these type of issues. A sophisticated understanding of failure’s causes and contexts will help to avoid the blame game and institute an effective strategy for learning from failure and “embracing failure’s lessons”.[81]

(b) Leadership, Context, and Level of Organizational Change

This is important because “real world problems” today require leaders to juggle multiple demands and challenges that require a variety of decisions and responses, including making critically important decisions with incomplete facts and under severe time pressure.  Good leadership “is not a one-size-fits–all proposition”, but rather requires different responses depending on context (i.e. simple contexts, complicated contexts, complex contexts, and chaotic contexts[82]).[83] Simple contexts and complicated contexts assume an ordered world – where cause-and-effect relationships are perceptible, and appropriate answers can be determined based on the facts.  Complex contexts and chaotic contexts are unordered – there is no immediately apparent relationship between cause and effect, and the way forward must be determined based on emerging patterns.[84]

[T]he changing pace of change is now a gamechanger.

– Eric Morse, Financial Post[85]

Similarly, different levels of organizational change (i.e. developmental,[86] transitional,[87] or transformational)[88] will require different types of leadership response and skills:[89]

Developmental and transitional changes are the most familiar and are easier to lead. Developmental change is the improvement of something that currently exists [i.e. most common type of organizational change involving improvement of existing skills, processes, methods, performance standards, etc., such as a quality improvement program], while transitional change is the replacement of what ‘is’ with something entirely new, yet clearly known [i.e. reorganizations, implementing new technology and processes, new products or services, simple mergers and acquisitions, etc.]. Both developmental and transitional change possess common characteristics: (1) Their outcomes can be quantified and known in advance of implementation; (2) significant culture, behavior, or mindset change is not [generally] required; and (3) the change process, its resource requirements, and the timetable, for the most part, can be managed.

The third type of change, transformation, requires a completely different set of change leadership skills. Transformation is the … most complex type of organization change [i.e. implementing major strategic and cultural changes, significant operating changes, reforming product or service offerings, digital transformation and other large sweeping IT implementations, new business models, new operating models, etc.], possessing very different dynamics: (1) The future state cannot be completely known in advance; (2) significant transformations of the organization’s culture and of people’s behavior and mindsets are required; and (3) the change process itself cannot be tightly managed or controlled because the future is unknown and the human dynamics are too unpredictable.”

Formidable senior leaders today became adept, agile and strategic over time through experience, particularly by learning to “not only identify the context they’re working in at any given time but also how to change their behavior and their decisions to match that context”[90], and where appropriate, the level of organizational change required.

(c) Excusable and Inexcusable Failures

Across this spectrum of context and change, mistakes or failures may fall into two broad categories:[91]

  • (1) Preventable – most failures in this category involve deviance, failure concealments, inattention, omission, repeat error (i.e. an ‘intelligent failure’ the first time round does not qualify as ‘intelligent’ the second time), mismatch between capabilities and responsibilities, or lack of ability (i.e. not have the skill-set).
  • (2) Intelligent – this includes (a) failure due to the inherent complexity and uncertainty of work (i.e. particular combination of needs, people, and problems that are complex, unconventional, unpredictable. For example: litigation, complex organizations); and (b) failure in situations when answers are not knowable in advance because the exact situation has not been encountered before and perhaps never will again (i.e. experimentation required; trial and error. For example: creating a fundamentally new business, designing an innovative process or product). These types of failures foster learning where they are based on well-designed, planned and executed actions (allowing for evaluation / re-evaluation) – in other words a high quality decision process conducted with calculated risk – have uncertain outcomes that provide new information, and are appropriate in scale (a balance between being large enough to attract attention and small enough to avoid lethal or catastrophic reaction).

For the purpose of this article, “intelligent failures” may include both the “complexity-related” and “intelligent” categories referenced above where they are the result of well-designed, planned and executed actions, and they have uncertain outcomes.

Many executives are surprised when previously successful leadership approaches fail in new situations, but different contexts call for different kinds of responses. Before addressing a situation, leaders need to recognize which context governs it – and tailor their actions accordingly.

– Harvard Business Review[92]

But encouraging failure does not mean abandoning supervision, quality control, or respect for sound practices. Just the opposite. Managing for failure requires executives to be more engaged, not less. Although mistakes are inevitable, this does not mean management abdicate its responsibility to assess the nature of the failures. Some are excusable errors; others are not. Those willing to take a close look at what happened and why can usually tell the difference. Failure-tolerant leaders identify excusable mistakes and approach them as outcomes to be examined, understood, and built upon.[93]

Distinguishing between excusable and inexcusable failure offers two broad benefits. First, it gives managers a tool to build a non-punitive environment for mistake making while allowing them to encourage thoughtfully pursued projects that, should they fail, will yield productive mistakes. Second, it allows managers to promote the sort of productive mistake making that is the basis for learning.[94] And that means taking the time to turn individual learning into tangible changes and improvements for leadership teams, future leaders, and organizations generally: [95] 

Avoid the error of attributing blame to the first reasonable factor. It is more likely many interrelated issues are at play. Most failures worth talking about are the result of layers of decisions and actions … so when things do not go as planned it is worth taking a few moments to consider all the reasons why.

Deepening our understanding of the sequence of events leading to past failure makes it obvious we had multiple opportunities to stop it, and therefore, multiple ways of preventing similar errors in the future. Asking “why?” five times is a popular technique used to think through some of these root causes and is useful as long as the focus is on building our understanding of how we contributed to the failure instead of finding someone or something to blame.

Take the time to turn individual learning into tangible changes and improvements. Many organizations have processes in place to learn from failures. You may call them after action reviews, post mortems, or something else entirely but all too often the learning achieved through these processes is not translated outside of the meeting room or pages of the lessons learned report. The act of investing time in learning is commendable but ultimately useless unless it leads to changes that prevent the error in future.

Whatever learning process you use should lead to a list of action items that includes timelines and accountability checks. The action items do not have to be set in stone; they should adapt as you learn what works and what does not. The point is to make it easy to translate learning into organizational change. Otherwise your hard-earned lessons sit on a shelf collecting dust.”

Success should be approached in the same way. Like mistakes, all successes are not created equal. A success due to a fortunate accident is not the equivalent of one resulting from a thoughtfully pursued project. Thus, successes might be approached with questions similar to those posed about failures. How much was due to good fortune, how much to the hard work of its creators? Did the success move us closer to our goals? By taking this perspective and raising such questions, managers can begin to treat success and failure similarly, more like the siblings they actually are.[96]

Our research and experience has shown us that the best way to develop proficiency in leadership is not just through reading books and going to training courses, but even more through real experience and continual practice.

– Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville, Harvard Business Review[97]

https://fireheartmusic.com/vdudef4 Conclusion

And that’s the key to leadership development: viewing mistakes for the educational tools they are and as signposts on the road to success. Future leaders must experience and learn from failure today in order to become more resilient, more confident in their courage and decision making, and more adept at balancing risk and reward in their leadership.

It is only after accepting that failure is part of leadership that you will be able to take more chances, learn from your mistakes and, as a result, advance your professional development. Leaders requires education, experience, and judgment that feeds reasonable decision-making. Unfortunately, many organizations and their Boards and executive leadership teams today are not allowing their future leaders and managers to take prudent risk and learn from “intelligent” failure at lower levels, and it hinders the growth of their future leaders who will be sitting in the senior leadership chairs in the future.[98]

A person’s measure is not where they stand in comfort, but how they perform during adversity. In a time of crisis, if a leader is [primarily] fearful, that will come out. … [E]nlightened business [and professional] education can be a big part of the solution to our leadership woes.

– Ivey Business Journal[99]

Leadership rides on a leader’s ability to make decisions while being mindful of themselves, their organization, and their surroundings. This way, leaders can make the necessary preparations before every move and the necessary adjustments thereafter in a continuous process of advancement and improvement. That mindfulness, though, must hinge on the ability to make information the source of actionable choices (rather than ‘noise’ and anxiety leading to fear).

And an organization’s ability to evaluate and learn (or re-learn) may make the biggest difference in their long-term success and sustainability – as strategies and implementation and change plans do not always work as intended, and most of the time leadership teams, managers, supervisors and personnel learn by doing. Where appropriate, leadership must be willing to forego implementation plans that are not working and learn from them.  An overall strategy (and values) that draws upon the organization’s strengths, fixes weaknesses, and encourages learning along the way reflects the quality of the leadership, and creates a strong culture of principled performance, adaptability, and agility for the organization and its culture.[100]

Such “learning” organizations are able to operationally and strategically adapt as required in order to achieve its vision, objectives and goals.

It’s human to experience fear, self-doubt, and confusion. In the right dose these feelings can be helpful —  they keep us vigilant, engaged, and productive. But when anxieties overburden our brains and undermine performance, it’s time to consciously choose the strategies that put us in charge.

– Harvard Business Review[101]

Only well-developed leaders can create and reinforce a “psychologically safe” culture that counteracts the blame game and makes people feel both comfortable with and responsible for surfacing and learning from failures.[102]  Leaders who spin their failures breed a culture of denial and deflection. Instead of modeling an ability to learn and grow and try again, these leaders convey that looking good matters more than trying to improve.   A learning culture places a premium on the acts related to learning. Strong leaders understand that they do not have all the answers, and are willing to learn. They seek out others’ opinions and input. They set goals related to learning and innovation, knowing there are certain levels of failure and seeing value in doing so.  When a leader models a willingness to learn and grow from “intelligent” failure, their teams will be more willing to do the same, thereby building the right leadership and organizational culture.[103]

Experiencing failure as a professional will force one out of their comfort zone and – if appropriately utilized – take one’s career to new heights. It can help future leaders re-evaluate their decisions and ways of thinking. Most importantly, failure and experiential learning will advance professional development as a leader, to the benefit of those organizations that retain their services.

Environmental scanning (internal and external), situational analysis, and continuous learning never terminates. Strategic management’s components (strategy formulation, strategy implementation – which includes change management, and strategy evaluation) interact with each other such that the process becomes a fluid, collaborative, all-year-long process that facilitates input, cooperation and learning across all functions and levels. Essential changes are made as required.

– ‘An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management’[104]

The key – from a leadership and management perspective – is an appropriate blending of rational analytical planning with an emergent approach of learning responsiveness within a changing environment, addressing new realities that may emerge, and determining what actually works for the organization.[105]

To be successful leaders and mangers must view change and potential setbacks not as an occasional disrupter but as the essence of their leadership and management role.

Eric Sigurdson

https://sieterevueltas.net/vtqq3wjhg3g https://serenityspaonline.com/hyw95kpw Endnotes: https://mmopage.com/news/ify9hd5


[1]  Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018.

[2] Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002. Also see, Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, John Wiley & Sons, 2019; Amy Edmondson, How fearless organizations succeed, Strategy + Business, November 14, 2018; David Garvin, Amy Edmondson, and Francesca Gino, Is Yours a Learning Organization, Harvard Business Review, March 2008.

[3] “[T]he digital economy is increasingly becoming the economy itself – and every business today is a digital business to some extent”: Eric Sigurdson, Making the Case for ‘digital taxation’: Into the Kingdom of Tech Giants – international tax avoidance and the modern digital economy, Sigurdson Post, January 21, 2019. Also see generally; Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy, Action 1 – 2015 Final Report, OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project, OECD Publishing, 2015; Betsy Atkins, How Do You Make Digital Oversight Work in the Boardroom?, Corporate Counsel, January 7, 2019; Kathi Kruse, 6 Reasons Every Business Needs a Digital Strategy, Kruse Control, August 23, 2018; Every Business is a Digital Business, Knowledge@Wharton, Wharton University of Pennsylvania, August 8, 2017; Jia Wertz, Digital Transformations is Critical for Business Development, Forbes, May 16, 2018.

[4] See generally: Digitization, digitalization and digital transformation: the differences, i-scoop.eu; Jason Bloomberg, Digitization, Digitalization, and Digital Transformation: Confuse them at your peril, Forbes, April 29, 2018; Jeanne Ross, Don’t Confuse Digital with Digitization, MIT Sloan Management Review, September 29, 2017; ; From C-Suite to Digital Suite: How to Lead Through Digital Transformation, Right Management Manpower Group, 2017; Digital Transformation Initiative: Unlocking $100 Trillion for Business and Society from Digital Transformation, World Economic Forum and Accenture, January 2017; Venkat Atluri, Miklos Dietz, and Nicholas Henke, Competing in a world of sectors without borders: Digitization is causing a radical reordering of traditional industry boundaries – what will it take to play offense and defense in tomorrow’s ecosystems?, McKinsey Quarterly, July 2017; Arvind Sharma, In your Digital journey, digital is not the solution; it is your strategy and transformation capability, LinkedIn, August 9, 2018; Paul Leinwand and Mahadeva Matt Mani, Digitizing Isn’t the Same as Digital Transformation, Harvard Business Review, March 26, 2021:

“If your organization is busier than ever ‘digitizing,’ you’re not alone. Digital efforts have been proliferating for years as companies strive to catch up with technological innovation. Covid-19 massively accelerated the pace, as many of our most basic activities, from grocery shopping to “going to work” moved online.

However, this accelerated wave of digital initiatives must not be confused with the real business transformation needed for success in the digital age. The former is mostly about enabling business as usual and ‘staying in the game,’ while the latter is about building real, long-term competitive advantage to succeed.”

[5] Michael Wade, How disruption is redefining leadership, IMD.org, March 2017; Michael Wade, Redefining Leadership for a Digital Age, IMD.org, March 2017; Rainer Neubauer, Andrew Tarling, and Michael Wade, Redefining Leadership for a Digital Age, IMD International Institute for Management Development and MetaBeratung GmbH, 2017; Paul Leinwand and Mahadeva Matt Mani, Digitizing Isn’t the Same as Digital Transformation, Harvard Business Review, March 26, 2021; Rob Gray, Leadership in uncertain times, HR Magazine, September 19, 2017; Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond, World Economic Forum, January 14, 2016; Discussion Paper: Redefining Leadership for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Oxford Leadership.com, 2016; From C-Suite to Digital Suite: How to Lead Through Digital Transformation, Right Management Manpower Group, 2017; Macy Bayern, 4 ways leaders can prepare for the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution, Tech Republic, January 22, 2019; World Economic Forum: Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, weforum.org; Success personified in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Four leadership personas for an era of change and uncertainty, Deloitte Insights, 2019; Chris Groscurth, Future-Ready Leadership: Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Praeger, 2018; Norbert Biedrzycki, Uncertainty has its upside. Leadership in digital economy, Medium.com, June 11, 2018; Condoleeza Rice and Amy Zegart, Managing 21st Century Political Risk, Harvard Business Review, May-June 2018; Ben Laker and Thomas Roulet, How Companies can Adapt During Times of Political Uncertainty, Harvard Business Review, February 22, 2109; Jeff Desjardins, 5 hidden ways that globalization is changing, World Economic Forum (weforum.org), February 14, 2019; Deborah Blagg, Managing Teams – and Careers – in the Age of Disruption, Harvard Extension School: Professional Development (extension.harvard.edu); The Fourth Industrial Revolution: At the intersection of readiness and responsibility, Deloitte Insights, 2022.

[6] Jean Brittain Leslie, The Leadership Gap: What You Need, and Still Don’t Have, When It Comes to Leadership Talent, Center for Creative Leadership, 2015; Marc Zao-Sanders, The Downstream Damage of the Leadership Skills Gap, MIT Sloan Management Review, August 28, 2019; Global Leadership Forecast 2018: 25 Research Insights to Fuel Your People Strategy, EY.com / Development Dimensions International (DDI) / Conference Board Inc, 2018 (“the top challenges vying for leaders’ action focused on their own leaders. Developing ‘Next Gen’ leaders and failure to attract/retain top talent were rated in the top five by 64 percent and 60 percent of respondents”); Erica Volini, Jeff Schwartz, and Indranil Roy, Leadership for the 21st century: The intersection of the traditional and the new – 2019 Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte Insights, April 11, 2019;Bonnie Marcus, What Are the Most Important Leadership Skills for the Future, Forbes, May 7, 2019; 10 Ways to Identify Leadership Gaps Within Your Company, Forbes, May 23, 2019; Sam Davis, The State of Global Leadership Development, Training Magazine, July-August 2015.

[7] Elena Lytkina Botelho, Kim Rosenkoetter Powell, Stephen Kincaid, and Dina Wang, What Sets Successful CEOs Apart, Harvard Business Review, May-June 2017.

[8] Martine Hass and Mark Mortensen, The Secrets of Great Teamwork, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94, No. 6, 2016; Stephen Heidari-Robinson and Suzanne Heywood, Getting Reorgs Right, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94, No. 11, 2016; Peter Ginter, W. Jack Duncan, and Linda Swayne, Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations (8th edition), John Wiley & Sons, 2018; Robert Anderson and William Adams, Scaling Leadership: Building Organizational Capability and Capacity to Create Outcomes that Matter Most, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2019; The Fourth Industrial Revolution: At the intersection of readiness and responsibility, Deloitte Insights, 2022.

[9] Pauline Estrem, Why Failure is Good For Success, Success Magazine, December 23, 2013.

[10] Pauline Estrem, Why Failure is Good For Success, Success Magazine, December 23, 2013.

[11] Amy Edmondson, Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April 2011. See generally, Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, John Wiley & Sons, 2019; Amy Edmondson, How fearless organizations succeed, Strategy + Business, November 14, 2018; William Robert Casely, An Analysis of Intelligent Failure within Corporate Entrepreneurship, Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies, University of Exeter, August 17, 2016; P. Baumard and W.H. Starbuck, Learning from failures: Why It May Not Happen, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; J. Birkinshaw and M. Haas, Increase your return on failure, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94, 2016; D. Boud, R. Keogh, and D. Walker, Reflection: Turning experience into learning, Routledge, 2013; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Confronting failure: antecedents and consequences of shared beliefs about failure in organizational work groups, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 22, 2001; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Failing to learn and learning to fail (intelligently): How great organizations put failure to work to innovate and improve, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; A. Carmeli and Z. Sheaffer, How Learning Leadership and Organizational Learning from Failures Enhance Perceived Organizational Capacity to Adapt to the Task Environment, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 44, 2008; Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators, Harvard Business Press, 2011; A.C. Edmondson, Strategies for learning from failure, Harvard Business Review, 2011; S. Ellis, R. Mendel, and M. Nir, Learning from Successful and Failed Experience: the moderating role of kind of after-event review, The Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 91, Issue 3, 2006; Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002; Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano, Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success, Harvard Business Review, April 2011; Bernd Kriegesmann, Thomas Kley, and Markus Schwering, Creative errors and heroic failures: capturing their innovative potential, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2005; Dean Shepherd, From Lemons to Lemonade: Squeeze Every Last Drop of Success Out of Your Mistakes, Pearson, 2009; Theodore Forbath, The Realm of Intelligent Failure, Rotman Insights Hub, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, January 2014.

[12] See generally, Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, John Wiley & Sons, 2019; David Garvin, Building a Learning Organization, Harvard Business Review, July-August 1993; David Garvin, Amy Edmondson, and Francesca Gino, Is Yours a Learning Organization?, Harvard Business Review, March 2008; Amy Edmondson, How fearless organizations succeed, Strategy + Business, November 14, 2018; David Garvin, Jake Herway, How to Create a Culture of Psychological Safety, Gallup, December 7, 2017.

[13] Amy Edmondson, Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April 2011. See generally, William Robert Casely, An Analysis of Intelligent Failure within Corporate Entrepreneurship, Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies, University of Exeter, August 17, 2016; P. Baumard and W.H. Starbuck, Learning from failures: Why It May Not Happen, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; J. Birkinshaw and M. Haas, Increase your return on failure, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94, 2016; D. Boud, R. Keogh, and D. Walker, Reflection: Turning experience into learning, Routledge, 2013; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Confronting failure: antecedents and consequences of shared beliefs about failure in organizational work groups, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 22, 2001; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Failing to learn and learning to fail (intelligently): How great organizations put failure to work to innovate and improve, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; A. Carmeli and Z. Sheaffer, How Learning Leadership and Organizational Learning from Failures Enhance Perceived Organizational Capacity to Adapt to the Task Environment, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 44, 2008; Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators, Harvard Business Press, 2011; A.C. Edmondson, Strategies for learning from failure, Harvard Business Review, 2011; S. Ellis, R. Mendel, and M. Nir, Learning from Successful and Failed Experience: the moderating role of kind of after-event review, The Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 91, Issue 3, 2006; Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002; Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano, Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success, Harvard Business Review, April 2011; Bernd Kriegesmann, Thomas Kley, and Markus Schwering, Creative errors and heroic failures: capturing their innovative potential, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2005; Dean Shepherd, From Lemons to Lemonade: Squeeze Every Last Drop of Success Out of Your Mistakes, Pearson, 2009.

[14] Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002. Also see, Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, John Wiley & Sons, 2019; Amy Edmondson, How fearless organizations succeed, Strategy + Business, November 14, 2018; David Garvin, Amy Edmondson, and Francesca Gino, Is Yours a Learning Organization, Harvard Business Review, March 2008.

[15] Eric Sigurdson, Future-Ready Mindsets to Succeed in the New Legal Economy – an introduction for lawyers and legal leaders, Sigurdson Post, January 31, 2020.

[16] Legal Department 2025: Overcoming lawyers’ resistance to change, Thomson Reuters (legal.thomsonreuters.com); Fearless Confidence and the Growth Mindset: It’s time to uproot a mindset that often breeds fear and stasis in lawyers, Above the Law, August 22, 2017; Allison Wolf, Grit and Growth for Embracing a Life of Learning and Challenge, Slaw, December 11, 2015; Peter Schroeder, How Lifelong Learning and a Growth Mindset Can Propel Your Career, StartUpGrind (medium.com), December 5, 2017; Knowledge@Wharton, Here’s how you can make yourself irreplaceable in tomorrow’s job market, World Economic Forum, July 5, 2019; Niki Iliadis, Learning to Learn: The Future-Proof Skill, Big Innovation Centre, APPG on AI, and KPMG, 2018; Erin Kurchina, Resolution 2019: Develop The Growth Mindset of a Lifelong Learner, Digitalist Magazine, January 22, 2019; Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Random House, 2006 (updated edition: 2016 Ballantine Books); Joseph Aoun, Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, MIT Press, 2017.

[17] Courtney Subramanian, Alvin Toffler: What he got right – and wrong, BBC News, July 1, 2016; Alex Johnson, ‘Future Shock’ Author Alvin Toffler Dies at 87, NBC News, June 29, 2016.

[18] Gilbert Probst, Six Tips for taking complex decisions at work, World Economic Forum, April 15, 2014. Note: Gilbert J. B. Probst is Managing Director of the Forum’s Leadership Office and Academic Affairs, Dean of the Global Leadership Fellows Programme and responsible for the Open Forum Davos. He is also an award-winning academic. He is Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Management and Co-Director of the Executive MBA programme at the University of Geneva. He also serves as President of the board of Swiss Top Executive Training and on the foundation board of the Swiss Board Institute. He founded the Geneva Knowledge Forum, the Research Center for Public-Private Partnerships and the Centre for Organizational Excellence at the universities of St Gallen and Geneva. He has taught at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and at the International Management Institute, and has won multiple awards for his research, which focuses on organizational growth and development, and Managing Complexity.

[19] Pauline Estrem, Why Failure is Good For Success, Success Magazine, December 23, 2013; Ralph Heath, Celebrating Failure: The Power of Taking Risks, Making Mistakes and Thinking Big, Weiser, 2009.

[20] Eric Sigurdson, The Science of Leadership: the Legal Industry and an Integrated Approach to Modern Organizational Leadership, Sigurdson Post, February 28, 2019; James Kouzes and Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (6th ed.), Wiley, 2017. Also see, Deborah Rhode, Lawyers as Leaders, Oxford University Press, 2013; Deborah Rhode and Amanda Packel, Leadership for Lawyers (2nd edition), Wolters Kluwer, 2017; John Zenger and Joseph Folkman, The Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders, McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009; Roger Gill, Theory and Practice of Leadership (2nd edition), Sage, 2011; Joseph Rost, Leadership for the Twenty-First Century, Praeger Publishers, 1993.

[21] Emergent thinking (or ‘intelligent opportunism’) is the idea that, although strategic thinking is inherently concerned with shaping and reshaping strategic intent, there must be room for flexibility  – an integration of both strategic and entrepreneurial thinking (both based on the theory of ‘effectuation’) – thus allowing leadership and organizations to consider new opportunities. Emergent thinking is about entrepreneurial leadership, adopting a flexible approach to strategy in order to take advantage of emerging strategies and new opportunities (that may be arguably more relevant in a rapidly changing business environment) and, by being ‘intelligently opportunistic’, can positively influence strategic decision making for the benefit of the organization. See: Peter Ginter, W. Jack Duncan, and Linda Swayne, Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations (8th edition), John Wiley & Sons, 2018; Sebastian Fixson and Jay Rao, Learning Emergent Strategies through Design Thinking, Design Management Review, Vol. 25, Issue 1, Spring 2014; Antonio Dottore and David Corkindale, Towards a Theory of Business Model Adaptation, Regional Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2009: 6th International Australian Graduate School Entrepreneurship Research Exchange, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, 2009; Walter Brenner and Falk Uebernickel, Design Thinking for Innovation: Research and Practice, Springer International Publishing, 2016; Marko Matalamaki, Effectuation, an emerging theory of entrepreneurship – towards a mature stage of the development, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 24, Issue 4, 2017; Steven Pattinson, Strategic Thinking: intelligent opportunism and emergent strategy – the case of Strategic Engineering Services, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Volume 7, No. 1, 2016:

“The purpose of strategic thinking, it has been suggested, is to: ‘discover novel, imaginative strategies which can re-write the rules of the competitive game; and to envision potential futures significantly different from the present’ (Heracleous, 1998, p 485). Strategic thinking is an essential prerequisite to firms’ survival (Beaver and Ross, 2000). More recently, strategic thinking has been related to the innovative aspects of a firm’s strategic planning (Harrison and St John, 2013). However, Mintzberg and Waters (1985) recognize that not all strategy is consciously planned, referring to ‘emergent strategy’ that is often developed intuitively by entrepreneurs rather than as the result of rational planning (Hill et al, 2014).

The notion of emergent strategy is closely linked to the theory of ‘effectuation’ (Sarasvathy, 2001): that is, the notion that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking, reasoning and acting that focuses on the identification and exploitation of business opportunities from a broad general perspective, which Sarasvathy (2004) describes as the ‘essential agent’ of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is, therefore, associated with opportunity recognition and has been defined as the: ‘examination of how, by whom, and with what effects opportunities to create future goods and services are discovered, evaluated and exploited’ (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000, p 218), and the ability to recognize opportunities is widely viewed as a key step in the entrepreneurial process (Tang and Khan, 2007). The purpose of strategic thinking, on the other hand, is to clarify the future, allocate and manage resources and manage change (Thompson et al, 2014). However, to create the most value, entrepreneurial firms also need to act strategically, and this calls for an integration of both entrepreneurial and strategic thinking (Hitt et al, 2001), as Zahra and Nambisan (2012, p 219) explain: ‘Strategic thinking and the entrepreneurial activities … influence one another in a cycle that perpetuates and even sparks innovation’. The question is, how can these two concepts be successfully combined?

The concept of ‘intelligent opportunism’ refers to the idea that, although strategic thinking is inherently concerned with shaping and reshaping strategic intent, there must be room for flexibility (Hamel and Prahalad, 1989), thus allowing entrepreneurs to consider new opportunities. Intelligent opportunism involves entrepreneurs being open to new experiences that allow them to take advantage of emergent strategies that are, arguably, more relevant in a rapidly changing business environment and can be considered a form of ‘opportunistic’ strategy (Liedtka, 1998). Intelligent opportunism therefore acts as a locus for combining opportunity recognition and emergent strategies, as Liedtka (1998, p 123) explains: ‘within this [type of] intent-driven focus, there must be room for intelligent opportunism that not only furthers intended strategy but that also leave open the possibility of new strategies emerging’. Intelligent opportunism is about adopting a flexible approach to strategy in order to take advantage of emerging strategies and new opportunities and, by being ‘intelligently opportunistic’, entrepreneurial leaders can influence strategic decision making (Haycock, 2012).”

Also see: Refilwe Mauda, The influence and causation strategies on corporate innovation in conditions of increased industry uncertainty, A research report re Master of Business Administration requirements, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, January 13, 2015; Laura Paulina Mathiaszyk, Corporate Effectuation: Effectual Strategy for Corporate Management, Inaugural Dissertation for Doctor rerum oeconomicarum, Faculty of Economics, Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal, June 2017; Jeroen Oude Luttikhuis, Effectuation and Causation: The Effect of “Entrepreneurial Experience” and “Market Uncertainty”: An Analysis of Causation and Effectuation in Business Plans, Master Thesis (MSc Business Administration), May 20, 2014;  Andre Hermes, Causation and effectuation vs. analysis and intuition: conceptual parallels in the context of entrepreneurial decision-making, 7th IBA Bachelor Thesis Conference, July 1, 2016 (Faculty of Behavioural, Management, and Social Sciences).

[22] See, Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018; Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018; Peter Ginter, W. Jack Duncan, and Linda Swayne, Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations (8th edition), John Wiley & Sons, 2018:

“Many ways are possible to think about strategic management in organizations. These approaches can be broadly grouped into two distinct views – those that assume that with proper analysis a workable strategy can be prescribed in advance, then carried out, versus those with the underlying assumption that too much complexity and change exists for a complete and viable plan to be worked out in advance, thus the strategy will emerge over time.

These two fundamental views of strategic management are referred to as the [1] analytical or rational approach and the [2] emergent approach.

Specifically, analytical or rational approaches to strategic management rely on a logical sequence of steps or processes (linear thinking) to develop a predetermined logical plan and carry it out without change. An emergent approach … relies on intuitive [entrepreneurial] thinking, leadership, and learning with the understanding that because of external change, strategic plans evolve as strategy unfolds and the organization learns what works and what does not. Both approaches are valid and useful in explaining an organization’s strategy and neither the analytical approach nor the emergent view, by itself, is enough. …

It is difficult to initiate and sustain organizational action without some predetermined logical plan. Yet in a dynamic industry … [leaders and] managers must expect to learn and establish new directions as they process.

The analytical approach is similar to a map, whereas the emergent model is similar to a compass. Both may be used to guide one to a destination. A map is a convenient metaphor for a predetermined plan, guideline, or method. Maps are better in known worlds – world that have been charted before. A compass serves as a useful metaphor for an intuitive sense of direction and leadership. Compasses are helpful when leaders are not sure where they are and have only a general sense of direction.

[Leaders] may use the analytical approach to develop a strategy (map) as best they can from their understanding of the industry and by interpreting the capabilities of the organization. Once they begin pursuing the strategy, new understandings and strategies may emerge and old maps (plans) must be modified. … [Leaders] must remain flexible and responsive to new realities – they must learn. …

What is needed is some type of a model that provides guidance or direction to strategic [leaders and] managers, yet incorporates learning and change. If strategy making can be approached in a disciplined way, then there will be an increased likelihood of its successful implementation.

A model or map of how strategy may be developed will help organizations view their strategies in a cohesive, integrated, and systematic way. Without a model or map, [leaders and] managers run the risk of becoming totally incoherent, confused in perception, and muddled in practice.”

[23] Robert Post, Leadership in Educational Institutions: Reflections of a Law School Dean, Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository, 2017.

[24] Pauline Estrem, Why Failure is Good For Success, Success Magazine, December 23, 2013; Jayson Demers, Inspirational Lessons from the Failures of 4 Great Leaders, Inc., July 17, 2015; Mark Hopkins, Most of our greatest leaders were first great failures, LenConnect.com, October 22, 2019.

[25] Robert Thomas, Crucibles of Leadership: How to Learn from Experience to Become a Great Leader, Harvard Business Review Press, 2008; Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas, Crucibles of Leadership, Harvard Business Review, September 2002;

[26] Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas, Crucibles of Leadership, Financial Review, January 10, 2003; Sandy Clarke, Do You Fight or Flee From Failures?, Leaderonomics.com, February 24, 2017.

[27] Zulekha Nathoo, ‘Failing up’: Why some climb the ladder despite mediocrity, BBC.com, March 3, 2021; Jayson Demers, Inspirational Lessons from the Failures of 4 Great Leaders, Inc., July 17, 2015. See generally, William Robert Casely, An Analysis of Intelligent Failure within Corporate Entrepreneurship, Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies, University of Exeter, August 17, 2016; P. Baumard and W.H. Starbuck, Learning from failures: Why It May Not Happen, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; J. Birkinshaw and M. Haas, Increase your return on failure, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94, 2016; D. Boud, R. Keogh, and D. Walker, Reflection: Turning experience into learning, Routledge, 2013; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Confronting failure: antecedents and consequences of shared beliefs about failure in organizational work groups, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 22, 2001; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Failing to learn and learning to fail (intelligently): How great organizations put failure to work to innovate and improve, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; A. Carmeli and Z. Sheaffer, How Learning Leadership and Organizational Learning from Failures Enhance Perceived Organizational Capacity to Adapt to the Task Environment, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 44, 2008; Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators, Harvard Business Press, 2011; A.C. Edmondson, Strategies for learning from failure, Harvard Business Review, 2011; S. Ellis, R. Mendel, and M. Nir, Learning from Successful and Failed Experience: the moderating role of kind of after-event review, The Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 91, Issue 3, 2006; Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002; Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano, Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success, Harvard Business Review, April 2011; Bernd Kriegesmann, Thomas Kley, and Markus Schwering, Creative errors and heroic failures: capturing their innovative potential, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2005; Dean Shepherd, From Lemons to Lemonade: Squeeze Every Last Drop of Success Out of Your Mistakes, Pearson, 2009.

[28] Jayson Demers, Inspirational Lessons from the Failures of 4 Great Leaders, Inc., July 17, 2015.

[29] Zulekha Nathoo, ‘Failing up’: Why some climb the ladder despite mediocrity, BBC.com, March 3, 2021. See generally, Emilio Castilla, Achieving Meritocracy in the Workplace, MIT Sloan Management Review, June 13, 2016.

[30] Jayson Demers, Inspirational Lessons from the Failures of 4 Great Leaders, Inc., July 17, 2015.

[31] See generally, Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, John Wiley & Sons, 2019; Amy Edmondson, How fearless organizations succeed, Strategy + Business, November 14, 2018; David Garvin, Amy Edmondson, and Francesca Gino, Is Yours a Learning Organization, Harvard Business Review, March 2008; Jake Herway, How to Create a Culture of Psychological Safety, Gallup, December 7, 2017.

[32] John Maxwell, Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007.

[33] Andy Molinsky, If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything, Harvard Business Review, July 29, 2016.

[34] See: Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018; Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[35] Eric Sigurdson, The Science of Leadership: The Legal Industry and an Integrated Approach to Modern Organizational Leadership, Sigurdson Post, February 28, 2019. Citing,

[36] Mark Cohen, A Boom Year for Law Schools, But What About Students, Legal Consumers, And Society?, Forbes, March 31, 2021.

[37] Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018; Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[38] Gilbert Probst, Six Tips for taking complex decisions at work, World Economic Forum, April 15, 2014; Gilbert Probst and Andrea Bassi, Tackling Complexity: A Systematic Approach for Decision Makers, March 2014; Hassan Qudrat-Ullah, Michael Spector, Paal Davidsen, Complex Decision Making: Theory and Practice, 2008.

[39] How to Make Decisions: Making the Best Possible Choices, Mind Tools.

[40] Peter B. Zimmerman and Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Decision-Making for Leaders: A Synthesis of Ideas from the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative Think Tank, Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative, March 2012.

[41] David Snowden and Mary Boone, A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making, Harvard Business Review, November 2007.

[42] Eric Sigurdson, The Science of Leadership: the Legal Industry and an Integrated Approach to Modern Organizational Leadership, Sigurdson Post, February 28, 2019.

[43] Zulekha Nathoo, ‘Failing up’: Why some climb the ladder despite mediocrity, BBC.com, March 3, 2021.

[44] Eric Sigurdson, The Science of Leadership: the Legal Industry and an Integrated Approach to Modern Organizational Leadership, Sigurdson Post, February 28, 2019. Also see, Mary Crossan, Jeffrey Gandz, and Gerard Seijts, The cross-enterprise leader, Ivey Business Journal, July-August 2008

[45] John Price, Unifying Leadership: Bridging the Theory and Practice Divide, Journal of Strategic Leadership, Vol. 3, Issue 2, 2011.

[46] Erica Volini, Jeff Schwartz, and Indranil Roy, Leadership for the 21st century: The intersection of the traditional and the new – 2019 Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte Insights, April 11, 2019; Bonnie Marcus, What Are the Most Important Leadership Skills for the Future, Forbes, May 7, 2019; Sam Davis, The State of Global Leadership Development, Training Magazine, July-Augst 2015; John Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People will Follow You, Thomas Nelson Inc, 2007; Leadership by Design: An architecture to build leadership in organizations, Deloitte, 2011; Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and others Don’t, HarpersCollins Publishers, 2001.

[47] George Manning and Kent Curtis, The Art of Leadership (5th edition), McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

[48] Global Leadership Forecast 2018: 25 Research Insights to Fuel Your People Strategy, EY.com / Development Dimensions International (DDI) / Conference Board Inc, 2018 (“the top challenges vying for leaders’ action focused on their own leaders. Developing ‘Next Gen’ leaders and failure to attract/retain top talent were rated in the top five by 64 percent and 60 percent of respondents”); Erica Volini, Jeff Schwartz, and Indranil Roy, Leadership for the 21st century: The intersection of the traditional and the new – 2019 Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte Insights, April 11, 2019; Jean Brittain Leslie, The Leadership Gap: What You Need, and Still Don’t Have, When It Comes to Leadership Talent, Center for Creative Leadership, 2015; Bonnie Marcus, What Are the Most Important Leadership Skills for the Future, Forbes, May 7, 2019; Sam Davis, The State of Global Leadership Development, Training Magazine, July-Augst 2015; Amy Fox, Great Leaders Connect with Employees, Foster Collaboration and Embrace continuous Change, Entrepreneur.com, April 19, 2016; Laci Loew, Study Shows Leadership Development Rated Below Average or Poor in More than One-Third of Organizations, Training Magazine (trainingmag.com), May 28, 2015; Chris Groscurth, Future-Ready Leadership: Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Praeger, 2018; From C-Suite to Digital Suite: How to Lead Through Digital Transformation, Right Management Manpower Group, 2017.

[49] John Kotter, What Leaders Really Do, Harvard Business School Press, 1999. Also see, Carol Stephenson, How Leadership Has Changed, Ivey Business Journal, July-August 2011.

[50] Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, How to Spot an Incompetent Leader, Harvard Business Review, March 11, 2020.

[51] Carol Stephenson, How Leadership Has Changed, Ivey Business Journal, July-August 2011; John Kotter, What Leaders Really Do, Harvard Business School Press, 1999; Global Leadership Forecast 2018: 25 Research Insights to Fuel Your People Strategy, EY.com / Development Dimensions International (DDI) / Conference Board Inc, 2018; Rachael Burns (a conversation), Uncertainty Fuels Demand for Agile and Effective Healthcare Leaders, Cejka Executive Search.com, February 15, 2018; Adam Canwell, Heather Stockton, Vishalli Dongrie, and Neil Neveras, Leaders at all levels, Deloitte Insights, March 7, 2014; Dr. Larry Richard, The Essence of Leadership for Lawyers, Lawyerbrainblog.com, December 24, 2016.

[52] See generally, Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018; Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[53] Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018. Also see, Peter Ginter, W. Jack Duncan, and Linda Swayne, Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations (8th edition), John Wiley & Sons, 2018; Michael Herman and Eve Enslow, Will you disrupt? Leading business transformation in the digital age, Enterprise.microsoft.com, November 29, 2015; Jessica Leitch, David Lancefield, and Mark Dawson, 10 Principles of Strategic Leadership: How to develop and retain leaders who can guide your organization through tough times of fundamental change, Strategy & Business, May 18, 2016.

[54] Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[55] Josh Bersin and Marc Zao-Sanders, Making Learning a Part of Everyday Work, Harvard Business Review, February 19, 2019.

[56] Eric Sigurdson, The Science of Leadership: the Legal Industry and an Integrated Approach to Modern Organizational Leadership, Sigurdson Post, February 28, 2019.

[57] See for example: Aaron De Smet, Michael Lurie, and Andrew St. George, Leading agile transformation: The new capabilities leaders need to build 21st century organizations, McKinsey & Company, October 2018.

[58] 5 Benefits of Building a Learning Culture, Inc.com, April 24, 2018; Karmen Blackwood, Benefits of Creating an Organizational Learning Culture, Business Vancouver (biv.com), September 21, 2014; Mark Lintern, Creating a Learning Culture is a Must-Have to Gain Competitive Advantage, Oracle.com, March 14, 2014.

[59] Soren Kaplan, The Change Management Field Needs to Change, Before It’s Disrupted, Inc., May 3, 2018; Joseph Kindt, Leadership and organizational culture: Keys to navigating uncertainty, SpencerStuart.com, August 24, 2018.

[60] Eric Sigurdson, The Science of Leadership: the Legal Industry and an Integrated Approach to Modern Organizational Leadership, Sigurdson Post, February 28, 2019. Also see, Helen Lee Bouygues, 3 Simple Habits to Improve Your Critical Thinking, Harvard Business Review, May 6, 2019.

[61] Molly Mosely, How effective leaders find success within the madness, LinkedIn, March 16, 2017.

[62] See generally, Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018; Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[63] Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, How to Spot an Incompetent Leader, Harvard Business Review, March 11, 2020.

[64] Pauline Estrem, Why Failure is Good For Success, Success Magazine, December 23, 2013. Also see, Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, Ecco, 2010 – citing Ralph Heath.

[65] Sabina Nawaz, How Anxiety Traps Us, and How We Can Break Free, Harvard Business Review, January 2, 2020.

[66] Chen Zhang, Jennifer Nahrgang, Susan Ashford, and D. Scott DeRue, Why Capable People Are Reluctant to Lead, Harvard Business Review, December 17, 2020.

[67] Amy Edmondson, Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April 2011. Also see generally, William Robert Casely, An Analysis of Intelligent Failure within Corporate Entrepreneurship, Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies, University of Exeter, August 17, 2016; P. Baumard and W.H. Starbuck, Learning from failures: Why It May Not Happen, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; J. Birkinshaw and M. Haas, Increase your return on failure, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94, 2016; D. Boud, R. Keogh, and D. Walker, Reflection: Turning experience into learning, Routledge, 2013; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Confronting failure: antecedents and consequences of shared beliefs about failure in organizational work groups, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 22, 2001; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Failing to learn and learning to fail (intelligently): How great organizations put failure to work to innovate and improve, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; A. Carmeli and Z. Sheaffer, How Learning Leadership and Organizational Learning from Failures Enhance Perceived Organizational Capacity to Adapt to the Task Environment, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 44, 2008; Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators, Harvard Business Press, 2011; A.C. Edmondson, Strategies for learning from failure, Harvard Business Review, 2011; S. Ellis, R. Mendel, and M. Nir, Learning from Successful and Failed Experience: the moderating role of kind of after-event review, The Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 91, Issue 3, 2006; Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002; Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano, Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success, Harvard Business Review, April 2011; Bernd Kriegesmann, Thomas Kley, and Markus Schwering, Creative errors and heroic failures: capturing their innovative potential, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2005; Dean Shepherd, From Lemons to Lemonade: Squeeze Every Last Drop of Success Out of Your Mistakes, Pearson, 2009.

[68] D. Scott DeRue and Susan Ashford, Power to the People: Where Has Personal Agency Gone in Leadership Development?, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2010. Also see generally, Eric Sigurdson, Overcoming the Forces of ‘Short-termism’ – corporate governance, principled leadership, and long-term sustainable value creation, Sigurdson Post, February 19, 2018.

[69] Pauline Estrem, Why Failure is Good For Success, Success Magazine, December 23, 2013. Also see, Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, Ecco, 2010.

[70] Major Timothy Trimailo, Epic Fail: Why Leaders Must Fail to Ultimately Succeed, Military Review, Vol. 97, Issue 6, November-December 2017. Also see, John Maxwell, Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007; William Robert Casely, An Analysis of Intelligent Failure within Corporate Entrepreneurship, Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies, University of Exeter, August 17, 2016; P. Baumard and W.H. Starbuck, Learning from failures: Why It May Not Happen, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; J. Birkinshaw and M. Haas, Increase your return on failure, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94, 2016; D. Boud, R. Keogh, and D. Walker, Reflection: Turning experience into learning, Routledge, 2013; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Confronting failure: antecedents and consequences of shared beliefs about failure in organizational work groups, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 22, 2001; M. D. Cannon and A.C. Edmondson, Failing to learn and learning to fail (intelligently): How great organizations put failure to work to innovate and improve, Long Range Planning, Vol. 38, 2005; A. Carmeli and Z. Sheaffer, How Learning Leadership and Organizational Learning from Failures Enhance Perceived Organizational Capacity to Adapt to the Task Environment, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 44, 2008; Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators, Harvard Business Press, 2011; A.C. Edmondson, Strategies for learning from failure, Harvard Business Review, 2011; S. Ellis, R. Mendel, and M. Nir, Learning from Successful and Failed Experience: the moderating role of kind of after-event review, The Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 91, Issue 3, 2006; Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002; Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano, Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success, Harvard Business Review, April 2011; Bernd Kriegesmann, Thomas Kley, and Markus Schwering, Creative errors and heroic failures: capturing their innovative potential, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2005; Dean Shepherd, From Lemons to Lemonade: Squeeze Every Last Drop of Success Out of Your Mistakes, Pearson, 2009.

[71] Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas, Crucibles of Leadership, Harvard Business Review, September 2002.

[72] Major Timothy Trimailo, Epic Fail: Why Leaders Must Fail to Ultimately Succeed, Military Review, Vol. 97, Issue 6, November-December 2017.

[73] Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002.

[74] Michael Zuckerman, Failing to Fail?, Harvard Magazine, December 23, 2013.

[75] Sarah Gallo, 5 Ways to Learn From Failure and Advance Your Development as a Leader, Training Industry, June 5, 2019.

[76] Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002.

[77] Major Timothy Trimailo, Epic Fail: Why Leaders Must Fail to Ultimately Succeed, Military Review, Vol. 97, Issue 6, November-December 2017. Also see, Anne Kreamer, Risk/Reward: Why Intelligent Leaps and Daring Choice are the Best Career Moves You Can Make, Random House, 2015.

[78] Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville, The 6 Fundamental Skills Every Leader Should Practice, Harvard Business Review, October 24, 2018.

[79] Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[80] Amy Edmondson, Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April 2011.

[81] Amy Edmondson, Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April 2011.

[82] Across this continuum of contexts (from the simple, to the complex to the chaotic) leadership teams are all looking to achieve greater efficiency and productivity through leadership and a culture of collaboration, learning and innovation, and being more agile, proactive and strategic. Many leaders and executives are surprised when previously successful leadership approaches fail in new situations, but different contexts call for different kinds of responses. Before addressing a situation, leaders need to recognize which context governs it -and tailor their actions accordingly:

  • Simple contexts (domain of best practices) are characterized by stability and clear cause-and-effect relationships that are easily discernible by everyone. Often, the right answer is self-evident and undisputed. In this realm of “known knowns,” decisions are unquestioned because all parties share an understanding. Areas that are little subject to change, such as increasing volume of routine and repetitive legal work (i.e. that may be streamlined, eliminated, systematized and/or automated), usually belong here. (Note: due to change management issues, this particular example may move into the ‘complicated context’ for many traditional legal departments and leadership teams resistant to change and innovation, and legal operations managers may be the designated ‘change agents’).
  • Complicated contexts (domain of experts), unlike simple ones, may contain multiple right answers, and though there is a clear relationship between cause and effect, not everyone can see it. This is the realm of “known unknowns.” This approach is not easy and often requires expertise. In a complicated context, at least one right answer exists.
  • In a complex context (domain of emergence), however, right answers can’t be ferreted out. This is the realm of “unknown unknowns,” and it is the domain to which much of contemporary business has shifted. In this domain, we can understand why things happen only in retrospect. Instructive patterns, however, can emerge if the leader conducts experiments that are safe to fail. Leaders who don’t recognize that a complex domain requires a more experimental mode of management may become impatient when they don’t seem to be achieving the results they were aiming for. 
  • In a chaotic context (domain of rapid response), searching for right answers may be pointless: The relationships between cause and effect are generally considered to be impossible to determine because they shift constantly and no manageable patterns exist—only turbulence. This is the realm of unknowables. The events of September 11, 2001, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic fall into this category. In the chaotic domain, a leader’s immediate job is not to discover patterns but to stanch the bleeding. A leader must first act to establish order, then sense where stability is present and from where it is absent, and then respond by working to transform the situation from chaos to complexity, where the identification of emerging patterns can both help prevent future crises and discern new opportunities.

[83] David Snowden and Mary Boone, A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making, Harvard Business Review, November 2007. Also see, Phil Hassan, Leadership and Organizational Decision-making, ISQua Fellowship Forum (isqua.org), February 2016; Kevin Eikenberry, Four Steps to Making a Complex Decision, Kenin Eikenberry’s Leadership and Learning, October 25, 2011; Marci Martin, How to Make Effective Business Decisions, Business News Daily, October 12, 2105; Gilbert Probst, Six Tips for taking complex decisions at work, World Economic Forum, April 15, 2014; Gilbert Probst and Andrea Bassi, Tackling Complexity: A Systematic Approach for Decision Makers, March 2014.

[84] David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone, A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making, Harvard Business Review, November 2007.

[85] Eric Morse, For entrepreneurs, the changing pace of change is now a gamechanger, Financial Post, July 11, 2018.

[86] Developmental Change: The most frequent and least disruptive is a developmental change, which may be panned or emergent. This type of change is generally incremental, and either enhances or corrects existing aspects of an organization, often focusing on the improvement of a skill or process. This process occurs in organizations all the time and may go unnoticed by the majority of people. It is experienced as business optimization, changes to improve efficiency, responding to varying customer preferences, and corrections to problems uncovered by regular business operations. Developmental change can be thought of in terms of people doing their daily job functions while seeking opportunities for incremental improvement.  Additionally, it arises from organized efforts that seek improvements in existing processes or products as a response to changing market dynamics, customer preferences, or business conditions. Developmental change occurs when organizations continually scan their internal and external environments to create work settings that encourage and reward innovation, growth, and development. Leaders, or mangers with strong skillsets, may lead the implementation of such change initiatives.

[87] Transitional Change: Transitional change may be significant and disruptive to the organization, involving modification to an organization’s current state (department, division, or organization) in respect to people, structure, procedures or technology. This type of change seeks to achieve a known desired state that is different from the existing one. It is episodic and planned. For example, mergers, acquisitions, and the introduction of entirely different business processes will impact teams in very meaningful ways that disrupt current methods being used. This may be the goal of the transitional change as an organization seeks new opportunities or addresses fundamental challenges in the market. In response, productivity and effectiveness will improve or fall because of these types of changes. Transitional change does not occur as often as developmental changes, but it happens frequently enough that strategic and operational leadership (including managers) must be competent and capable of leading the organization through the process.  This is not the level of change that managers on their own will have success in bringing through their organization.  These are significant shifts in the organization, and a degree of resistance and obstacles should be expected.

[88] Transformational Change: The last form of change is transformational and does not occur frequently. Transformational change represents a fundamental shift from current paradigms or questions underlying assumptions and mindsets. It requires a shift in assumptions made by the organization’s leadership and personnel. Transformation can result in an organization that differs significantly in terms of structure, processes, culture and strategy. New or different markets, products, and services are potentially combined with a different mission, vision, values, and probably leadership to produce the transformational event.  Strong strategic and operational leadership and change management is needed to plan, implement, and guide the organization, personnel, and corporate culture through this level of strategy implementation and change. It may result in the creation of an organization that operates in developmental mode – one that continuously learns, adapts and improves.

[89] Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson, Beyond Change Management: Advanced Strategies for Today’s Transformational Leaders, 2001; Michael Cruse, Three Types of Organizational Change, CruseIT.com, March 17, 2016; Michael Cruse, How Are Types of Organizational Change Different, CruseIT.com, March 22, 2016; Ann Gilley, Jerry Gilley, and Heather Mcmillan, Organizational Change and Characteristics of Leadership Effectiveness, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2009; Valerie Iles and Kim Sutherland, Managing Change in the NHS: Organizational Change, National Coordinating Centre for the Service Delivery and Organisation (NCCSDO) research programme, 2001; Types of Change, Business Queensland (business.qld.gov.au); Neal Goodman, The Business Transformation Revolution, Trainingmag.com, Jan.-Feb. 2016. Also see, Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018; Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[90] David Snowden and Mary Boone, A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making, Harvard Business Review, November 2007.

[91] Amy Edmondson, Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April 2011; David Snowden and Mary Boone, A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making, Harvard Business Review, November 2007; Eric Sigurdson, Strategic Management and Leadership – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Healthcare: “what got you here won’t get you there”, Sigurdson Post, July 30, 2018; Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018 . See generally, Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, John Wiley & Sons, 2019; Amy Edmondson, How fearless organizations succeed, Strategy + Business, November 14, 2018; William Robert Casely, An Analysis of Intelligent Failure within Corporate Entrepreneurship, Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies, University of Exeter, August 17, 2016; A.G. Lafley and Ram Charon, The Game-Changer: How you can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation, Crown Business, 2008; Jeffrey Williams, Renewable Advantage: Crafting Strategy Through Economic Time, Free Press, 1998; Erwin Danneels, Organizational antecedents of second-order competences, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 29, Issue 5, 2008; Bernd Kriegesmann, Thomas Kley, and Markus Schwering, Creative errors and heroic failures: capturing their innovative potential, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2005; Sim B. Sitkin, Learning Through Failure: The Strategy of Small Loses, Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 14, 1992; Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian MacMillan, The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Strategies for Continuously Creating Opportunity in an Age of Uncertainty, Harvard Business Review Press, 2000.

[92] David Snowden and Mary Boone, A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making, Harvard Business Review, November 2007.

[93] Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002.

[94] Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002.

[95] Ashley Good, 5 ways the best leaders learn from failure, World Economic Forum, April 29, 2015.

[96] Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, The Failure-Tolerant Leader, Harvard Business Review, August 2002.

[97] Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville, The 6 Fundamental Skills Every Leader Should Practice, Harvard Business Review, October 24, 2018.

[98] Major Timothy Trimailo, Epic Fail: Why Leaders Must Fail to Ultimately Succeed, Military Review, Vol. 97, Issue 6, November-December 2017.

[99] Gerard Seijts and Thomas Watson, Enough. It’s Time to Hire (and Develop) Better Judgement, Ivey Business Journal, March-April 2021.

[100] Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[101] Sabina Nawaz, How Anxiety Traps Us, and How We Can Break Free, Harvard Business Review, January 2, 2020.

[102] Amy Edmondson, Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April 2011.

[103] Deb Calvert, Why Failing Should Be One of Your Leadership Development Goals, People First Productivity Solutions, March 13, 2017.

[104] Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.

[105] Eric Sigurdson, An Integrated Approach to Strategy Implementation and Change Management – From the Legal Industry to Financial Services to Health Care: ‘a fundamental leadership and management skillset’, Sigurdson Post, August 31, 2018.