Dorie Clark said in her article on Forbes yesterday that the usual characteristics needed for a leader, such as integrity, leadership, vision (according to her reading about Annmarie Neal’s released book, ‘The Forthcoming Leading from the Edge’ - ASTD Press, 2013), are not enough to face the challenging environment of corporate world, so the new leaders need two essential qualities – one is ‘a record of failure’, so they will have the experience of hit rock bottom and get up on their feet when facing big challenges, what we can assume, constitutes the resilience as the power to absorb emotionally and intellectually the frustration of mistake and lost, and start again (specially learning from their mistakes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorieclark/2013/01/03/why-failure-is-good-for-leaders/
The other quality is ‘a liberal arts perspective’, an interdisciplinary point of view (beyond the STEM skills – i.e., science, technology, engineering, and math, valorized as ‘the essential skills’ by business world), the perspective derived from humanistic disciplines, usually seemed as “vague” or “ethereal” to build a solid leadership which needs to the centered to make difficult decisions everyday, is now being discovered and valorized in business world, specially by innovation markets. According to Clark: “Leadership today is not about industry depth only,” she says. “It’s about making connections across disciplines.” The ability to innovate – like Steve Jobs, who famously toured India and studied calligraphy – “requires the ability to see the world. You need to be a sociologist, a cultural anthropologist, a political scientist, an economist. It’s back to the liberal arts.”
As an anthropologist and working with innovation for many kinds of business, I’ve been noticing that what makes a difference that can enhance the market share for my clients, is ‘to see what others cannot see’, I mean, the leaders, CEO’s, and professionals that among these clients have delivered best results for their companies, are the ones who can have a broader view of their market, beyond the ‘market vision itself’ of their company situation, and of their own area, or field of work, and looked deep down the surface everyone else (and specially the concurrence) are looking at. And what makes this possible are the skills they have (or hire from suppliers, as they hire my company) to see what we call ‘reality’ as a different scenario where shadow zones are enlightened, opportunities are discovered and solutions arise as hidden possibilities not seeing before.
Disciplines as anthropology, ‘deconstruct’ myths, patterns and common sense vision of what we call reality in order to understand what lies deep down the surface and expose the real reasons, values, and cultural drivers that creates this ‘reality’ (the consumer behavior, the criteria of choice, the use of products, the relationship with the brand), so deep answers and reasons are bring to surface, reasons not perceived before which leads to a plethora of new possibilities and orientations for business decisions and strategies development – that, the real path of innovation. Recognizing the drivers that generates emotional influence and determine actions and reactions, these leaders are more able, also, to inspire, motivate and solve conflicts among their work teams.
These leaders develop, in appropriation of the mentioned disciplines and their use on business and industries, the real skills to develop what is expected of a successful leader – the possibility of create real differentiation as the essence of strategy – and they have been well succeed with that.
Valeria Brandini, PhD.
Business Anthropologist , Writer, Lecturer and Co-founder of
Nucleo Xamã (Consumer Science Applied to Business)