The 21st Century Leadership Challenge

Fundamental Question What are the paradoxes, whip lashing contradictions and dizzying changes of which our world is made, and how might an appreciative perspective assist in responding to the challenges of this postmodern condition? Many 21st Century societies today are faced with three challenging conditions. Fragmented and Paradoxical Images First, they are guided by a fragmented and often paradoxical image of their present condition and their future condition. Their present condition includes both a strong trend toward globalization and an equally strong trend toward localization. We live in a world that challenges us to be aware of and interact...
Fundamental Question How do we lead, consult and coach with in widely differing settings in which organizational culture varies and organizational structures and processes vary so widely? In my previous essays on this blog I described the fundamental nature of societies that might best be assigned the labels “premodern”, “modern” and “postmodern”. In this essay I briefly, but systematically, review many of the elements of three types of organizations and suggest several perspectives and strategies by which the leaders of contemporary organizations can survive in and even help to co-create our emerging postmodern world. Eight dimensions are commonly used...
Fundamental Question How do we lead, consult and coach within highly challenging settings that require the use of new strategies as well as the return to the old strategies and images of both premodern and modern societies? In a previous entry on this blog I summarized the essential differences between organizations that exist and operate within premodern, modern and postmodern societies. In this essay, I focus specifically on some of the most salient characteristics of 21st Century organizations that face the complexity, unpredictability and turbulence of a postmodern world. On The Edge The postmodernists tell us that boundaries and...
We propose that the transition from the premodern to the modern society has produced a comparable transition in the form that organizations take and the roles being played by people who work within these organizations. Furthermore, there are comparable changes in organizational forms and roles that are taking place with the transition from a modern to postmodern society. In many cases, technology is the common element in bringing about the transition from premodern to modern and from modern to postmodern in both social structures and organizational forms and roles. New machine-based technologies created the industrial era, which transformed the...
Fundamental Question: How do we lead, consult and coach in such widely differing social systems that now exist in our 21 Century world? We now live in a world that supports three different types of social structure. One of these social structures has been present for many centuries. A vast majority of the people now living reside in this type of social structure. This structure goes by many names: “traditional,” “primitive,” “developing,” “third world,” “agrarian” and “neo-feudal.” I have chosen to use the term premodern in identifying this social structure, in large part because the other terms tend to be...