Final Excerpt in the Leadership for the 21st Century: Part IV

21 Dec, 2012

In part III of the leadership series we discussed how leadership development in the 21st century is global, requiring cross cultural skills. Let’s look at how to commit to transformation in leadership development, and making these steps work for your organization.

In This Article

The following excerpt is the final article in series of four online articles from chapter three of Foresight 2025, a new ebook by Charlie Grantham, Norma Owen and Terry Musch. Click to view part I, II and III.

The authors have combined their expertise in technology, workforce change and next generation professional development to produce a guide to the future. They call themselves the FutureWork>ing<TOGETHER team.

The series focuses on the competencies leaders will need. Whether you are looking to expand, relocate a business, or trying to invigorate your workforce for global challenges, here is where you begin.

An Eastern Perspective on Leadership

Before we wrap up with some ideas of how you will know when you arrived, we want to return to central theme of this book: globalization of leadership. As we mentioned earlier, there are some cultural universals to leadership competencies. But, let us be more specific here.

One of the most well-known Eastern philosophies on leadership has been “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.  We humbly suggest that just as we can apply Eastern thought into the Western world, we can do the reverse.1 For example, when you closely examine the content of Leadership Development 2.0 learning units they correlate with the ancient Chinese concepts of Yin and Yang.



Female, passive, dark Male, aggressive, light
  • Design process
  • Drivers of change
  • Balance, flow and circularity
  • Personal identity
  • Presence of self
  • Transformation
  • Future thinking
  • New patterns of action
  • Asking questions
  • Systems thinking
  • Living out leadership
  • Spirituality and change

Brevity prohibits in-depth discussion of the cross-cultural applicability of the leadership development program proposed here. Suffice to say, the structure and content was developed with equal recognition of the validity of a broad array of cultural philosophies.

How do you know you have made the transformation? There is no examination, no test you can take. People report that when they are presented with a new problem or situation, they find themselves behaving in non-habitual ways.

How do you make it work?

  • Commit to a process of transformation and seek out external resources to guide you through the process. We recommend you spend one day each week learning and practicing new ways of working. Start with building a new support network.
  • Engage in a self-assessment process. Focus on finding out what you do best. What are your strengths? You can’t plan your journey unless you know where you are starting. The first step is an honest evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Begin building a business case. If you were 20 percent more productive, if your team was 40 percent more productive; what would be the financial impact on your business? You can’t sell your boss an investment of money and your time unless you can show what results will occur.

How will you know when you get there?

How do you know you have made the transformation? There is no examination, no test you can take. People report that when they are presented with a new problem or situation, they find themselves behaving in non-habitual ways.

New ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world are more sensed, than seen. It is helpful to have a small group of advisors who have some history with you. They will be the ones to tell you, you are doing things differently.

One very specific technique, which is effective, is personal journaling. Keep a journal on a weekly basis (daily is better if you have the time). Note self-reflections of your actions, thoughts and attitudes. Reflecting back on this journal will help you spot trends and changes. Underlying one of the critical new leadership skills, transformation, is an ability to do self-reflection and self-observation. Develop the ability to self-monitor; you no longer need external validation of your leadership behavior. You will know when you are there. Look inside grasshopper.

The other technique we recommend is to examine in detail every few months where you are putting your energy. We tend to equate “busyness” with progress and accomplishment. If we are putting our energy into things that don’t help us realize our true purpose, then it is largely wasted. We have a matrix tool in the resources section for this chapter that will assist you in making those periodic checkups.

End Note

1Grantham, C. (2011), “Tai Chi Chin and Leadership”, Vital Force Journal, Vol. 28 (2), May.

To learn more, visit ForeSight 2025.

Illustration by master isolate images at Free Digital Photos. net


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