Sunday, August 22, 2010

Clarity Agents and Chaos Double Agents...You Need Them...


A good friend shared with me the perspective of someone he knew as we spoke about leadership. The quote went something like this...

"Leaders create clarity from chaos and create chaos when there is clarity."

That is a profound statement and really sets the tone for what great transformational leaders are and should be about in their organization. Our organizations are going through massive swings in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity...the VUCA world I have discussed in prior blogs. A great transformational leader is able to embrace what is happening in a VUCA world and turn it from challenge to opportunity for them and their team and organization. To do that requuires someone that can see through the fog and move the team in the right direction to achieve results that are impactful. These leaders take the chaos of the VUCA world and add clarity to it...become a Clarity Agent...This allows understanding within your team and sets the tone for accomplishing those things that are most important to business or mission impact.

In 2006-2010, as we merged the Defense Intelligence Agency's learning capabilities with those of 12 global Combatant Commands, my team and I were in VUCA trying to create clarity from chaos in some respects. All felt they were unique and requiring tailored support, training, and opportunities. But by setting a strategic vision to align learning, communicating that vision and executing a cross-organizational plan, we were able to make the transition smoothly in a global environment.

The more interesting side of the equation is creating chaos when there is clarity. So why would you want to do that? Why have a Chaos Double Agent?

The enemy of improvement in performance and enabling the ability to innovate is being comfortable and allowing the status quo to maintain. In the future, successful organizations will be defined by leaders that are disruptive and creative. These leaders will have a sixth sense about the why and when of change. In a VUCA world, leaders with this vision and skill will define their organizations success. The ability to create chaos from the inside-out or outside-in depending on the contextual environment will be a key skill.

Bottomline...You need this kind of leader on your team and in your organization. You need to grab them and cherish them and covet what they can bring. The current environment that we are all operating in is likely to continue...Having Clarity Agents and Chaos Double Agents is the key to success.


Twitter: JKeithDunbar
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