Business Transformation Requires Transformational Leaders

Leadership and teaming skills are front and center in times of rapid change. Meet today’s constant disruption head on with expert guidance in leadership, business strategy, transformation, and innovation. Whether the disruption du jour is a digitally-driven upending of traditional business models, the pandemic-driven end to business as usual, or the change-driven challenge of staffing that meets your transformation plans—you’ll be prepared with cutting edge techniques and expert knowledge that enable strategic leadership.

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Kimberley Young Milani explores the intersection of leadership, business, purpose, and sustainability in the contemporary world. She emphasizes the need for leaders to embody both competence and character. The article also looks at the intersection of character and organizational purpose, warning that without character, an organization’s purpose might become a hollow slogan or facade.
Kanina Blanchard draws on the findings from a graduate education course that takes a curated approach to self-exploration. She emphasizes the need for leaders to move beyond traditional metrics and recognize their accountability to communities and the broader world. Blanchard reframes responsible decision-making as a journey, highlighting reflection, emotional exploration, and learning from experiences. The article stresses the importance of individual transformation and tangible choices, encouraging continuous learning, humility, and resilience in the pursuit of responsible decision-making.
Karen E. Linkletter explores contemporary and historical perspectives on assessing and developing leadership character. She delves into the question of whether or not character can be learned by examining the viewpoints of philosophers and management gurus. She also explores the liberal arts ideal, which emphasizes education and self-development, contrasting it with modern frameworks such as the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) and the Ivey Leader Character Framework (ILCF). Linkletter highlights the shift in focus from virtues like integrity and prudence to decision-making capabilities in contemporary character models.
Barbara A. Carlin connects character and ethics by delving into sneaky problems commonly faced by managers. She uses two cases to illustrate the often-obscured moral dimensions of business choices and explains how nonmonetary transactions, framing effects, and ill-conceived goals can contribute to ethical lapses. Carlin proposes remedies such as awareness, collaboration, and fostering an ethical organizational culture. She notes that virtues like humility, collaboration, integrity, and courage can help managers recognize and address the ethical nuances of strategic decisions, ultimately fostering a culture of ethical decision-making within organizations.
Muhammed Shaahid Cassim and Fatima Hamdulay explore the concept of heartfelt leadership through the lens of the Islamic Sufi tradition, focusing on tasawwuf, the science of character excellence. Grounded in the belief that the heart is the seat of emotion, spirit, and morality, the authors delve into the Sufi perspective on good character and its role in leadership. They emphasize three considerations (intentionality, entrustment, and sincerity) that govern the heart and its decision-making.
The authors cover the strategic impact of character development in the public and private sectors. They advocate a shift from mere awareness to integrating character development into organizational practices, with an emphasis on the interconnected nature of character dimensions. Introducing the Virtuosity mobile app as a practical tool for character development, the authors propose a strategic embedding process model for sustained change. They highlight the crucial relationship between individual and organizational systems and emphasize the need for alignment. The article concludes with a call to action, asserting that the tools and understanding necessary for achieving lasting impact are readily available.
There are three main themes in this issue. The first is the importance of embedding character dimensions within leadership processes and frameworks, whether through paradigm shifts, Sufi traditions, ethical decision-making, historical perspectives, or education. The second theme is the interconnectedness of individual and organizational systems. The third theme is recognizing that leadership responsibility extends beyond traditional performance metrics. Leaders need to recognize their accountability to communities, the broader world, and long-term societal and environmental considerations.
As we move into an era of “hyper-enterprise connectivity,” most businesses will need to manage an ecosystem — a complex web of interdependent relationships aimed at creating and allocating business value. In this Advisor, Myles Suer offers his thoughts on a new book that can help enterprise architects and digital business strategists tackle these complex ecosystems with AI to build enterprises of the future.