It is estimated that US$50bn a year is spent by the World’s organization’s on leadership development. Yet, being able to accurately assess the ROI on this investment remains a challenge and we now have a new skill-set which needs to be address 'thinking skills and soft skills' as identified by the World Economic Forum 2025.
So, it’s time for organizations to rethink how and where they invest their coaching and L&D budgets and look to find more objective and measurable programs that can quantifiable and accurately report the ROI on their investment and in turn deliver these new skills.
We all know that traditional training - subject matter expertise (knowledge transfer) is a fundamental investment all organizations must undertake. Yet, as today’s leaders progress through the organization / leadership ranks, the new skills required need to be addressed in order to deal with information and attention overload, digital disruption / AI transformations, Covid- 19 challenges and rapidly changing circumstances beyond a leader’s and organizations control.
So, what is the new paradigm that will develop a leader’s capabilities regarding Adaptability, Agility and being able to pivot quickly? This new paradigm of learning is to develop a leader’s cognitive capacity their Subconscious Thinking Habits and learning agility called Fluid Thinking. ‘Fluid Thinking’ is the information processing ability which is a ‘raw intelligence’ that is NOT the result of learned knowledge and skills. Fluid Thinking is what you use when you don't know what to do and is used to solve new/novel problems in ‘uncharted waters’ and rapidly and continuously changing business environments.
Current Performance: The benchmark currently used for the identification and development of leaders is primarily based on their ‘Routine Expertise or Book Smarts’. This is underpinned by their ‘Crystallized Knowledge’ which is defined as the breadth and depth of a person’s acquired knowledge over a lifetime. (CHC Theory)
Future Performance and Potential: Fluid Thinking is the Information Processing ability which is a ‘raw intelligence’. It is used to solve new/novel problems and is not the result of learned knowledge and skills. It is based on ‘Subconscious Thinking Habits or Street Smarts’ which is underpinned by ‘Fluid Thinking’. (CHC Theory)
So, relying on past experience and ‘business as usual’ solutions to stay ahead of the pack is no longer an option. Also, Fluid Thinking declines in your mid-twenties unless you proactively develop it and the half-life of knowledge is rapidly decreasing. Therefore, as the speed of change quickens, a lot of what you have learnt is becoming redundant in a short space of time. Hence Learning Adaptability and Learning Agility have become critically
important to a leader’s success and being able to stay ahead of their competitors.
“The world is reshaping itself faster than we can reshape ourselves”. From the World Economic Forum, Davos 2017.
Today’s leaders need to rethink how they re-skill themselves and their organizations and enhance their Fluid Thinking (Adaptability, Agility and Flexibility) capabilities as this is fundamental to significantly moving the dial on performance within their organizations and it is now urgent.