NEW NORMAL: What It Means for Leadership Practices

While the timeless fundamentals of leadership are more important than ever, some step-change improvements in leadership practices are essential to thrive in the New Normal.

What the New Normal Means for Leadership

A Perfect Storm

In October 1991, there was a ‘perfect storm’ in the north Atlantic. A buoy off the coast of Nova Scotia reported a wave height of over 100 feet, the highest ever recorded in the province’s offshore waters. In the middle of the storm, a fishing boat, the Andrea Gail, sank, killing her crew of six. This tragedy inspired the book, The Perfect Storm, which later became a movie.

What caused this biological disaster? There was a collision of warm air from a low-pressure system and cool, dry air generated by a high-pressure system, compounded by tropical moisture delivered by a hurricane.

What the New Normal Means for Leadership

 A World of VUCA 

Today, a different kind of ‘perfect storm’ has arrived: a world of VUCA.

Volatility: Because change happens simultaneously in different sectors, in different forms, and at different rates, conditions are far from stable. They are fluid and fluctuate to extremes.

Uncertainty: Analyzing past data and current trends to forecast future events is problematic. It’s unwise to rely on any one individual’s forecasting abilities, no matter their credentials.

Complexity: Our current reality has many varied parts, patterns, and elements. The complexity is compounding for many reasons, such as accelerating social change, the technology tsunami, and political paralysis.

Ambiguity: Situations are often open to more than one interpretation. Discernment is difficult when facts are fuzzy. Because everything is more interconnected than ever before, there is often cause-and-effect confusion.

Like the ‘perfect storm’ of 1991, the New Normal is driven by a colossal collision of forces.

Economic Shocks — Unexpected financial events that dramatically impact markets can have rapid ripple effects and aftershocks worldwide.

Global Competition — It’s no longer predictable in time, place, or specifics. It’s growing geometrically and decreasing the lifespan of businesses.

Advancing Technology — It’s turbocharging communications, blurring geographic boundaries, and enabling instantaneous mobility of capital.

Disruptive Innovations — They can appear seemingly overnight and endanger a long-successful business or make an entire industry obsolete.

Political Paralysis — Politics have polarized and there are no winners. All sides reach for rhetorical extremes and nothing seems to gets done.

Cyber Threats — Cybercriminals are increasingly aggressive in their stealth strategies. In 2016, ransomware attacks increased by well over 100X.

Climate Change — Extreme weather is one of the many implications of climate change. One major magazine summed up the extreme weather escalation with an article entitled, “Weather Panic – This is the New Normal and We Are Hopelessly Unprepared.”

Terrorism — Violent extremism is on the rise with many channels for propaganda dissemination that exacerbate the psychological impact of any terrorist event.

Information Shelf Life — Information is now like a quickly perishable food. Use it or lose it because its shelf life is extremely short.

Trust, Loyalty, Confidence — These three social emotions are on an ever-deeper downward trajectory with many implications, none good.

Evolving Business Models — While challenging, the New Normal has wide open windows of opportunity for new ways to deliver greater value at lower cost.

New Normal: Unprecedented Leadership Challenges

The New Normal has spawned unprecedented leadership challenges. Consider these statistics regarding strategy, execution, speed, and engagement:

  • Strategy – 67% of leaders say capabilities don’t fully support their strategy; 52% are not confident in their company’s strategy.
  • Execution – Over 80% of organizations fail to execute their strategies effectively; CEOs from 40 countries rate “Execution” as their #1 concern.
  • Speed – 90% of senior leaders agree that speed is critical to success, but only 40% say that they are moving fast enough. 50% lower operating profit is the result when organizations are outpaced by their competitors.
  • Only 33% of employees are engaged in their job and 51% are looking for a new job.

are_you_ready_to_the New Normal -

While the timeless fundamentals of leadership are more important than ever, some step-change improvements in leadership practices are now essential.

By working closely with many exceptional leaders, we’ve learned what those leadership practices should be. We’ve condensed the critical core into The GEO Cardinal Rules ─ nine proven practices for smarter solutions and superior results. Click here for an overview.

These leadership practices are an integral part of a powerful, comprehensive system that will help you thrive in the New Normal.  The GEO System™ is a seamless set of principles, processes, and virtual tools that have been successfully applied by hundreds of leaders. Click here for an overview.

If you’d like to learn more from us directly, Let’s Connect.


Subscribe to our roundup of new realities

GEO New Normal News

 Like us on Facebook  — See our Google+ Collections — Follow us on Twitter

© 2001-2018 Leland Russell | All Rights Reserved

Return to GEO Leadership Blog


About Leland Russell

Leland Russell accelerates strategic action with GEO Leadership™ principles, processes, and virtual tools. He is the creator of The GEO Paradigm™ and co-author of Winning In FastTime®. GEO Group Strategic Services, the firm he founded, has a stellar performance track record with Fortune 500 organizations, mid-size firms, and non-profits. Leland writes regularly about how leaders can thrive in the New Normal on his website —

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *