Simple ingredients for strong leadership and smart decisions in the complex world of Big Data, globalization, and virtual social networks.

Our world always has and always will be complex. With rapidly advancing technology—globalization, Big Data, virtual social networks—we are merely becoming painfully aware of that complexity.

If only we could better predict events; solve the complex problems of the complex world. Uncertainty and probability in a shifting environment makes prediction nearly impossible. But strong leadership that is nimble and adapted to a new view of the world could help take advantage of the unexpected. Here’s what leadership needs to succeed today and certainly in the future:

Ingredients for Leadership

Number 1Big Data. Technology creates an ever faster-paced environment, putting information at the fingertips of everyone in real time. Big Data is suddenly available in a depth and richness unprecedented in history. It can and should be used to do good.


Number 2Context. Much more important than content is context. Getting vast amounts of data analyzed and made sense of is essential for smart decisions and true insights.

Number 3No more traditional hierarchies. Vertical organization is substituted with small, flat, self-organizing teams. Different leaders with different skills, for instance, emerge as required for the specific tasks at hand.

Number 4Connector. A leader has to deal with many different cultures simultaneously, requiring sensitivity to different backgrounds and the ability to create bridges between them. Leaders must also surround themselves with people capable of challenging the status quo, representing varied and sometimes controversial points of view.

Number 5Coach. The new leader is a coach and mentor; a conductor orchestrating a team of highly capable individuals and generating a symphony rather than a cacophony.

number 6Diversity. Leaders recognize that diverse teams from different cultures rule—and don’t forget gender balance. Tamara Schenk, an experienced and well-known leader herself, says, “Both genders provide different gifts, different talents, different approaches… In my opinion, a true leader is a master in orchestrating all the different talents both genders provide (and also different cultures etc.), to achieve better results.”

The complexity we experience in today’s world is only going to increase, whether we like it or not. Why not embrace it and build the future together? For that we need a new kind of leadership based upon mutual trust, integrity, and empathy in organizations and society at large.