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In a global YPO survey, 2,572 chief executives participated in giving their views and insights on how they plan to navigate in a post-COVID-19 world. When asked what is the most significant issue they will face in managing employees 34.3% said engagement, 20.6% productivity and 14.6% collaboration. When asked what trait they believe will be most important for the CEO of the future, adaptability was rated highest at 38.5%, followed by resilience (18.1%), the ability to make good decisions (11.2%) and innovation skills (10.6%).

It is clear how our world has changed to demand nimbleness and open-mindedness versus dogmatic conservative thinking. At a personal level, the need for being in control conspires with ego-centrism (the inability to accurately assume or understand any perspective other than one’s own) to make a person rigid and unwilling to adapt. Many people, leaders and managers in bureaucratic cultures typically more so, have this problem.

The truth is, we do not have only to mitigate change nowadays, but also to create it as the pressure to succeed mounts. Furthermore, as articulated so well in the named survey report, change increases the necessity, volume and structure of knowledge, and the obtained knowledge generate new changes, because the two phenomena are under constant interconnectivity. Change emphasizes innovation, but, at the same time, emphasizes uncertainty and risk. Revival, compressing the uncertainty, managing risk can only be done through the accumulation of knowledge.

Dr Gerhard van Rensburg

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