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What shape is your boss?

“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”.


Charles Darwin (it’s disputed, but nevermind…)


Effective, meaningful change only moves in one direction. Forward. That’s the only thing about change that doesn’t really change.


Right now, we’re transforming into a digital world. That’s a change, but it’s not the only change – the impact is massive, but it’s manageable. We can learn to live in a digital world. We can adapt and become more responsive - I’ve seen a 90 year old with a smartphone, it can be done! What we’re struggling with though is the pace of change. We’re still all moving forward, but not all at the same speed. And what’s worse is that some unseen hand has turned the speed up on our treadmill to 11.


In the olden days, the business world moved more slowly. It didn’t feel like it at the time (or so I’m told by my MUCH older peers), but it was. You couldn’t crash your share price with an errant tweet, or publish a blog with such polarising sentiment that you were publically sacked within minutes. That kind of thing took days or weeks. Or it just didn’t happen at all, because before the advent of our digital transformation, our lives and those of our companies and organisations weren’t quite so public.


So how do we deal with this increased, frantic, frenetic pace of change? Do we keep doing what we’re doing and hope that somehow we can run faster, for longer? Einstein didn’t tweet (he might not even have said this), but if he did…


"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."


This is where the shape of your boss (and of you) comes into it. Back in the olden days, we worshiped at the altar of the T-Shaped leader. They were tall! And broad! (That might be me reaching, but…) T-Shaped leaders were domain experts, with deep managed silos of knowledge. Experts in their own field, because that’s all they needed to know. They weren’t chasing the next big thing in tech start-ups, or beholden to activist shareholders – they didn’t need to be able to switch markets, products, industries or roles at all. But now we do, and not only do we need to be able to seamlessly switch between these roles, domains and silos, we need to lead our teams and organisations and bring them with us. A T-Shaped leader just isn’t going to cut it anymore.


At Blackswan, we’ve conducted research into the realm of digital leadership. A lot of research. And we’ve found three main areas that we need to improve on so that we can keep up with the current rate of change and be ready when it inevitably speeds up again. They are:


  • How we act

  • How we think

  • How we react


Simple! Or not. We’re aware that those three points cover a whole lot of ground. So that’s why we looked to leadership models – a new basis for organisational change and transformation, that will give us the (metaphorical) legs we need to keep running forward as fast as we can. This is where #HashtagLeadership© comes in. Blackswan understands that there is somewhere in between managed, siloed knowledge and ‘jack of all trades - master of none’. That’s the space for #hashtagLeaders – those of us who can fulfil, excel and lead across a broad range of networks in this new digital world. It’s not a bad shape to be in, and Blackswan can get you there.


Find out more about Blackswan here 

If you would like to talk to us about how #HashtagLeadership© could help you contact us here 











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