After 30 years, Chuck Mollor has seen and experienced it all. As CEO and Founder of MCG Partners and a veteran executive coach and consultant, he’s led businesses in every stage — from start-ups and high growth to turn-arounds — through business cycles including mergers and acquisitions. He has worked with organizations of every size and industry vertical through the ups and downs of growing and shrinking economies, evolving technologies, and changing demographics, to name a few.

In his new book, The Rise of the Agile Leader: Can You Make the Shift?, Chuck looks forward by looking back. The market may be unpredictable, but it always has been, and now more than ever. In other words, leaders can’t hold on and hope for the best. Those who can adapt to whatever comes their way will be the most successful. The key is agility, and it’s more important than it’s ever been.

The Future of Leadership is Here

Today’s business leaders face an environment with a healthy dose of unprecedented challenges. The proof is in the statistics: Compared to 18 years ago, 52% of Fortune 500 companies no longer exist, and it’s anticipated that half of the current Fortune 500 organizations won’t be around in 10 years. About 75% of all venture capital-funded startups don’t survive, 33% of small businesses fail in their first year, and only about 30% of family-owned businesses make it into the second generation. If that isn’t concerning enough, in recent years the CEO turnover rate has reached a record high.

Demographics have also drastically shifted. In 2019, Millennials made up just under half of the workforce, but with Gen Z starting to join them, that number is expected to reach 75% by 2025. More than 20% of Millennials have changed jobs in the past year and less than half anticipate they’ll still work for their current employer a year from now. It’s clear to see that the concept of staying at one company for an entire career is all but obsolete.

As leaders adapt to their employees’ evolving perspectives, they can’t lose sight of how customers are also changing. Consumer expectations have never been higher.

Reserving communication for traditional “business hours” is a thing of the past; they now demand 24/7 personalized service. Organizations are expected to know what their customers want and to deliver it as quickly as possible. We’re living in a culture now that’s all about immediate satisfaction and gratification, where trends and interests change in a nanosecond.

Thanks to social media, the line between consumers and organizations has never been more direct. Uncensored opinions and views are right at our fingertips and influence how people think and view leaders, organizations, and products and services. Businesses and their leaders are more visible and public than ever. Tools like Glassdoor allow

anyone to publicly evaluate a company and its leadership. Not only could this affect sales — positively or negatively — but it could also impact a company’s talent pipeline.

“If you’re wondering what the future of leadership is and when it will arrive, you missed it. As Chuck mentions up front, ‘the future is here,’” says Kayem President and CEO, Matt Monkiewicz. “The paradigm has already shifted and the workplace is filled with people and teams with different expectations, lifestyles, values, and commitment levels. The Rise of the Agile Leader prepares you to lead with consciousness, vulnerability, and a deeper understanding of yourself and your teams.”

What are the implications? Organizations, teams, and employees need to be nimbler than ever, which means leaders need to be agile in creating agile teams and organizations. Agile leadership is the key to adapting to our unpredictable environment and succeeding in the workplace of today and tomorrow.

Defining an Agile Leader

With all these changes in the marketplace and limitless information at our fingertips — and those of our customers and future employees — one thing is clear: Adaptability determines your success as a leader. The markets of today and tomorrow reward organizations that have the capacity and willingness to adapt. Established cultures and management styles that encourage creativity and rapid innovation are hallmarks of market leaders. These approaches have become known as agile, and they enable leaders to pivot faster in response to our volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world.

Why are agile leaders the most successful? They don’t follow a one size fits all approach. They’ve embraced a shift away from traditional leadership mindsets, starting with themselves, because in order to develop and drive agile teams, organizations, cultures, and results, leaders themselves must first be agile.

Agile leaders:

  1. Understand the impact of their behaviors and reactions
  2. Know how to modify their style without compromising authenticity
  3. Constantly shift to adapt to the current environment

In The Rise of the Agile Leader: Can You Make the Shift?, Mollor lays out the framework for Agile Leaders, starting with five key drivers that influence everything they do:

  1. Integrity — A combination of self-awareness and accountability, integrity makes leaders reliable and trustworthy, which naturally inspires those around them.
  2. Innovation — A natural curiosity and willingness to challenge the status quo cultivate new, innovative ideas and a culture welcomes and acts on outside-the- box thinking.
  3. Urgency — Acting decisively and delegating responsibilities empowers teams and keeps business moving forward to achieving goals.
  • Engagement — Inclusivity and encouraging cross-functional collaboration generates optimal performance and develops leaders at every level.
  • Direction — Removing roadblocks and communicating transparently allow teams to be on the same page and able to rapidly adapt to change.

Behind these five drivers are 10 critical competencies that successful Agile Leaders dedicate time to developing and constantly improving:

  1. Self-Awareness — Understanding their strengths, styles, spirit and character.
  2. Accountability — Committing to doing the right things for the right reasons.
  3. Inclusivity — Embracing diverse and unique perspectives.
  4. Collaboration — Working broadly to support productive interactions in and across teams.
  5. Communicative — Establishing shared understanding through clear and transparent two-way communication.
  6. Empowering — Creating an environment where employees can take charge of their work, self-organize, and adapt to changing demands.
  7. Focused — Demonstrating stamina and energy in pursuit of results.
  8. Decisiveness — Utilizing multiple sources to make decisions efficiently.
  9. Curiosity — Thinking differently to improve client/customer experience or operations.
  10. Experimental — Pushing limits to succeed in a volatile, uncertain, complicated, and unpredictable world.

It’s easy to see how each of these competencies has a direct tie back to Agile Leaders’ key drivers. But how do you know where you stand? Where do you even begin to improve? The answers may be closer than you think.

Using Data to Pinpoint Opportunities

One pitfall leaders and leadership teams often face is the tendency to operate on autopilot — thinking they understand one another and filling in any gaps on their own. But unless those assumptions are backed by evidence, how reliable are they?

In The Rise of the Agile Leader: Can You Make the Shift?, Mollor reveals two primary time-tested resources that can open leaders’ eyes to their strengths and areas of opportunities:

  1. The PI Behavioral Assessment — A scientifically-validated predictor of workforce behavior, which helps to measure an individual’s natural drives and motivators in just six minutes.
  2. The Agile Leader 360 Assessment — A web-based, customized 360 review that utilizes multi-dimensional feedback to provide a clearer, more accurate picture of performance and development needs, and/or leadership effectiveness.

Agile Leaders approach these assessments with an open mindedness that allows them to proactively and intentionally make the necessary changes to unlock their potential and

take their people and business to the next level. The insights empower leaders to execute the pillars of the Agile Leadership Framework:

  1. Care about your people
  2. Demonstrate empathy
  3. Be approachable
  4. Create a safe work environment
  5. Develop others
  6. Walk the talk
  7. Learn and adapt

Additionally, harnessing a better understanding of yourself and your leadership team allows you to communicate effectively, utilize each person’s unique strengths, mitigate risk, adopt a growth mindset, and create alignment that keeps you in lockstep toward achieving your goals.

This approach has propelled business leaders to new levels of effectiveness, but is equally important for tomorrow’s leaders to leverage.

“I wish I’d had this book when I started my career because of the sheer number of “aha” moments it provides. But as a CEO, I find it equally valuable in helping me navigate the ever-changing marketplace and thoroughly understanding my people’s needs, as well as my own,” says Farm Credit East CEO Michael J. Reynolds. “Chuck’s models, tools, and methodologies leave no stone unturned when it comes to how to build your own self- awareness and use it as your superpower to maximize your organization’s potential. A great read for leaders of today and tomorrow.”

Are you ready to take the next step toward optimizing your leadership effectiveness and leading your organization confidently through whatever the market of tomorrow throws your way? Find out more in Chuck’s bestselling book The Rise of the Agile Leader: Can You Make the Shift?, now available on Amazon.

Chuck Mollor [email protected] Phone: 617.650.9700

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