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The Leadership Lab

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The Leadership Lab

Understanding Leadership in the 21st Century (Kogan Page Inspire Series)

Kogan Page,

15 min read
9 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Leaders use long-term thinking, situational fluency and qualitative measures to turn change into progress.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Visionary
  • Concrete Examples


Chris Lewis and Pippa Malmgren present the results of a series of 2017 and 2018 LEWIS Advisory Board forums that they conducted with leaders worldwide to discuss a “sharper, more accurate image of reality” as these executives encounter it. Drawing from the ideas of leaders from the public and private sectors, the military, religious institutions and business schools, among other organizations, the forums concluded that success depends on long-term thinking, situational fluency and a focus on qualitative – not only quantitative – measurements. With precision and clarity, the authors diagram the challenges facing today’s leaders amid upheavals in geopolitics, technology and values.


“Real leadership combines both logic and emotion, both short- and long-term thinking.”

Leadership is in crisis. The “Western reductionist” approach that focuses on quantitative analyses of major problems is insufficient to address today’s rapidly changing global situation. Leaders must apply their imagination and broaden their perspective to regain the trust of their constituents and employees. Leaders should embrace humility and admit their ignorance and uncertainty, since people too often mistake confidence for competence.

For the prepared leader, change can be evolutionary. For the unprepared, change can bring cataclysmic consequences. Leaders who can absorb and understand changing situations fluently manage these shifts with greater effectiveness.

Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.

Receiving too much information distracts and disorients leaders. In filtering out what they don’t want to see, leaders can become narrow-minded in their approach to problems. Focusing on the quantitative means ignoring qualitative factors, such as compassion. When too...

About the Authors

Entrepreneur Chris Lewis wrote the bestseller Too Fast to Think and founded LEWIS, an independent global communications practice. Policy analyst and economist Philippa “Pippa” Malmgren, PhD, also wrote Signals: How Everyday Signs Can Help Us Navigate the World’s Turbulent Economy. This book is from the Kogan Page Inspire book series, which offers analyses of the new VUCA world of business.

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