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The New Leadership Literacies

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The New Leadership Literacies

Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything


15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

This bold look at the future of leadership competencies offers persuasive, actionable advice.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening
  • Well Structured


Prominent futurist Bob Johansen’s forecasts emphasize that he doesn’t intend to predict the future. Instead, he aims to provoke actionable insight. His tech forecasts suggest likely future changes for your industry, your firm and yourself. Johansen examines five broad skill areas or “literacies” leaders will need in a connected future of distributed decision making and constant disruption, and tells you how to prepare now. On the downside, he makes up incomprehensible labels for the things he describes, loves jargon and doesn’t mention machine learning. Otherwise, his observations and advice make sense and will help those hoping to be ready for future leadership challenges.


Everything and everyone will connect through the Internet of Things. Such connectivity will drive greater disruption.

Business and the world at large will continue to decentralize. As organizations grow more fluid and distributed, certainty and predictability will erode. Leaders must think about how to thrive in this uncertain future. They must continue to act even as the world around them grows increasingly changeable.

Successful leaders will need to be able to explain their insights and plans carefully and frequently – even while remaining open to discussing various means of achieving their goals. They must tell future-focused stories to draw useful, actionable insights from other people in their companies.

Leaders will need five new “leadership literacies.” 

As the world grows more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA), organizations and leaders must accept disruption as a fact of business. Trend analysis will remain important, but planning for disruption requires a different set of skills and leadership abilities. Five...

About the Author

Bob Johansen is a distinguished fellow of the Institute for the Future, where he was executive director from 1996 to 2004. He creates customized future forecasts for organizations worldwide.   

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