We all know and understand the traditional roles of CEO, COO, CFO etc. but things are changing and business is no longer “traditional.”

Technology, markets and people’s behaviours are all changing in rapid and often unpredictable ways, making it almost impossible to keep up, let alone stay ahead of the game.

Traditional leadership is about setting direction and motivating people to follow.  How can we do this when we can no longer force the future?  The answer is simple: we can’t.

So we have to accept that old leadership models will become increasingly obsolete in this scary new world, and come up with new ways of leading.

Enter the CVO!

The role of the Chief Visionary Officer is to paint a picture of how the future could look for us and then inspire people to work towards it in whatever way they think is best.  This required trust, and it also requires a solid framework.

So the leader’s role is now to empower their teams by setting clear expectations around the big ‘HOW’ – the principles and standards they are expected to work within – whilst letting go of the little ‘how’ of the way they actually achieve this.

This requires a whole new approach and a new skill set that we will need to learn if we are to remain relevant and useful, and to steer our organisations to success in the unpredictable future.  We have to enable our organisations to develop the flexibility to not merely respond to changes but to be able to co-create the future as it unfolds.

The CVO will need to be open to change and able to accept that things might turn out very differently to how they envisaged.

I believe that one thing won’t change and that is the age-old principle that people do what gets rewarded.  A significant part of the CVO’s role is to be the story teller who tells the tales of excellence, highlighting work that aligns with the values and principles of the organisation so people know what ‘good’ looks like and keeps the culture on track.

This is the future ‘beyond leadership’ where teams self-organise and self-govern, creating an environment for rapid innovation that will leave other organisations struggling to keep up as they hang on to their old and tired leadership practices.

Don’t get left behind!