illustration of building blocks

Today, we are facing an unprecedented set of complex challenges. The leadership strategies of yesterday simply aren’t sufficient for our current reality. Leadership books of the last few decades have preached “innovate, innovate, innovate”. Innovation is great, but in his upcoming book Taking Charge of Change, author Paul Shoemaker calls out what really works to move the needle on hard change. We need a new leader for a new type of world. We have to do more with what we already have. We have to reuse, recycle, rethink, reinvent, refurbish and rebuild. 

Shoemaker calls the new leader needed today a Rebuilder, and they have five key traits. These traits have arisen from a set of 5 mega-challenges that America will be facing in the decade ahead, which are as follows:

Of course, in the business world, every company has its own set of challenges that it may be facing, like industry evolution, changing customer needs, and so on. But these five mega-challenges serve as important contexts in which all other challenges will be operating. Companies that do not have leaders that are equipped to react to these mega-challenges will be more fragile and less robust. It will be difficult for these companies to survive, let alone thrive, in the decade ahead.

24/7 Authenticity

24/7 Authenticity means being authentic and open before you have to be. We can no longer only be honest and transparent when our backs are against the wall. The 24/7 aspect of this trait means being proactively, not responsively, authentic. It means pushing our comfort zones on authenticity and making it second nature.

Complexity Capacity

Having Complexity Capacity is being able to take in the many variables at play, and then interpreting, processing, and making sense of them. Leaders who embody this trait are not scared away by complexity. They don’t default to the “simple route” of falling back on the solutions that have worked in the past. They understand that they need to work strategically and find new solutions under increasingly complex conditions. They welcome the challenge. Businesses today are forced to reckon with how they will adapt amidst these complex challenges, and leaders with Complexity Capacity will be able to look at these challenges and craft forward-thinking solutions.

Generosity Mindset

Possessing a Generosity Mindset means being committed to looking for commonalities while also respecting differences. Leaders with a Generosity Mindset are skilled at creating space for multiple identities to exist at once. These leaders play a pivotal role in role modeling and culture setting, and they are always working to understand what engages others, and building relational trust amongst teams.

Companies who fail to cultivate this type of leadership within the organization will see company culture and employee morale suffer as a result of drama in the workplace, a lack of relational trust, and a failure to build an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity.

Data Conviction

Leaders with Data Conviction do not see data as an afterthought, a tactic, or a number. They see it as an indispensable part of solving the complex problems of today. They are passionate about relentlessly collecting, processing, interpreting, and using data to create clarity and inform decisions. 

Having leaders with a strong sense of data conviction in your company ensures that business decisions are not made on impulse, but based on a strong set of data. This creates a culture of accountability, because leaders know that they must have data to back up their reasoning, and they are also expected to collect data and metrics to inform future decisions. Data Conviction creates a cycle of iteration that drives the business forward via continuous improvement.

Cross-Sector Fluency

Having Cross-Sector Fluency means understanding that because the problems of today are increasingly complex, the solutions cannot exist in siloes. Leaders must be able to bridge the divides between the private, nonprofit, and public sectors in order to drive real, sustained progress in each area.These leaders are able to be flexible when needed, while always having a solid foundation to work from. They proactively search outside of their native or original sector to find new strategies, tools, and experiences.

In the business realm, we are seeing the rise of conscious capitalism, which takes into account all stakeholders and puts purpose alongside profits to drive positive change. But purpose-driven leaders cannot exist only in their private sector silo. They must have cross-sector fluency. Companies that fail to develop this trait in their leaders will struggle to attract and retain talent. The employees that they do have will likely feel no sense of purpose at work. The brand will suffer, and the company will find it difficult to be successful as a business, let alone to be a force for good amidst the societal challenges we are facing.

Developing Rebuilders 

Want to learn more about what it means to be a Rebuilder and how this type of leadership can promote recovery and revitalization in your company?  Join author Paul Shoemaker and Verb CEO Suzi Sosa on Tuesday, March 23rd at 11AM Central for a live conversation and Q&A.  We’ll take a deep dive into what makes a Rebuilder and how we can develop people to become the leaders we so desperately need. Click here to register.

Rebuilders: A Conversation with Paul Shoemaker is the second in our ongoing webinar series on new models of leadership.  Previously Verb CEO Suzi Sosa interviewed Whole Foods Market CEO, John Mackey, about his book, Conscious Leadership.  To watch the recording of that webinar click here.

Verb is an all-in-one leadership development platform designed to give managers the tools they need to develop themselves and their teams. Our library of action-oriented, bite-sized content focuses on modern leadership skills, such as active listening, questioning assumptions, managing vision and purpose, and more.