Will 2017 be an even more uncertain year for those who lead organisations?

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“Global discombobulation seems to be the order of the day as we face 2017. Some bizarre politics, terrorism, mistruths about free trade and globalisation, digital disruption, polarised incomes and wealth, and more – are all making many of the world’s 7.4 billion people fearful. It was a strange 2016 and there seems to be no guarantee the year about to unfold will be any saner”.[1] In my view this quote by Phil Ruthven from IBISWorld is a great summary of what most people are thinking particularly as we are now only days out from President-elect Trump becoming the President Trump.

How ever you look at it, Donald Trump is a ‘circuit breaker’; what’s difficult to tell at this point is the extent of his impact and whether it will lead to better or worse outcomes for his country and for the rest of the world. What is a reality is that organisations have to continue to be led and managed in what I suspect is going to be an even faster changing and more than likely more volatile, uncertain and ambiguous world.

What does this mean for those leading organisations?

Leaders and managers will need to bring a number of qualities to the fore in 2017:

  • As environments change leaders will have to be able to change themselves and their organisations quickly which means flexibility and adaptability is key. Hanging on to old ways too long is potentially terminal.
  • Some change is inevitable so a leader’s capacity to shape a constructive cultures that engages and inspires people by being open, willing to seize opportunities and act, values people who can work together to execute strategy and who have the determination to succeed no matter what comes at them is essential.
  • I doubt the “hero” leader will succeed in 2017. Rather leaders who are pragmatic, who listen, learn and adapt and have a common sense approach to managing risk are what’s called for.
  • With whatever 2017 throws at us successful companies will be those whose leaders can maintain perspective by being able to understand global, national and local trends, opportunities and threats as they emerge and at the same time retain a keen curiosity in order to make sense of what’s going on around them.
  • I suspect some leaders will face tough and challenging decisions in 2017 and therefore have to prepare themselves and their organisations to deal with a variety of reactions. A strong sounding board can be helpful for leaders as can paying attention to shaping the right culture to support the organisation as whole.

In many meetings and discussions already this year people have asked what will 2017 really be like, my response has been “I really am unsure, the only thing we can to is prepare ourselves and our organisations to be in the best position to change, adapt and respond.”


Viventé Australia enables leaders and managers develop the bond between people and performance, creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its best.

[1] http://www.ibisworld.com.au/common/pdf/phil/201701/Phil_January_2017.pdf

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