Are You an MVP? High Performers for a VUCA World

Peter Buytaert

When I started GLO in mid 2013 little did I know about training or recruitment business. After more than 20 years in the corporate world of executive management It was more an overwhelming desire to make a difference and the opportunity to follow my passion that created the platform for GLO to be born. It was amazing how this perspective and trust in the flow of life and purpose brought me together with my co-founders Dr. Mike Thompson and Raf Adams (author of the Suited Monk).
Before sharing personal insights in the power of values flow and purpose in managing a business allow me to briefly introduce GLO to readers that have not heard from us. GLOs purpose is to bring more responsible leadership to the world and to help companies either develop or leaders of character which we associate with an agile (wise) Mind good Values and great Passion (MVPs). In addition we assess leadership and culture and soon will launch a new mobile learning platform that will help our community of leaders and candidates find their passion life purpose and become more happy in the process. Essentially these MVPs are authentic leaders who align their behavior and attitude (Suit) with their true self (Monk) and therefore realize to be Suited Monks! Overall we believe in the Return on Character. Great character is for companies and individuals alike the most important attribute and best possible guarantee for success and sustainability in our volatile uncertain complex and ambiguous world... As the late US General Norman Schwarzkopf famously quoted: "Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one be without strategy..."
Like any other startup we have encountered the usual challenges of cash and scaling compounded by the less visible and tangible obstacles in a competitive changing and less value driven Chinese market environment.
Rather than making 5 year plans we steered a speed boat along 3 months markers to adjust to new realities and to perfect our strategic positioning. Two elements never changed: Purpose and Values.
The 3 months markers are what I would call flow which is essentially taking a very agile approach to gaining new market and business insights continually developing foresight and adjusting the path accordingly. We experienced it as a very intuitive but powerful process to mitigate risks overcome challenges and strengthen our strategic positioning while connecting more formidably with the right audience.Leadership attributes important to success in a stable predictable and more localized world were vastly different compared to the Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) globalizing world we live in today. Brexit the US election surprise impact of terror on business climate change and disruptive technologies are just a few examples of VUCA components that will continue to demand more agility resilience and intuitive foresight to be effective as a leader. In this volatile environment five year plans evaporate and are replaced by a cluster of six months scenarios that need steering on the go. Strategy is as good as the intuitive foresight of the leadership to predict market challenges and disruptions. Change is a mere condition for sustainability and not necessarily an opportunity for growth. Execution requires energy levels that only passionate leaders can sustain. Ambiguity and complexity require more than ever guidance by a strong value compass among them especially integrity to prevent costly risks and challenges to corporate existence. The corporate scandals we have all witnessed over the last decade are symptomatic of this dramatic shift in required leadership attributes and testimony of what happens when there is a lack thereof. 

The definition of leadership does never really change but the relevant importance of its varied attributes for success see a true paradigm shift.    

Where personality and intelligence may still suffice for short term wins character is more than ever decisive for long term sustainability of success both personal and organizational.

Personality and intelligence remain great products to nurture ego but character defines the soul and true self of a leader which ultimately determines how and what decisions and actions will be produced. The alignment of all defines authentic leadership that so many organizations now crave for.

Character is the moral and mental quality which guides the leader in action and turns attitude and situational behavior habits of making quality decisions.    

Leaders of good character are more than ever the Most Valuable Players (MVP) on the team who not only score once but sustain an above average performance and can be relied on to deliver results in the most adverse of times.  MVPs should not be limited to senior leadership but nurtured and positioned across the organization.

They have moral and mental qualities that transcend the usual expectations of intelligence (IQ) team play and good work ethic. Today’s MVPs need to be ‘smart’ humble and hungry. In our view they have open Minds great Values and strong Passion (MVP leadership).

‘Smart’ leaders today transcend IQ and EQ with an ability to be more mindful how decisions impact the common good of their teams organizations and even society at large. ‘Smart’ also implies wisdom and an intuitive sense that helps a leader mitigate risks and gain fore-sights to steer the business in VUCA waters. ‘Smart’ leaders continually challenge their own beliefs and seek true knowledge. They complement IQ and EQ with a high level of self-awareness and an ability to reflect on their thinking. As such they open their mind for changing beliefs new experiences and continue to challenge the status quo.  

Humble leaders use virtues as a compass in decision-making and keep listening to self-develop. They accept where they need support and are willing to admit mistakes and able to change for good. In a complex and ambiguous context values are formidable beacons to guide a leader through the fog and base decisions on the right fundamentals. Humble leaders don’t take their positions for granted but gain respect and followers through their value-based decisions and actions. Their egos are secondary to the common purpose they try to achieve.    

Last but not least in volatile and uncertain times leaders need a level of resilience and self-motivation that transcends good work ethic and team play. Leaders need to inspire collaboration with a level of energy and hungriness that can only be derived from true passion. They need to feel they make a difference in their and others’ lives and be willing to keep challenging their limits in a positive way alike athletes that continue to pursue their own records. This level of energy needs to be nurtured from within rather than motivated by others.

Hiring and developing more ‘Smart’ humble and passionate leaders on a team will provide more than ever a formidable competitive advantage for our organizations. The power of any company’s level of MVPs makes the difference between good great and amazing teams …        

How many MVPs do you have on your team?