Publication Leadership in Tomorrow’s Company

by Luke Robinson _______4th January 1999

Executive Summary

This paper is about the kind of leadership that will inspire and enable tomorrow’s companies to compete successfully in tomorrow’s world. Its purpose is to stimulate the thinking of those responsible for developing leadership in today’s organisations in preparation for tomorrow’s social, technological and economic conditions.

There are clear early warning signals that the organisations of the early years of the twenty first century are likely to depart quite radically from the traditional hierarchical and bureaucratic structures with which we are familiar. Despite evident trends, much of the writing about leadership in recent years, both on the part of academics and practitioners, still reflects the underlying assumptions that leadership is essentially something to do with innate qualities of individuals, and that leaders are Moses-like figures who, from the tops of organisations, lead everyone else to the promised land of world-class performance.

This viewpoint is strongly challenged here and the ideas of some of the more progressive thinkers in this field are briefly summarised. The paper concludes with some recommendations concerning the processes by which tomorrow’s leaders can best be developed.