Leaders today experience a disconnect between classic leadership skills and the speed and pace of a volatile, connected world. What does it mean to be authentic today? To be as close as you can be to who you really are, while at the same time delivering what followers need in a global, networked world? My intent is to provoke debate on this critical topic.

Dramatic and radical change

Dramatic and radical change is like taking a shimmering, multi-facetted, solid crystal ball and tossing it high into the air.  It lands with a crash and a thump and shards of glass fly everywhere.  Some are delicate and dangerous - try and pick them up and they prick your finger as if you are Sleeping Beauty.  Others are large and robust and look  as if they can survive alone.  The core remains, dented, smashed, reduced in size and opaque in parts, but just about recognizable as the heart of what once was. Onlookers are aghast.  How did this happen and why?  Such beauty, so carelessly destroyed.  Slowly we gather the pieces and try to clear up the mess.  Some pieces are too small and damaged and must be discarded forever.  Others look as if they can be glued back on - the result is not beautiful, but at least it's functional.  And other pieces take up their position of independence - they don't seem to fit anywhere, but neither do they mind, proud to be still strong and intact although alone.  Hours of energy, optimism and heartache are invested in the rebuild.  Technicians are called in to help, with the expertise to recreate the beauty of before.  No longer a ball, it emerges as - what?  A tower, a cylinder, a cactus?  Whatever the new form, it is very different.  We are hopeful, we are optimistic, we have survived the heartbreak.  But we know it is only a matter of time before the new form is tossed into the air to shatter, just like the last.  That's the story of living in our volatile world today.  No longer 'Who Moved My Cheese', more a game of 'off with the cheese, bring on the chalk'.  It's astounding that we mere human beings can remain resilient and hopeful in the face of such constant radical change.  But we can. And do.