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.

Strategy Lessons from Bats

Bats are the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight.  Microbats use echolocation to navigate and forage, often in total darkness.  (Megabats have good visual acuity).  Echolocation is the same as active sonar.  Bats issue ultrasound via the larynx (at a higher pitch than humans can hear) and then assess range by measuring the time delay between the sound emission and any echoes that return from the environment.  And just observing bats in flight, they do it very fast.  It should be the same in business.  In a similar way, managers need to turn on their competitive radar.  It’s about constantly scanning for weak signals that are lead indicators for new themes or trends that could undermine the company.  It’s about searching for hidden insights.  And that means setting aside diary time for thinking and reflecting.