We are all experiencing the highest level of complexity we have ever been faced with. Much of the complexity is driven by technology and the ongoing glut of information. The information overload creates and encourages increasing diversity of thought and opinion. Managing information in this environment is an ongoing challenge, so we tend to over-think the decisions we need to make on a routine basis. Therefore, one can really appreciate the growing need for optimal knowledge capability.
This situation is well illustrated in a recent blog 5 Reasons You’re Over-Thinking Your Leadership Decisions. It surmises that CEOs complete nearly 140 tasks in any given week. If the data is correct, the average CEO spends 10.5 hours per week on the “easier” tasks (those requiring 9 minutes or less) and about 17 hours on the more difficult tasks that require 1 hour or more of thought. That leaves about 13 hours (based on a 40-hour work week) to complete the remaining 25 tasks. That doesn’t leave much time for other kinds of leadership activities. Relationship building, strategy and, well, leadership.
As a result of all of this, it seems to me that CEOs need a strong focus on improving critical thinking, analytical skills and decision-making competencies. And these same CEOs need to surround themselves with people who are also committed to developing the highest level skills in the same disciplines. Then the CEO has to make the further commitment to professional development in these areas for himself or herself and the rest of the professional staff. It is this kind of continuous learning that is needed to enhance the competencies of all professionals and help us keep pace with the ever-changing environment around us.
So it’s time that the corner office gets serious about knowledge capability (knowledge management) for both the CEO and those who provide the most valuable input to the CEO. Everyone who contributes to the strategy development, planning and leadership of an organization. There is no need taking an hour to think about this decision. This one is a no-brainer. Things are not going to get any easier. So assess your knowledge capability and that of your key staff, and get started on advancing your competencies before complexity gets the best of you.