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No, this blog will not perfect your life, grow your business 50%, cut logistics costs by 50%, allow you to give 50% raises to your staff … you get the picture. No blog will magically help leadership solve everything.

Perhaps, however, you will start looking at advice on the internet with a more discerning eye. This column by Jason Gay in The Wall Street Journal got me thinking about our advice culture. So many headlines out there promise that this ONE thing will FIX EVERYTHING.

That, unfortunately, is not how life works. That is not how leadership works, particularly in an era of perpetual disruption, where everything you assumed certain is now wrong or has changed, and the only thing you can be certain about is … uncertainty.

As Robert J. Bowman writes for Supply Chain Brain, “Even the world’s best archer has trouble hitting the bullseye if the target won’t stand still.” While Bowman was discussing the rapid demand shifts in the microprocessor market, the quote applies to leadership in all sectors.

Leadership Must Evolve for a World of Disruption

Leadership cannot solve everything with one magic bullet.

Instead, leadership is a continuing evolution. What worked for the first 45 years of my professional life took me from my kitchen table business where we did warehouse consulting.

Then we added inventory management, then transportation, then network planning. Then we moved into packaged software and implementation doing WMS, inventory, forecasting, TMS, LMS, YMS, then OMS, then S&OP, then into material handling systems integration and warehouse execution systems. Then we went global and began to look across the network into supply chains and then to supply chain visibility and then Digital Supply Networks, then to Artificial Intelligence and digital twins and on and on.

As you can see, leadership did not mean resting onshore in a steady state. As opportunities explode, you must grab those waves, ride them and provide more and more value. Sometimes the evolution is slow, and steady state appears to be in place for 9 months or even a year. But then you will quickly cycle through two bursts of innovation in 3 months. So, you see, turning problems into competitive advantage requires continuous learning and continuous evolution.

The Complexity of Organizational Excellence

Sounds simple, right? But as Gay writes, “The notion that a single bit of wisdom can profoundly change a life is highly spurious, bordering on deception.”

That’s the way it is with leadership. Executive development and organizational transformation take time. You must take everything you learn – from this blog, other blogs, books (some people still read them), videos, webinars, speeches and your daily work life, and filter that knowledge through your experiences.

Pairing your knowledge, learning and ability to change with executive coaching can jump-start organizational transformation. But remember, coaching is more than a series of training modules for your budding leadership team. Coaching must be a holistic process. In today’s ever-evolving world, optimizing your path forward will not work. Your enterprise needs options – optionality – the ability to see the coming waves and the agility to deploy the right options.

The solutions your leaders select must operate over a greater range of alternative operational requirements. Leaders who can master this adaptability will have their organizations ready to handle change, different volumes, different varieties, different requirements.

So the next time you read something titled “The ONE thing you need,” well, you might really need the information in that article.

But you’re going to need a whole lot more for organizational excellence in our complex world. You’re going to need a whole lot more for leadership to solve everything.