November 6, 2017

Live, learn and lead in a new reality

The disruptive world we’re living in now is the new reality that no one can escape. So, instead of trying to find a way to not be in it, we need to learn how to enter this new reality in the smoothest way possible.

This new reality calls for new leadership – both in terms of skill set and mindset in order to navigate and thrive; hence, to stay relevant in the market.

In light of this, my company held an event last month titled “Entering a New Reality”, to highlight the challenges we all face, and how to not only survive but prosper amid dramatic change.

Surely, the ability to effectively adapt in this disruptive, fast-changing world is crucial, not only for businesses to succeed, but also to survive. In other words, in this near future we either get left behind or we can choose to innovate to rise above the disruption. Simply stated, you will either be the disruptor or the disrupted.

For example, who would have thought that Uber could disrupt the taxi industry or that Apple would end up dominating the mobile device market? Who would have forecast that even when you have an established luxury hotel brand, your biggest competitor might end up being an online upstart called Airbnb? The truth is that in our world today, disruption can strike any business, anywhere at any time, often leaving businesses that fail to rise above the disruption with a big question – where did I go wrong?

Given the unforeseen effects and consequences of disruption, I’d say that in our new reality, how businesses live, learn and lead must be re-evaluated.

That explains the focus of our recent event was on new ways for businesses to live, learn and lead successfully. Developed by three leading international institutes – Arbinger, Tirian and The Ken Blanchard Companies – in partnership with SEAC, they represent successfully tried and tested methods and programmes that ensure another level of excellence for organisations of all sizes, regardless of your industry.

In the upcoming articles, I will go into detail about the solutions and suggestions that were shared in the event but I will give you the brief summary here to start with.

Bob Morley, senior vice-president of global strategy at The Arbinger Institute, addressed the first theme, “Living in a New Reality”. In the near future when competition is much higher and opponents can be anyone from anywhere, in order to get the desired results, organisations should help their people change their mindset because mindset drives behaviour and behaviour drives results, he said.

Great performance comes from really seeing people as people – not as obstacles to what you want, “vehicles” to be used to get what you want, or irrelevancies to be ignored. You must be outwardly focused on their needs, not just on your own needs. This can be realised by adapting and living with an outward mindset.

The outward mindset is an incredibly powerful tool and everyone has the ability to learn it. The outward mindset can help businesses grow in a disruptive world by improving the ability of leaders and others to transform their organisations and innovate differently.

On the topic of “How to Learn in a New Reality”, the importance of creativity was highlighted by Andrew Grant, the CEO of Tirian, a specialist in organisational innovation. He pointed out that people’s creativity scores drop significantly over time despite the fact that we are all born creative.

He shared his diagnostic experiential learning tool to identify the key “suspects” that are responsible for killing creativity in adults. They range from pessimism and control, through to work pressure and anxiety – and also where it happens in your business. The bottom line is that creativity is crucial for anyone who wants to thrive amid disruption, and we must be able to identify and remove those roadblocks to creativity in order to learn in this new reality.

Lastly, from The Ken Blanchard Companies, Joni Wickline addressed the final theme of “Lead”, sharing insights about how effective leaders hold the key to organisational success. Leaders affect success in three critical areas: goal clarity and alignment; being aware of one’s own leadership style and developing the flexibility to adapt styles to match subordinates and changing contexts; and facilitating trust-based and transparent conversations around goals.

Without proper guidance and tools, most businesses struggle to seek and find answers to the big question of how to live, learn and lead in this new reality. I hope that this article will at least give you some ideas to begin with, and invite you to stay tuned next week for in-depth details.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading executive, leadership and innovation capability development centre. She can be reached by email at or