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The Five Literacies of Global Leadership
What Authentic Leaders Know and You Need to Find Out

By: Richard Hames

Summary by Karen McHenry, Business Book Summaries

Business Book SummaryThe pace of life has accelerated at an amazing rate over the last few centuries. Rapid technological advancement has completely changed the way businesses operate. Global borders have blurred and geography has little meaning. In this dynamic environment, the ways in which organizations approach leadership must also change.

In The Five Literacies of Global Leadership, Richard David Hames has authored a manifesto focused on a group of people intent on creating better futures and how this group is accomplishing that goal. In the book, the author describes the four tenets that "Five Literacies leaders" access to "learn their way" into better futures. Readers also learn about the five literacies of Networked Intelligence, Futuring, Deep Design, Strategic Navigation, and Brand Resonance. By utilizing these different mindsets and practices, today's business leaders can deal more effectively with the pressures arising from globalization.

Today's business environment is incredibly complex. We are more connected with one another than ever before. This unprecedented level of connectedness is motivating an evolution of worldview. Convergent technologies are also accelerating the speed at which new knowledge is diffused. Knowledge from different disciplines is merging like never before.

In light of all these changes, knowledge of the past related to capitalism and free markets is no longer adequate. Conventional approaches to leading and managing have become ineffective. Hames proposes that new institutions, frameworks, tools and techniques are urgently required. There are five key literacies that successful global leaders use: Networked Intelligence, Futuring, Strategic Navigation, Deep Design, and Brand Resonance.

Critical to the understanding of business ecosystems is the first literacy: networked intelligence. Networked intelligence is more than just monitoring information about particular classes of stakeholders. It is dynamic, inclusive, and transformative. Networked intelligence enables flexibility, speed of response, and adaptiveness, when those qualities are necessary to become and remain viable.

As far as the future is concerned, the magnitude of uncertainty can be overwhelming. There is accumulating evidence that society's current paradigms are incapable of resolving today's most pressing concerns. It is necessary to disrupt current ways of thinking in order to put these prejudices aside.

Strategic navigation, the third literacy, teaches leaders to look for signs of emerging hot topics. Strategic navigation has the potential to engage everyone across an enterprise, as well as people within the broader business ecosystem.

Deep design is a way of thinking about the way that leaders create, manage, and sustain relationships of all kinds. It is a new conceptual framework in which economic activity creates goods and services that generate ecological, social, and economic value. With deep design, waste is a thing of the past and human needs are balanced by nature's realities.

The idea of an individual or object absorbing and projecting more than just its own materiality is known as "brand resonance." The flow of innovative ideas and intellectual properties dominate today's markets. Just attracting attention is not sufficient. Companies also need to earn trust. Brand resonance is the most intelligent way of capturing both of these qualities. This means engaging collaboratively with customers.

The blurring of geographic boundaries demands an alternative belief system for leading. The future belongs to a very different kind of leader - one who can create and connect, who have compassion, who are story tellers and meaning makers. This new reality demands insightful thinking, purposeful dialogue, and collaborative action. It is well-suited for the skills of five literacies leaders.

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