Why Change Leadership is the most important skill of the 21st Century

Change leadership skills are critical at personal, organizational and macro levels to drive intentional change. Some of the largest issues in our world today require changes in thinking, design and policy.

Change Leadership then vs now

100 years ago being a change leader, an inventor or innovator was thought to be rare...something that occurred randomly here or there in a given country or population. It wasn't for everyone. Change leadership was reserved for a few atypical individuals like Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein. Sure, they’ll bring big changes, but the rest of us will just keep our heads down and mind our own business.

That was the mindset for the 20th century and much of history.

Today we are in a very different place.

We can no longer afford to assume that change leadership is optional, or that it is just something that a few rare people do while the rest of us go on business as usual. That is no longer the right mindset. There is no business as usual. Truth be told it probably never was an accurate mindset. Every person is born to have an impact and every person has the potential to have a great impact.

Finding that change leadership opportunity that resonates with you - that mission you have, that gift that you can bring to make things better for others, is such an exciting opportunity. And its more crucial today than ever.

Change leadership is not something that is just for a few of us. It’s for everybody and it is the most important skill of the 21st-century.

Why do we say change leadership is the most important skill of the 21st century?

  • The world has accelerated as Thomas Friedman pointed out in Thank You for Being Late. New ideas and capabilities - new technologies, new platforms, new financial tools, new ideas for governance - are being unleashed at a faster rate than ever before - often with big unforeseen and unwanted side effects.
  • The stakes are higher than ever. There are more people, more needs, bigger risks, often with stricter less forgiving timelines - than ever.

In this kind of environment, it’s all hands on deck. Every person needs to be a change leader: someone who is constantly learning and building their skills to drive good change - the kind of intentional change that we actually want and need. Not negative change, not careless change, and certainly not staying stuck in the status quo.

You can drive that change or careless change that has unwanted side effects or you can learn how to thoughtfully and effectively drive positive change. This is where all of us need to be focused. This is also why S3T exists.

Your part

You have the potential and the ability to create lasting and very beneficial changes in the world.

There are change opportunities that you notice and urgently wish you could change. No one you know of may be thinking about it in the exact same way that you are. You've been given a vantage point or set of experiences that sensitized you to a specific issue. Maybe something happened in your life that gave you awareness of some needed changes - and these have become very important to you.

It could be changes needed on an individual level, or changes within families, or communities. It might be a change that you recognize is needed in your team or your company or perhaps on a change needed on an industry level or macro level.

Whatever change you are motivated to desire and drive, you will can increase your chances of successfully enabling that change by committing to learning and building change leadership skills.