Leaders Need A Clear Vision Like A Sailor

Bill George, a leading author, professor at Harvard Business School, and much more, on leadership traits required to sail through times of ‘VUCA’

Bill George wears several hats. In addition to being a director at Goldman Sachs and a trustee with the World Economic Forum USA, George has been teaching leadership at Harvard Business School since 2004 and authored four bestsellers, including the recently co-authored Discover Your True North. With his deep understanding stemming from decades of corporate experience, he knows first-hand what is expected of leadership during difficult times. 

VUCA for leadership

In the book, George has used the term VUCA 2.0. Describing it, he says, “The term came out for US Military Academy. It’s called Volatility, Uncertainty, Chaos, and Ambiguity. They predicted it 20 years ago and right now we are in the midst of multiple intersecting crises. The Covid crisis, the Russian war in Ukraine, inflation, people leaving the workforce, and others are crises very complex for people.”

According to him, “We need leaders who can lead through crises because we are not going back to stable times. You need a clear vision, like a sailor not losing sight of his vision, because we are going to be buffeted by high winds. For that, you need to know the world you are in. And you need deep experience in your industry. At the same time, you need to be very flexible and have a certain degree of agility and adaptability. Leaders can’t be of a fixed mindset.” 

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