Get ready for fundamental changes.
Paul Dumais is director of regulatory services at Central Maine Power Co.
In almost all business and non-profit environments, change is occurring at an accelerating pace. In the electric industry—which used to be stable—we are seeing major changes too. Utilities face growing ambiguity as well as increasing paces of change, uncertainty and complexity. As Irene Sanders stated in Strategic Thinking and the New Science, “[t]hat the future will be different from today is given. What we struggle with is our desire to know how it will be different and what we can do to influence it.”1
For organizations, strategic leadership is defined as enhancing an organization’s sustainable competitive advantage or enduring success.2 Strategic leaders must first understand change before it occurs. When change comes as a surprise, it takes enormous energy and resources to identify and implement an effective response. Surprise changes also create some huge disconnections throughout an organization. What’s needed by strategic leaders is foresight. As Sanders states, “[f]oresight is the ability to see what is emerging—to understand the dynamics of the larger context and to recognize new, initial conditions as they are forming. With foresight, we see the future as it is taking shape.” Strategic leaders have the ability to influence the future by responding to, and influencing, what’s emerging.