We live in a world of volatile and rapid change, complex, uncertain and ambiguous. These extreme conditions require high agility and the ability to absorb shocks.
The pressure is mounting to do more in less time. Job security is uncertain. The wind of change keeps changes direction and this is quite stressing.
What leaders can do? The normal response is for people, in general, to choke and get panic under pressure. This question reminded me of materials and crystal lattices that oddly enough expand and not shrink under extreme pressures. They change their bonding and acquire unique emerging properties. Just like ice expands out its structure.
Recent research revealed several materials that expand on pressure. They are just like road networks in that the optimal flow through a network is determined by its structure. However, adding edges to the network can move the system away from this optimal state, while removing edges can move it closer.
The same network concept is extensible to some newly discovered materials such as a new translucent crystal, made from gold, zinc, and cyanide does something very few materials do: Instead of shrinking under pressure, it expands. This crystal expands under pressure because of a helical, spring-like arrangement of gold atoms. As the springs compress, the crystal grows longer, increasing its length by as much as 10 percent.
Amazing is the ordinary table salt that we consume almost daily. Research found this salt behaves unpredictably under extreme conditions by forming new structures that even make this salt act as an insulator instead of a conductor. The resulting structures are responsible for this behavior.
The behavior of materials under extreme conditions reminds me of elastic springs help tiny animals stay fast and strong. New work is finding what size critters must be to benefit from the springs.
The above are few examples of new behaviors that result from forming new spring-like structures under extreme pressures. This leads me to ask if great leaders of today should be able to develop new thinking structures and models to act like springs and expand under pressure rather than shrink.
The thoughts of these leaders are like the road networks that upon removal of some old thinking expand on their thinking and produce.
Please share your views.