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These issues may test the very form, structure, and capacity of agencies to meet problems head-on. As a result, successful government leaders must go beyond established parameters and institutional strictures, working across organizational boundaries in pursuit of multilayered, networked approaches tailored to a specific challenge.
Given such dynamic conditions, government leaders are presented with difficult choices, but also unprecedented opportunities. As Roger Martin, former Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, has observed, “There was a time when leaders shared a sense that the problems they faced could be managed through the application of well-known rules and linear logic. Those days are gone. Most of today’s important problems have a significant wicked component, making progress impossible if we persist in applying inappropriate methods and tools to them.”
This calls for leaders to cultivate and possess the specific abilities and conceptual tools that foster the practice of foresight, visioning, partnering, and motivating—what Dr. Michael Maccoby refers to as strategic intelligence.
A renowned business advisor who is both an organizational psychologist and anthropologist, Dr. Maccoby joined me on The Business of Government Hour to share his perspective on the following questions and to discuss his recent book Strategic Intelligence: Conceptual Tools for Leading Change.