top of page

Leader Shifts 7 - CHANNELS to CHOICES

This is the seventh in a series of posts which articulate fundamental shifts in leadership paradigms from the 20th to the 21st century.

In the 20th Century people’s life and career-trajectories tended to be relatively channelled – some might say rutted. Career choices, in particular, were often made relatively early and tended to follow predictable paths. If your dad was in agriculture, you probably went into agriculture. If you were good at maths and science, you probably studied something in the sciences. If you became a plumber, you were a plumber for life. If you joined a firm, you stayed with them for 40 years before retiring. If you were a woman, your choices were even more limited. If you were born in a small town, you probably died there or in the town next door. Although people in business did have some opportunity to work internationally, few ever worked outside of the country in which they were born. In some ways there was less adventure in the 20th century than there was in previous centuries when the world was being explored, conquered, colonized and settled.

This predictability has gone out of the window as we have moved into the 21st Century. The global population has never been more fluid. We can move more, access more and learn more than ever before and there are so many options to choose from – more courses of study, colleges and universities, industries, companies, accessible countries and specialisations. Every technological breakthrough expands the range of possibilities. Not only do we have choices, but we know it and we’ve been encouraged to take risks, seize the day, say no, say yes and just do it. One of the greatest leadership challenge for 21st Century leaders is the need to influence people who know they have choices. We have always had choices, but we didn’t really know it and over the last few decades our range of choices and the means to enact them have become increasingly accessible.

Astute Leaders expect change and break boundaries. Yet, they also need to somehow foster a measure of stability because change has huge cost implications.

Reflection question: As an Astute Leader, how can you more effectively engage people who know they have choices? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Register for the #AstuteLeaderProgramme, commencing 29 September 2022 -

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page