3 Principles for Embracing the weQ Trend: Leadership 4.0

Jan 16, 2017 | Leadership Thoughts (Blog) | 0 comments

The sharing economy, weQ, cooperation, co-creation, and community are key principles of weQuality trends. In the midst of a social cultural change, new principles are created for our working world. The enormous upheaval is readily visible.

Digitisation has created three new facts that managers and people in leadership positions should consider:

  • Participation (weQ) is possible in a way that has never previously existed.
  • A new generation of people is becoming less and less socialized.
  • The global economy is a multi-dimensional playing field on which players and markets quickly emerge (and disappear).


How can a leadership culture look like in the weQ world of tomorrow?

From our work with decision-makers in the business world, we can confirm that the leadership culture in companies has to change; the majority of executives agree: 77 percent of executives welcome a change in their leadership culture. At the same time, however, these same leaders still believe there is a long way to go; they themselves hardly feel able to implement this new leadership culture.

With the agreement that change is necessary, the question is how? The straightforward answer is that good leadership can endure open-ended co-creative processes. As experts in management development,Oxford Leadership see three guiding principles for future learning in a management context that should be based on all the methods and tools of choice: mindfulness before abilities, focus on what works, and changing priorities.

Principle 1 – Mindsets not Skillsets

What makes leadership inefficient in today’s economy is not a lack of skills. It is the combination of a constantly changing environment coupled with a transfixed mental attitude (being trapped in non-changing thought patterns). This is a balancing act that cannot be successful. A lot of management learning has been geared to teaching or expanding skills (like active listening, giving good feedback, etc.). However, social change requires rapid personal development as teams are exposed to new ideas beyond common concepts. Challenges evolved to far exceed management “craftwork” to now encompass ideological adaptability and mental elasticity.

The co-creative community culture of the weQ takes a high learning flexibility for granted. People have to be able to adjust continuously and quickly to new things. This means a high degree of aptitude to changes. The future of learning in the economy will focus less on the expansion of skills, more on the expansion of thought and mindset.

Principle 2 – Focus on what works

Warren Buffet always tells the story about his first encounter with Bill Gates. While attending a party, everyone at their table was asked to define their one secret to success. According to Buffett, both men gave the same answer: I know how to focus on the essentials.If you look at the learning landscape in the economic environment, it is easy to see that it is not focused – especially on innovative forms of working and leadership. Many executive programs and management trainings resemble a buffet with different tools, techniques, and methods that do not really merge into common contemporary applications.

By shifting the focus to making sustainable progress, creating headway in new thinking structures, and inspiring teams to make changes together, it can make a tremendous difference for the company. However, a question still remains: What works in the context of weQ with omnipresent changes to deserve focus?

Principle 3 – Prioritise differently

When things are difficult, we cannot afford to waste time and energy. We are well advised to focus on the levers that lead us to real development. Starting in mindset, recognising the need for efficient focus, and then understanding that the networked complex world of the digital age requires more relationship management than process management brings success.People who observe their thoughts and emotions objectively without evaluation struggle to understand that they are always controlled by old patterns of thought. The brain was trained one way and will work that same way until consciously retrained. As we focus on our inner processes and reflective thinking, the more we can influence them with less energy, so more energy can be used for clarity about the present situation.

Therefore, it is recommended to first work on one’s own personality in order to be able to shape relationships – both new as well as existing ones. Time for reflection and mindfulness is the objective. Observing your own perceptions, emotions, and thoughts is recommended for our everyday hectic life.

Moving forward

Many executives and managers describe in personal talks that they find too little reflection time in the hustle and bustle of everyday life in order to think ahead. It is important to look very critically at this point: whoever cannot lead himself should not lead others.This result in “being present” with renewed clarity inside and then inevitably for the outside. That’s when the possibility to surf with the social cultural change after Peter Kruse and the upheavals take place — the IQ, then EQ, and now as a guide to the weQ.

“Freedom – both in terms of time and content – is necessary for self-reflection”

All the Best,


More Thoughts from the Blog

Purpose book: How Decisions in Life are Shaping Leadership Journeys

22 authentic and bold stories are here to inspire you to look deeper and find your path to living a life with purpose. These 22 authors, connected by the Oxford Leadership network, have made this purposeful journey themselves and have carried that experience into their work with thousands of leaders around the globe.

Reflection: Are you hiding behind your social attributes?

You are not the title on your business card, the car you drive, the exotic vacations, nor the clothes you wear. But it’s so common to prop up our identify with social attributes, especially now with social media and people caring more...

Leading Yourself Through the Eye of the Storm

As we adjust to quarantine & isolation, we may soon realise how little we actually need, and how much more we can do without. This crisis can serve to shock us out of the complacency of false comforts, habits and routine, and teach us instead difficult lessons about life. It can reveal ourselves in a new light, with less regard for our tired old self-image.

My view on Leadership and Vertical Learning

The future of leadership will be more in the field of vertical development. Instead of only offering tools (horizontal development),we will support leaders with mindset transformation, dealing with complexitybetter, and expanding the ability to care. The ability to discriminate from an ethical standpoint will also be key for future leaders.

The Future of Leadership

Are CEOs the new spiritual leaders of their communities in the 21stcentury? From my 20 years of experience, I think so, as do many of my colleagues and friends such as Norman Wolfe, author of The Living Organisation: Transforming Business to Create Extraordinary Results.

Story telling through the lens of coaching – why are you telling me this?

This post is not about good or bad stories but of how conscious I am of the kind of story I tell or hear. What is the impact my story is having? Why am I telling it? What difference does it make to tell a story with a clear intention and desired impact – to me and to others?

How Purpose Supports your Leadership in a VUCA world

As we move into a new, exciting yet scary era of exponential change and disruption we can’t rely on the old ways of leading and organising our businesses and society. We’e already experiencing rapid change and disruption...

What is your Story? -A “happily ever after” starts with analysing your “once upon a time”

An organisation’s story can be so deeply rooted within its culture that it can determine its future, whether good or bad, and project ultimate success or failure. The old paradigm of command and control is a story crafted long ago...

How Purpose Drives Performance in Organisations

The trend is undeniable - purpose drives performance. The idea of big businesses driven by a purpose beyond their products, profits, and ego is no longer a utopian vision - it’s becoming a reality.

7 Characteristics of Leadership 4.0 – What successful leaders do differently

Digital technologies have disrupted everything, not only within IT, but also leadership styles and how we manage our organisations. Leaders at every tech company are not digital leaders, but it is undisputed that Elon Musk...

3 Principles for Embracing the weQ Trend: Leadership 4.0

With the agreement that change is necessary, the question is how? The straightforward answer is that good leadership can endure open-ended co-creative processes. As experts in management development,Oxford Leadership see three guiding principles...

Leadership 4.0 in the “Digital Age”

Today “Digital Leadership” is one of the latest buzzword within organisation boardrooms. But what does it mean? Essentially, it is a type of leadership that is fast-paced, cross-hierarchical, responsive, cooperative, and team-oriented.

Leadership challenges in the V.U.C.A world

One of the key failures is to lead us to find what is probable rather than what is possible. The VUCA environment means that we must focus on what is possible, rather than on what is likely to occur.

Leadership 4.0: How can Organizations Adapt in a Rapidly Evolving World

The next generation of leaders will be those who can develop a common purpose, trusting people and empowering teams to act on their own initiative. Shifting the structure and mind-set of an...

4 Rules of Leading High-Performance Teams

At Oxford Leadership, we consider teams (and organisations) to be living, complex adaptive systems, and apply the knowledge we derive from the theories of complexity and chaos to our approach.

Purpose Driven Leadership for turbulent times

For approximately 20 years now,I have been involved in developing leaders, teams and even whole organisations to become more purpose-driven. What I have learnt during this time is no matter what challenges lie ahead...

Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela’s Life

Nearly 20 years after the end of the brutal and racist apartheid regime, South Africa’s citizens are still searching for a new leadership model to carry forward Nelson Mandela’s ideals amid a host of mounting problems.
Keep learning how Purpose drives higher performance. In a post-COVID world, leaders will have to move beyond primit… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1296454462861651980