Leaders today need additional skills for the changing world they face.  The tools of the 20th century are incomplete when you consider the speed of the flat world and the vexing challenges we confront.  I think there are 3 key tools for leaders to add into their toolkit:  Framing, Empathy, Curiosity.

  • Framing is how you look at things.  The key to the future is being able to look at things from various points of view and levels of definition.  In today’s world, you have to look at the defined problem and at the more abstract system in which it lives. You also have to be aware of your default frames; your baggage that limits your view.  If you are aware of it, you are empowered to manage your incapacity.
  • Empathy is developing deep human insight that causes you to truly care about the person you are serving or engaging.  Empathy is critical for your customers, co-workers and suppliers.  It allows you to see how others feel and what might be useful to them.
  • Curiosity is being open to lean into the unknown or uncomfortable.  Leaders today need not to engender fear or compliance, but truth telling.  If you are open and curious, you will learn things and hear things that previously were obscured from you. You will be in a better position to take action and lead.

Let’s begin to practice these new leadership skills from Design Thinking and move ourselves and our organizations forward.



Self assess your capabilities on these important new skills and identify how you can improve.  Pick one to work over the next few weeks.

Watch Cindy Tripp’s short speech on this topic.

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