We all know and understand the role of the CEO: to drive the organisation forward and deliver results.  But as we race into an uncertain future that role is increasingly under threat.

This is being driven by two things:

Firstly, as the rate of change accelerates in terms of enabling technologies and how people adopt and use those technologies it becomes ever more difficult to predict where things will go next.  If we don't know what's going to happen, how can we know how to respond?

And secondly, there are significant changes happening in the workforce with younger people especially wanting to take more control of their work and an increasing number choosing to operate outside of traditional organisation structures as freelance guns for hire.

How can the CEO drive a workforce that doesn't want to be driven to a future that's increasingly unclear?

Somewhere between hard and downright impossible!

Enter the CVO.

The job of the Chief Visionary Officer is to hold a compelling broad-picture vision of where the organisation is heading, and enthuse people to work towards the future as it unfolds.  

This approach gives people the context they need to work purposefully towards fulfilling the organisation's mission while adapting what they're doing depending on what's going on in the real world, in real time.  It also gives them the freedom to take ownership and carry out their work in the way that keeps them most in flow, which is the state where they can contribute most.

This will not be easy for many of us as it's a very different approach to what's taught in business school.

We will need to learn to let go of the 'how' - the small how of the operational detail - while keeping hold of the big 'How' of values and standards.

In short, we will have to re-learn our approach and attitude to our relationships with our teams and adopt more of a supporting and enabling role than ever before.

This is a skill we should aim to master NOW.  If we wait until we need to change it will be too late and we'll be overtaken by others younger and more nimble than ourselves.

Don't let that happen to you.