Chief People Officer Ken Finneran Discusses New Leadership Requirements in a VUCA World

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Leah Williams

The world is changing. Rapidly.

As Chief People Officer - Americas at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, it's Ken Finneran's responsibility to prepare corporate leaders to face this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) environment.

"The way that we view the VUCA environment, this 'new normal' as I oftentimes call it, is to look for individuals who have a certain amount of intellectual curiousity, a global mindset, are operationally sound, and are able to interact with individuals from different cultures," Finneran explains.

"The ability to deal with ambiguity in an integrated fashion, collate different perspectives and then come to a decision is important. We aren't looking for folks who just bring ideas to the table. We are looking for folks who can take those different ideas and diverse opinions and then make a decision, which will be in the best interest of the organization."

Finneran notes that developing the capacity to meet these new leadership requirements is critical. "HR can drive the key leadership competencies that we view as essential in the 'new normal' by developing certain capabilities."

"Our leaders are developing enhanced social communication skills, which we've done via reverse mentoring. For example, we pair Gen Y individuals with more seasoned executives. This allows the executives to pass along their business knowledge while the Gen Y or millennials can teach the executives some of the best tools nd ways to use social media."