2021 Volume 12 Issue 2 Pages 99-103
Environmental jolts are defined as “transient perturbations whose occurrences are difficult to foresee and whose impacts on organizations are disruptive and potentially inimical.” Environmental jolts are noteworthy because they: 1) expose critical linkages, 2) test leader and organization integrity and resilience, 3) surface values, and 4) reveal mindsets undergirding adaptive responses. They give rise to unconventional behaviors and afford latitude for experimentation. Jolts provide a unique and challenging context within which to develop global leaders and foster competences associated with global leadership.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global environmental jolt posing challenges for global leaders. The jolt exerts impact on multiple fronts. It includes a strong negative affective element. Established social support networks, both work/career-related and personal/social, have been curtailed, leading to greater challenge in maintaining psychological health. The suddenness and severity of the jolt quickly absorbed slack resources and forced many organizations to substantially curtail major portions of their business operations as well as furlough or cut back work hours for a sizable percentage of their workforce.
Three challenges emerge: 1) focused development on integrative roles and competences, 2) a need for innovation in development approaches, and 3) recognizing the jolt’s on openness to learn and grow.