Bonar Institute Logo
Anticipant Leaders & Anticipant Organizations Are Better Positioned for Innovation - Bonar Institute for Purposeful Leadership


Two recent Bonar Institute Webinars explored themes in purposeful leadership. Major General (Retired David Fraser, a Bonar Institute colleague, discussed in a June, 2022 webinar, Leadership in Uncertain Times – Developing Resilience, the need for anticipant leadership to proactively transform organizations to anticipate change. I find that the webinars discuss complementary perspectives under the theme of purposeful leadership.

Anticipant leadership.

David discussed the need for anticipant leadership due to the unprecedented nature and scope of technological change, pandemics, and the compression of time in which change occurs.

The title of David’s July 2021 blog highlights the issues: Anticipant Leadership – New Rules for Leadership in the Digital Society.

We are in a “nano-crisis” – “a predicament or calamity whose origins lie in the dependence of an organization on a digital system, and whose speed and scale preclude immediate mitigation by humans.”

Machines work faster than humans and with more precision. David noted how artificially intelligent machines and algorithms essentially are becoming colleagues of humans.

I particularly like David’s quote: “When you cannot participate, you must anticipate.”

An “anticipant entity” is “committed to readying itself for effective action by identifying likely events, conceiving appropriate responses and rehearsing them in advance of any occurrence.”

Resilient anticipant leaders must foster trust to promote interactive communication for organizational transformation from reactionary to anticipant.

The ability to anticipate change and thrive requires innovation.

Applied innovation.

In July, 2022 applied innovation experts Tim Basadur and Steve Thode of the Basadur Applied Innovation, reminded us in their webinar, Leadership for Purposeful Innovation, of the need for leaders to foster an organization-wide innovation culture.

This requires leaders to help their “organizations to speak a common innovation language – one that fosters empathy and trust.”

The Basadur team developed a proprietary tool, the Basadur Profile, that individual team members can use to assess their unique personal innovation styles. Each team member can be identified as a generator, conceptualizer, optimizer, or implementer.

Individuals, of course, work in teams. When all team members understand each other’s innovation style, as well as the style tendency of the team, everyone has greater empathy for other team members, which increases trust.

For example, a team map can reveal that a team is composed of a high number of implementers and a few optimizers.

Such a team might be proud of its “firefighting abilities” that “favors analysis and quick fixes to short-term efficiency problems” but which “typically spends little or no time discovering valuable new opportunities or creative new ideas.”

With better understanding of the profiles of individuals and teams throughout their organizations, anticipant leaders can adjust organizational structures and incentives to create and motivate teams to come up with creative solutions for collective organizational success.

Anticipant leaders can better position their organizations not only to anticipate change, but to embrace an opportunity for incremental innovation; even proactive innovation when incremental innovation might not be needed.

Purposefully innovative organizations are better prepared to anticipate change. I encourage you to view our webinars, which are available the Bonar Institute’s YouTube channel.


Copyright © 2022 Bonar Institute for Purposeful Leadership Inc, All rights reserved.