What is Fifth Wave Leadership?
The waves we refer to are the dramatic changes in human history that defined and redefined the fundamental nature of society at the time. These waves represent the growth and progress of civilization itself.
FIRST Wave – Agricultural Revolution
The transition from a society based on hunting and gathering to one involving the cultivation of crops and the raising of animals for food.
SECOND Wave – Industrial Revolution
The transition to mass production of goods and services, which resulted in:
- The creation of jobs as a structured means of defining work
- The creation of institutions such as business and government as places in which work was performed for pay
THIRD Wave – Technological Revolution
The invention of the microchip and the development of computers launched a transition that fundamentally changed the very nature of work itself and the institutionalization of jobs.
FOURTH Wave – Information/Communications Revolution
This is the wave we have been experiencing for the past number of decades and one that will continue to evolve in the coming years, as evidenced by the Internet. Technology has provided the means to collect, distribute, and use information in ways that were unimagined even a few years ago. The challenge we now face is deciding what is relevant and how to use it.
FIFTH Wave – Intrapersonal Revolution
This is the developing wave of the future; the key to personal and organizational success in the twenty-first century. As the Fifth Wave advances, it will revolutionize how people deal with the emotional and psychological impact of expanding knowledge and unrelenting change. Individual performance and quality of life will reach new heights by focusing on the internal frontier within each person.
The Fifth Wave focuses on self-discovery first, and then moves to the critical elements of relationships, commitment, and accountability. This focus allows organizations to clarify and act on core values, which will ultimately serve to create a tangible and unified culture.
Employees who develop the capacity for self-analysis and adaptive learning will provide organizations with a remarkable competitive advantage.
Leadership in the Fifth Wave will require uncomfortable introspection, a willingness to eliminate dysfunctional behaviors, and a determination to model a culture that can tolerate unpredictability, uncertainty, and vulnerability.
This is the context for our work.