The world is accepting applications from a new breed of leaders who possess exponential thinking! That’s right, in these exponential times where rapid growth and change is exploding in every industry and every corner of the globe, there’s a high demand and need for exponential leaders. There are leaders all around us, at every level of an organization and even people who are self-employed. But are these leaders ready to for the change that the exponential age is bringing? Will they be able to manage the information explosion and intensely increasing competition? Are they agile and resilient to withstand the rapid changes we’re experiencing? Will they be able to capitalize on the abundance of opportunities that lie ahead?

These and other such questions are what we should be asking off every leader (if they aren’t already asking themselves the same). The 21st century demands from leaders are far more aggressive and intense than what was experienced in the past centuries. To really make an impact and stand out as an exponential leader the first step would be to alter your mindset and transform yourself into an exponential thinker. But that alone won’t support your legacy.

1. Mindset Realignment

As a baseline starting point, nothing significant and no true impact can be made without a solid mindset that understands, accepts and embrace change as the new culture. The old ways of doing things, thinking, troubleshooting, brainstorming and all that are changing (though they haven’t completely disappeared yet). Leaders today are supporting teams make sense of the new emerging trends and harvesting a culture around it. If you look around yourself you’ll find several disruptions that have altered how we approach and do business. And there’s more to come! Exponential leaders will keep a pulse on these changes and be on the lookout (if not predicting it) for more changes to come. Beth Comstock, Vice Chairman of GE, has dubbed these as “Emergence Leaders”.

Leaders need to also provide their teams with a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) to strive towards, fuel their passion and encourage them to exploit their abilities to find solutions and materialize the overall vision. Exponential Leaders inspire innovation and empower their teams, through autonomy, to be bold risk-takers. Sure not all initiatives, ideas and innovations can be successful but the key is to fail fast, learn from mistakes and keep pursuing more opportunities.

2. Information is Supreme

Information today is moving faster than ever before. The communication age has given way to the information age, where accessing and sharing information is easy, fast and effective. Exponential leaders understand that information isn’t something to withhold, it’s to share frequently and openly. How else do you expect to transfer knowledge, ideologies and foster a deeper understanding of your organization’s purpose if you aren’t transferring information rapidly and frequently.

What’s also imperative is that the information is candid – that means you have to let go of bureaucracy and hierarchy. To succeed in the digital age you’ll have to be open to radical and rapid communication, constant and open feedback, and full transparency.

3. Rise of Machines

You’ve heard of autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, robots, wearable tech and all those machines that are rapidly becoming a part of our lifestyle and business. Machines are not just the future, they’re quite frankly our present as well. As an exponential leader you’ll use technology to your advantage and combine its power of computing with the human talent of your team. A harmonious merger of two strengths within your business – humans and machines – to transform your organization into an efficient, innovative and disruptive force.

Of course, the starting point is to automate and bring in technology to as many functions within your organization. It’ll require a shift in people’s work-life and change within your organization. But that change is the necessity to fuel progress.

4. Cultivate Synergies

With so many rapid changes, pressure to innovate and high-performing talent around you, you’re bound to spark a stressful environment. It happens when there’s so much at stake and there’s a constant pressure to be innovative, relevant and keep the momentum going. It’s a tough world out there! As an exponential leader you should be prepared to deal with such situations where gossip, blame passing, and in-fighting arise. All this is detrimental to productivity and team morale. It’s a cancer within an organization that blocks progress.

Your role as the leader is to develop strong synergies within your organization and maintain it. You’ll hear a lot of gossip and rumors. Address them early and nip it at the bud. It’s important that you sit teams down and exchange open dialog to resolve matters, clear the air and move ahead stronger.

5. Culture Ambassadors

Leaders are the flag bearers of culture. It’s not something that you can rely on your team to cultivate themselves, nor can you delegate it. Leaders must own up to developing and nurturing their organization’s culture themselves and give it high priority. You may have change agents within your organization but as exponential leaders it’s you who must amplify it across the organization.

Whether you want to encourage innovation or reduce bureaucracy, it won’t happen without the leader’s involvement and ambassadorial role to shape the culture. Sure, most times leaders get caught up with strategic planning, board meetings and all those leader-type responsibilities, however, exponential leaders know that this too is high on their list of priorities. In fact, could easily say whether your organization succeeds or not is directly linked to the culture you promote.

Much work is cut out for exponential leaders in these rapidly changing and growing times. There are high expectations from leaders and living up to them is going to be a constant challenge. Whether exponential leaders truly are successful or not can’t be guaranteed, but one thing’s certain – change is coming and exponential leaders must be prepared to embrace it.