Today’s New York Times reports on Xi Jinping, next in line to assume leadership of China. Xi’s rise has been founded on ” political acumen, family connections and ideological dexterity”. Nice combination.

Political acumen and ideological dexterity translate to “agility”, that critical capacity for negotiating turbulent environments as Chinese political power has become more diffuse. And Xi’s track-record has pushed the edge of the innovation envelope including experiments with foreign investment, entrepreneurship, and linking the party with the private sector.

Guiding an organization into an uncertain future requires a willingness to experiment at the margin. That’s the hallmark of successful, long-lived organizations ( see Arie DeGeus‘ “Living Company”). Contrasting with the edge is the capability of a leader to link or connect with the essential nodes of the organization. Malcolm Gladwell described this role as a “connector”

Pretty impressive beginning: the Chinese “Right Stuff”.

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Agility at the Edge: Initial Hypothesis on Chinese Leadership

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