Bev Hancock: Business Strategist & Team Building Specialist
THE Global Leadership Forecast 2018 predicts six leadership mega-trends that will shape the changing world of work. The world needs digital-ready, data savvy leaders who understand the impact of technology on the very human side of business. As HR navigates a challenging road ahead, the focus on preparing people, accelerating talent potential and creating a meaningful workplace is taking centre stage. A key trend is that an agile and inclusive culture is one of the cornerstones of successful leadership.
We have a choice – either “culture eats strategy for breakfast” or strategy and culture choose to eat together and create a “power breakfast”. This will connect the heart of your strategy with the best of your people and create a place where they want to come to work. The most successful cultures are purpose-driven. It provides psychological safety for experimentation, innovation and diverse gender and generational views.
Here are some practical steps to build an agile and inclusive culture that drives profit and purpose. ý Change “buy in” to “belief in” How often does executive management go away and craft a magnificent vision based on a set of values that have both gravitas and passion? They come back, excited, looking forward to getting the “buy-in” of the team. So the communication roll-out begins. Quirky posters, e-mail banners, carefully constructed messages, conferences and town halls are all put in place to trumpet the new vision. So why is the response often less than overwhelming, with a touch of scepticism and “wait and see?”
This is not heard at formal gatherings, but in conversations in the passage, parking lot and the taxi. To shift “buy-in” is to shift behaviour – getting them excited. To shift “belief” is an internal process involving listening, finding shared meaning and connecting employees to the “WHY” of your vision and strategy. In the changing world of work, employees are very aware that any strategy is going to ask more of them. When they believe in what they’re doing and where they’re going, that is when you release that extra-mile behaviour. ý Talk rather than at your people. Old-fashioned management training used the term “managing by walking around”. Sometimes going back to basics is just the place to start.
By engaging in conversation, discovering shared values and mining the wisdom inside your organisation you will start an organic conversation. This will release excitement from the shop floor upwards and people will just “get it”. You will co-create the language of your future success together with your employees, one conversation at a time. ý How do you know you are not doing this? See the response you get on your communication efforts. Do you sense resistance, scepticism or the old timers who know that if they wait for six months, things will go back to normal? When your employees start selling your vision to you, you know they have connected their own internal meaning with the purpose and vision of the company. This way you will turn whiners into winners.
Leadership in 2018 no longer has the luxury of separating strategy and culture or of perpetuating autocratic top-down leadership styles. The style of future leaders is to include coaching and conversational intelligence into the leadership skill-set. To listen deeply to their people and to make culture a strategic imperative. Create a culture where your employees love Monday.