Fun fact: we are never going back to the way things were.
Pre-COVID, we were already in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution; because of technology, major industries such as tourism, banking, and entertainment were being “disrupted.” If your industry was not being disrupted it was only a matter of time. Today, as the world faces social, economic, health, and environmental challenges, we are all being thrust into major disruption. Today, if you want your business to survive and thrive you are being called to become an innovative disruptor and a master at change management. To do so requires a mindset that can re-imagine everything, distributed teams that feel supported, connected, and collaborative, and a strategy that is fluid and clear.
I recently had a conversation with a business owner who shared with me (with a big cheeky grin on her face) that “every idea I’ve ever had — and have been reluctant to implement because of my team’s aversion to change — I’m trying now. I’m seeing that employees and customers are more adaptable than ever. If something works out, it’s a win that we celebrate, it bolsters confidence and engagement. And if it doesn’t work out, we try something new.”
This type of agile, innovative thinking, and action requires a growth mindset. It requires a mind wired for new ideas and solutions to our 21st-century challenges. A few of these challenges include attracting top talent, engaging staff across diverse cultural backgrounds, and keeping remote teams connected and collaborating while they juggle their family responsibilities. To address these challenges, we need to be focussed on solutions and letting go of old mental models. A growth mindset calls for seeing all challenges and failures as opportunities, or key learnings for moving forward. What challenge is your business facing today and how do you need to shift your mindset to address the challenge? What do you need to be focussing on right now?
Workforce management is a “right now” challenge for many of our clients. Do we need more or fewer employees? Should we hire more freelancers or contractors? Do we need this much space? How do we keep our remote team connected and collaborating? Can we do more with less? A recent engagement survey conducted by Indeed in their own organization reported that employees want to feel supported fully in their roles. Addressing the question of workforce management and employee support requires re-evaluating and re-imagining everything: technology, roles, responsibilities, processes, systems, core competencies, accountabilities, etc. It also requires that we care about and can empathize with our employee’s challenges outside of the office.
When re-evaluating and re-imagining, we recommend you bring together a group of employees that best represents your corporate values. Together you co-create what the future should look like while keeping employee experience in mind. The employee experience needs to include feeling safe to bring their whole selves to work. It should include having access to a coach or mentor to assist with moving through all problems and challenges. When we co-create the future and support the whole employee, we show employees that they are valued. When employees feel valued, we build trust and ultimately, accelerates the execution of our strategy.
Another “right now” challenge is how far down the road to focus strategy; increasingly we are seeing strategic planning becoming more and more agile. Strategy is no longer contained in a static word document. Rather it is dynamic, fluid, clear to all, with defined objectives and accountabilities. Companies are implementing agile principles to move quickly and easily. Shorter planning cycles, failing fast, adapting, and testing are no longer just the way of start-up tech companies. In real-time, everyone on your team should be able to say where you are going and understand what that means for their role, their competencies, and their responsibilities.
I believe in the resourcefulness of entrepreneurs and their businesses to see us through this incredibly challenging time. We all know that some of the most successful top companies were founded during downtimes. And one of my favourite little reminders is that the renaissance movement followed the black plague. In order for your business to thrive during these uncertain times, it is up to you to adopt a growth mindset that unlearns old beliefs and stays focussed on what matters now, to listen to your employees to co-create for maximum employee experience, and to define a plan that is fluid and agile.