… The future is where you apply it.
Survival of the fittest
161 years on and Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution feels very poignant. The need to embrace change or face possible extinction is perhaps too black and white in business. However, words like ‘adapting’ or ‘evolving’ to meet the needs of a changing environment do ring true. And as we head into 2021 and beyond “survival of the fittest” does hold more weight than ever before. Ambitious business doesn’t want to ‘survive’ it wants to create environments where its people and business can ‘thrive’.
The digital acceleration in 2021 has been eyewatering for many. In a recent survey, Mckinsey reported that businesses once mapped digital strategy in one-to-three-year phases now they must scale their initiatives in a matter of days or weeks. Notably, this puts increasing pressure on Leadership teams to learn quickly what is/is not working and why.
What is the people impact of change?
How do you ensure that your workforce is ready to keep up the pace of change? Are you leading in ways that enable your workforce to flourish and thrive? Significantly, 50% of the UK workforce are Millennials/Generation Z (Source: Institute of Leadership and Management). These generations are tech-savvy. They’re at ease with quick and efficient procedures driven by email, social networks, and databases. Millennials and Gen Z can adapt easily to new technologies and they’re ambitious. Moreover, they are not afraid to move on if they feel there’s limited growth opportunity. In addition, their energy is infectious.
Leadership that resonates with your workforce
The average age in the C Suite is 56 (Source: Nasdaq survey Jan 2020) making them Generation X (give or take a few years). To this end, the pandemic has challenged everything they once took for granted. As Generation X look to lead Millennials’ and Generation Z to a better future, do they really know how their workforce is ticking?
Every business has had to communicate more frequently with their workforce during 2020. At the very least employers have engaged with colleagues about Business Continuity and Public Health Information. However, many companies have engaged with more frequent and different ways to inform and listen to their workforce, such as:
- Annual Surveys – to understand the employee experience and gauge engagement and intention to stay
- Pulse Surveys –to get results/feedback for a project like training or culture. Often used to focus on issues like diversity and inclusion to measure progress since the last survey
- Always on – used throughout the year and increasingly so this year, to get adhoc employee feedback to spot trending issues/concerns
But do any of these reports indicate whether your workforce has the mindset needed to share and deliver the transformation needed to thrive?
Businesses will be forced to evolve and transform working practices to create a better future. Therefore, nurturing growth mindset working practices will be key to the pace and scale of transformation facing business.
To illustrate, Professor Carol Dweck’s research linked a growth mindset with many benefits in business including:
- higher motivation
- lower stress, anxiety and depression
- better work relationships, and
- higher performance levels
Does my workforce have a Growth or Fixed Mindset?
These are three indicators to consider:
- Do they fear feedback or failure? Are they asking for feedback on how they and their team are doing? Do they own and share their mistakes?
- Does your team reward effort not outcomes? Do they give feedback and show appreciation for the efforts and learning they can see unfolding rather than just the outcomes achieved?
- Does the business invest in training and development, create cultures of self-examination, and encourage open communication and teamwork?
With only two weeks until the New Year how will you activate a growth mindset in your workforce to achieve great outcomes for all?