It’s been frequently noted that the Chinese symbol for crisis is composed of two components; one represents danger and the other opportunity. In today’s highly disrupted world can there be no more appropriate symbol of our times?
To paraphrase the great Charles Dickens, the modern business environment might best be characterized as “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.
Not many industries are immune to this disruption, as the converging forces of technology, non-traditional competitors, customer expectations, regulatory policy, cryptocurrency, employee expectations, trade and economic policy and social media to name but a few, are creating sweeping changes across the business landscape.
Most days on LinkedIn you will see a post where the new modern-day disruptors are heralded; Amazon, Airbnb, Uber, Ali Baba, Google, Facebook and numerous others staking a claim in industry after industry. Or in other cases, technology is fundamentally creating massive changes to established industry business models like what is happening today with the explosion of renewable generation energy sources and storage technologies, coupled with the rapid electrification of many forms of transportation. And throw in the impending disruption of autonomous vehicles for good measure.
So how do leaders respond? What will Leaders need to do to ensure their organizations not just survive but thrive in this brave new world? While the answer to that question takes many forms, it’s clear a new type of leadership is needed. Several key elements will be required to meet the challenges that lie ahead. They include, (but will not be limited to, because we can be assured that the old saying “change is the only constant” has never been truer):
- Creating a culture that truly fosters multiple avenues for meaningful input for all employees. Not every suggestion needs to be acted on but harnessing input and more importantly, acting on much it is vital in today’s ultra-competitive world.
- Allowing for high levels of employee involvement to help capitalize on the best opportunities, solve the most pressing problems, and mitigate the greatest risks to your business.
- Multiplying the effects of input plus involvement to inspire productive and constructive employee engagement. It’s true that the answers to the most important questions almost always lie inside the four walls of the organization and they just need a leadership approach and style that draws them out.
- Ensuring there is a purpose-driven environment to inspire employees to drive the internal transformation agenda equally as fast as the external market is being disrupted. Employees today, regardless if their Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y or Millennials crave purpose and meaning if you want them to bring their “A” game each and every day.
Collectively at Lighthouse NINE, we have decades of real, practical experience as senior executives and consultants in developing leaders who rise to the occasion and successfully meet the challenges of disruption. If you’d like to hear how we can help, check out www.lighthouse9.ca.