How do Leaders drive value in an organisation? — Part 1

Deborah Wilson

upgrade core skills at work e1675137062349 | OnTalent
“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.”– Betty Bender

The year 2030 may seem like a while away, but companies that are looking to thrive in the future are already starting to reimagine what, where and how they can evolve to ensure they achieve their vision and strategy.

One of the key aims of successful organisations is to recognise the need to create an exceptional experience for people in the future, who will then go on to create an exceptional experience for customers. And as Betty Bender states, doing so should not require leaving your heart at home.

Let’s look at some key themes about how Leaders currently operate, engage with people and succeed. And as I mention these themes, consider how they may evolve in the future. No one has a crystal ball to see into the future — certainly not me. And sure, it depends on who you ask and listen to, but when I think about the key themes I’m hearing will dominate the future workplace, I think about hybrid workplaces, flexible work, people increasingly seeking out organisations that align with their values, ethics and purpose and more people being drawn to purpose-driven, meaningful work. And people taking a stand for what they believe in — think Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins, Netball Australia and lucrative sponsorship deals in recent times.

Key themes

1. Strategic partnering and trusted advisors

As a Leader, you are in a unique position. How do you become a trusted advisor? By building solid relationships, investing your time in your people, allowing people and leaders to be who they are, creating meaningful measurements and so on.

2. A focus on resilience and mindset: a focus on “we”, not “I”

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world forever. While the world is slowly returning to some sort of ‘normal,’ we’ve seen many people’s mindset shift considerably. When I think of some of the greatest leaders of all time — they never lead with the word “I”. This is especially important in the world of Leaders, where your role is primarily to support and develop others. Your role is, at times (maybe most times), a balancing act.

3. Curiosity and a willingness to explore – an open mindset, agility, interrogation

That good old statement, “Well, this is the way things have always been done,” is well and truly on its last legs in 2022. Companies that thrive can adapt and keep an open mindset—a mindset where anything is possible in the future. Consider a well-known example, Blockbuster Video. Blockbuster Video was doing great business with its video rental offerings in its heyday. In 2010, it went bankrupt. What went wrong? Too much debt and an inability to adapt to industry changes and how people consume their favourite movies, games and TV shows. Bottom line: Netflix created a superior business model, and Blockbuster Video had no answers.

4. Identifying themes and making links across the organisation

Knowledge is one thing. Having the ability to interpret this knowledge into something meaningful is something else. Being good at what you do as a Leader requires much observing, listening and honing your gut instinct.

5. Embracing data and financials

Financials are the backbone of any business. While data is helpful, data alone isn’t much use. It’s the interpretation of data that really matters. And going back to theme 3, the ability to interrogate the data is vital, rather than simply seeing things at a surface level. From what I’ve seen, the most successful Leaders have insatiable curiosity levels and aren’t afraid to ask open-ended questions.

6. Understanding accountabilities and risks

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Every company has risks. Yes, businesses can be hit hard by a lack of employees, but there’s more to it than that. Companies can be hit even harder by a lack of engaged employees. At OnTalent, we’re increasingly seeing talent management becoming a factor across the board in several ways. It’s also important to note that risk goes both ways. Sure, companies have risks, but in our current world, where the cost of living and automation is rising, employees also take on their own risk when accepting and choosing to join a company or to stay in a role.

7. Tolerance to colleagues and/or stakeholders; avoiding negativity

Most medium to large businesses have a diverse range of people—with their unique thoughts and opinions—who are interacting daily. Some people will inevitably get along, and others won’t. Likewise, some stakeholders will be more demanding than others. The foundation of every thriving business must be a strong culture and solid values such as mutual respect and formal, documented processes and policies. Nothing kills a business or a promising career faster than negativity. Especially at a time when employees are in the box seat in many ways, given that there is more demand than supply in the current workforce.

This article is part 1 of a two-part series. Stay tuned for part 2.

Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching, career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746.

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