“I think we still need great leaders with vision, the ability to find and coach people, to encourage people, to help them renew themselves, to go forward……the future still depends on great leaders who reinvent themselves”.
~ Beth Comstock, Vice Chairman of GE, Head of GE’s business innovations.
As business owners and leaders of our organisations we are tasked with many things. Providing the vision and defining the organisation's mindset, engaging the best in people and managing change and culture rank highly in importance. This is becoming increasingly challenging in a world facing exponential change, as we are charting a course through times of ambiguity and uncertainty.
While the old is on the way out, the new has not completely emerged. It is tricky trying to make sense of what’s ahead and what we need to do to adapt. Maintaining awareness of new developments and a readiness to change are a must if we are to stay competitive and relevant. We must be ready to adapt, and reinvent ourselves and our organisations and to ensure our staff do so as well.
The challenges and opportunities ahead:
- Data overload and how to manage it: We can capitalise on this by using data to gain a competitive advantage - using the abundance of knowledge and insights to create new customer experiences and business models.
- Surviving in an increasingly competitive environment: We can re-imagine and reinvent how things can be done to reduce costs, increase production, speed and quality of operations.
- Machines encroaching on the work that people currently do: This can free us from the more mundane, tedious tasks to do more of the work that we do well and which engages our uniquely human strengths and qualities. We can get more creative, and tap into empathy and relating skills to building relationships and develop innovations.
There has never been a better time to embrace the best of our human-ness. If we are to adapt and reinvent ourselves and our organisations, now is the time to do some self-exploration, reflection and self-development. It is a time to reconnect with the strengths and genius within and to fine-tune our vision and mindsets. It starts with developing and empowering ourselves and our employees.
Here are some tips from a leader with an extraordinary mindset who has already implemented some innovative ideas into her organisation. Beth Comstock is Vice Chairman of GE and heads GE's business innovations. GE is a great example of a company changing the rules of the game in their industry. Here are Eight Principles of Exponential Leadership, which Beth presented at the Abundance 360 CEO Summit, as shared by Peter Diamandis.
1. Be a Mission-Based, “Emergence Leader”: Your job as leader is to manage change and culture. Change is sudden and disruptive. An emergence leader is constantly focused on and ready for change.
2. Organise and Restructure around Information Flows: Information is fast-moving in the digital age. To keep up, ditch the hierarchy and build in openness, radical feedback and full transparency.
3. Empower Individuals: Build a team of people who are prepared for change and empower them to do their best by giving them autonomy. Get people excited to own their power.
4. Provide the Vision and define the company's "Mindset Orientation". Create the mindset to incentivise your team to do their fastest in the best way they can. Allow them to figure their way out. They may fail. Encourage them to fail fast, to learn from their mistakes and keep going.
5. Establish Feedback Loops: As a leader be prepared to both give and receive feedback, and ensure that you actually use it. Feedback loops might look like this:
- Instead of just relying on performance reviews enable anyone to give anyone else feedback.
- Ask your team very direct questions, such as: "What is the one thing that is true that you think I don't want to hear?"
- Stick to simple feedback mechanisms rather than long, convoluted employee surveys. Ask for feedback such as "Continue doing......." "Consider changing ......."
6. Get comfortable with Ambiguity and Uncertainty: This is the key to surviving the change that is coming. "Get used to the ambiguity of working with people who know how to figure it out and who don't need as much instruction."
7. Mash up Minds and Machines: Use technology to best advantage by developing collaborations between people and machines; between artificial intelligence and the people operating in their company, your customers and executives. Teams that don’t do this will be left behind.
8. Prioritize Innovation and Observe the Patterns that Block it: Navigate the tension. Don’t give up or back-off. Hold the team accountable for growing and stick around to see the patterns and to understand what went wrong.
Start with these 3 things:
- Start with You. Get to know how you can enhance your personal impact. Understand your strengths, challenges and potential pit-falls so that you can better manage these. Be aware of the leadership style that is best suited to you and to managing change.
- Define your organisation’s Vision: Reconnect with your Mission, Vision and Purpose and re-imagine how it can be aligned with the future. How does your organisation’s vision need to change and how can you embed innovation and adaptability into your organisation?
- Develop, Engage, and Empower People: People are the foundations on which your business operates. Invest in finding, developing and empowering them show up at their best and to do their best. Finding the right people and helping existing staff to reconnect with their strengths and develop their potential.
Get ready for the new era in business. Be on the lookout for what's coming. The future belongs to the leaders who are prepared to constantly reinvent themselves, and who can lead and encourage their people to renew themselves and their organisations in order to move forward.
So set the vision and create the right mindset. Get focused on what's changing, be prepared to reinvent and ready to adapt. Mash up minds and machines: Engage and empower those around you to do their collaborative best, combining the power of human potential and technology.
Make a Start Now
The changes you make now are critical for getting ready for the new era. With the fast-paced evolution of technology, and its impact on human roles, there has never been a better time to embrace your human-ness. Reconnect yourself and your staff with your authentic best and unrealised potential. Get ready to see opportunities and to understand the qualities, strengths and talents that you can tap into to help you stay agile, to reinvent yourself to complement technological resources and to better-meet the demands of tomorrow.
Get in touch to organise your personal impact strategy discussion to find out how you can get started.