Cutting through to the future
The reopening of hairdressers in the UK was, no doubt, treated with a collective sigh of relief if not a little cheering. Well that’s how it went in my household.
In the past week I’ve been fortunate enough to have said haircut – the first in 5 months. I’m delighted and yet I feel horribly exposed having had the redundant growth chopped away. Of course, what dropped to the cutting room floor wasn’t needed – including a terrible fringe that was obscuring my view.
And there is the challenge. Where do we need the metaphorical ‘haircut’ for our leadership and our organisations, restyling and reshaping for what comes next? I’m not talking about shedding staff here…rather paying attention to our focus, our mind-set, to the behaviours and practices that are no longer relevant in a 21st century organisation transitioning to a very different future.
What needs to be restyled in both leadership and organisational terms? Some of the things we must consider are…
- Focus on purpose and less on profit. Leader and organisational purpose which has contributing to a better world for all at its heart will help create workplaces in which people gladly invest their best effort because their work has meaning.
- Focus on stakeholder value rather than solely enriching shareholders. Stakeholders within organisations and outside have greater expectations that business will step up to a different, more socially responsible mark going forward. And we can see moves in this direction already. The American Business Roundtable’s restatement of the Purpose of a Corporation last year is one example of the business world starting to reshape to the positive. The ever-growing B Corps movement is populated by organisations truly putting their money where their mouth is. Meanwhile the practice of sustainable investment is growing with some shareholders looking to the longer-term future of society and the planet rather than the quick return. This infographic from BlackRock shows how things are changing sustainable-investing/the-new-normal
- Focus on trust rather than control. Our current world conditions show how little control we have over events. Instead we must rely on trust – of ourselves and the people around us to make the right decisions and adjustments as needed. With many businesses working from home trust will have been part of the formula that supported continuing organisational effectiveness and delivery.
- Focus on humanness rather than professional veneer. This is about leading through the heart, extending kindness and compassion even when we have to be tough. It’s about showing our vulnerability – our concerns and uncertainties, our lack of knowing the answer – to build the deeper relationships that generate high engagement and high performance.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. You may, on reflection, have more to add. Making a shift in each of these areas may feel exposing, somewhat hairy if you like, and yet make a big difference to how we lead and the positive impact our organisations have.