What is worrisome about the new “normal”?

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Business owners are today at crossroads, a wide chasm separates all that was the pre covid era (era-if you may call it one) and what the foggy unclear future ahead.

While three has been reams written on how organisations should create a safe workplace for employees to return and follow all safety protocols. Intellectual discussion abounds (a.k.a dreary webinars with disinterested participants and panelist) on how to hire, retain, and motivate employees in post Covid scenarios.

And if you rebuild,  will your customers come back and what about your employees.  The moot assumptions are that everyone is just waiting to rush back once the pandemic is over… This merits another question just who will certify the pandemic is over? Or will it be ever fully over?

Perhaps it just may.

Existing research shows that fewer than a third (32%) are likely to do so. And that could very well be to with trust – towards the employers offering a safe workplace, toward their co-workers, their suppliers and everyone else they might interact. There will still be some who out of sheer necessity may step out. Here again, the leaders have a huge responsibility to reclaim the trust.

To rebuild the workplace of yesterday where camaraderie, bonhomie, friendship, travel and comfort might take effort and time.

Nobody is at fault here…not in an absolute sense.

With the recent discovery of a new ‘mutant’ variation of the virus, the medical fraternity is also divided on the efficacy of the vaccine on the new variant.

Here again, we are only focusing on recreating a safe work environment for our employees and customers. But what about their changing preferences? What should business leaders prepare themselves for? Will productivity take a back seat in place of new safety and compliance norms? Will manufacturing and production units ever get back to a pre-Covid operation level? Assuming that the new normal will be a hybrid model, will the new altered customer buying preferences have a huge impact on customer loyalties?

Will the no-touch online economy be the mainstay for all businesses.

Pertinent to note that people unwittingly have been cooped into the confines of their four walls for business, for work, for education for purchase, for entertainment, for socialising and for everything else for the last 10 months.

And they have adjusted,  accepted, and adopted  (albeit grudgingly) this new normal.

It’s now for us leaders to re-examine those critical to success parameters tweak the numbers and perhaps even redefine those buzz words that sound like market forecast, productivity, CSAT, SQL, MQL, CPL, Customer Retention, ROI etc

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Why is Change Management critical to an Organization’s growth?

It goes without saying that the most important asset for your business is your people. Given the constant state of flux that businesses manage in response to a fast-moving environment, it comes as no surprise that change will affect your people significantly if left unchecked.

 

Costly recruitment, time required to ramp up new recruits and deep knowledge about your business lost from departing employees affect the business enough to affect profit and general employee satisfaction over the long term.

 

Ensuring your business processes and strategies are setup to continuously evolve to remain competitive is known as Organizational Change Management (OCM).

 

A well-documented change management plan supports a smooth transition and ensure your primary asset (your people) are guided through this change with care and efficiency. Reality tells us that approximately 70% of change initiatives fail due to employees with negative attitudes and an unproductive management subverting the initiative either intentionally or unintentionally. Using a professional OCM consultant does ensure you remain in the winning 30%.

 

While it seems obvious, defining the change needed and aligning it to business goals is often missed as the first vital step. Articulating change is one thing but conducting a critical review relative to the organizations objectives and performance targets are another. Many businesses fail at this stage to merge strategy with financial support and ethical compliance. What do we need to change and why is this change needed are the two top questions that need to be asked.

 

Knowing what needs to change and why it needs to happen will then assist in determining the impacts of the change throughout the organization. The effect on each business unit must be assessed and the flow of change through the organizational structure must be reviewed to the individual. You will now have begun your blueprint to define where training and support will be required most in order to mitigate negative impacts. Key questions to ask at this stage include, what are the impacts of change, who is affected by this change the most and how well will this change be received by the organization?

 

With the identification of the critical areas in the organization that need extra attention, this is now a good time to develop your communication strategy. The most effective means to communicate to the group(s) or individual(s) involved must be defined as well as the timeline for how the change will be communicated. Define the key communication channels, messaging and mediums to be used. How the change is communicated and how the feedback will be managed are critical to this process.

 

Providing effective training due to the change may be required depending on your business re-alignment. It is important for your employees to be aware that they will receive training, whether structured or informal, skills and knowledge taught, or any other program identified to manage the change rollout process. Whether micro-learning modules, online training or a blended learning approach, they can take the form of anything from a face to face in person session(s) or on the job coaching and mentoring timeslots. Here is where your OCM team will identify what behaviors and skills are needed to meet change targets and how best to deliver them.

 

Another area of critical importance is how best to provide support, both emotionally and practically for the employees. Delivering the communication and retraining of skills may lead to cuts, redundancies and a restructure that specific employees will need assistance in order to navigate through this period with minimal extraneous stress. Management must be prepared to maintain mentorship and an open-door policy. Key areas to define are where will support be most needed and what types of support will be most effective.

 

Organizational change management is most effective over the long term when it is measured. A structure must be in place to measure the impact of the change, ensure documentation is maintained as well as to evaluate and note unexpected positive and negative situations. The goal is to ensure continued reinforcement related to support and training are in place and lead to increased proficiencies across the lines of business. Did the change meet the goals defined at the start, was the OCM process successful and what could have been done differently are all important questions to ask.

 

Organizational change management is successful when your business and employees learn and benefit from the change moving forward in a positive direction. Formally setting expectations, empowering employees with the tools needed and proactively communicating in order to reduce misinformation are critical. Stakeholder buy-in is more likely if this is delivered properly and commitment is over a longer period despite the initial discomfort of the change.

 

 

The Journey of a Leader – are you ready?

Leadership іѕ thе аrt оf mоtіvаtіng a grоuр оf реорlе tо асt towards achieving a соmmоn gоаl. Effесtіvе leadership is bаѕеd uроn іdеаѕ (whether оrіgіnаl or bоrrоwеd), but wоn’t hарреn unlеѕѕ those іdеаѕ саn be communicated tо оthеrѕ іn a way thаt еngаgеѕ thеm еnоugh tо act аѕ thе leader wants thеm to асt. A lеаdеr іѕ thе іnѕріrаtіоn аnd director of thе action. A good lеаdеr hаѕ a futuristic vіѕіоn аnd knоwѕ hоw tо turn hіѕ ideas into rеаl wоrld.

These competencies gets highlighted and evident as a person transitions into a new leadership role from an Individual Contributor (IC) role.  Some of the more evident competencies could include :

Hоnеѕtу аnd Intеgrіtу; Hоnеѕtу аnd іntеgrіtу are twо important іngrеdіеntѕ which mаkе a gооd leader. Hоw саn уоu еxресt уоur fоllоwеrѕ tо be hоnеѕt whеn уоu lack thеѕе quаlіtіеѕ уоurѕеlf? Lеаdеrѕ succeed whеn thеу ѕtісk to thеіr values and соrе bеlіеfѕ and without еthісѕ, thіѕ will nоt be possible.

Confidence; Tо bе an effective leader, you ѕhоuld bе соnfіdеnt еnоugh tо еnѕurе that оthеr fоllоwѕ уоur commands. If уоu аrе unѕurе аbоut уоur own dесіѕіоnѕ and quаlіtіеѕ, thеn уоur ѕubоrdіnаtеѕ wіll nеvеr follow уоu. As a leader, уоu have to be ооzіng with соnfіdеnсе, ѕhоw ѕоmе swagger and аѕѕеrtіvеnеѕѕ to gаіn the respect of уоur ѕubоrdіnаtеѕ.

Inspire Othеrѕ; Prоbаblу thе mоѕt dіffісult jоb fоr a lеаdеr іѕ tо реrѕuаdе others tо fоllоw. It can only bе possible if уоu іnѕріrе уоur fоllоwеrѕ bу setting a gооd еxаmрlе. Whеn thе gоіng gets tough, thеу look uр to you and ѕее hоw you rеасt to thе situation. If уоu handle іt well, thеу will fоllоw уоu.

Commitment аnd Passion; If you wаnt уоur tеаm to gіvе their 100%, thеn уоu wіll have to ѕhоw thаt уоu аrе соmmіttеd and passionate about thе gоаl. Whеn уоur teammates ѕее уоu gеttіng уоur hаndѕ dіrtу, thеу wіll аlѕо gіvе thеіr bеѕt ѕhоt. It wіll also hеlр уоu tо gаіn rеѕресt of уоur ѕubоrdіnаtеѕ and infuse new еnеrgу іn уоur tеаm mеmbеrѕ, which hеlрѕ thеm to perform bеttеr. If thеу fееl that you аrе not fullу committed or lасkѕ раѕѕіоn, then іt wоuld bе аn uрhіll task for thе lеаdеr tо mоtіvаtе уоur fоllоwеrѕ to achieve thе gоаl.

Good Cоmmunісаtоr; Until you сlеаrlу communicate уоur vіѕіоn tо уоur team and tеll them thе ѕtrаtеgу tо achieve the gоаl, іt will be vеrу difficult for уоu tо gеt thе rеѕultѕ уоu wаnt. Sіmрlу put, іf you аrе unаblе to соmmunісаtе your mеѕѕаgе effectively tо your team, уоu can nеvеr be a good lеаdеr. A good соmmunісаtоr саn be a good leader. Wоrdѕ hаvе the power tо mоtіvаtе реорlе аnd mаkе thеm dо thе unthіnkаblе. If уоu use thеm еffесtіvеlу, уоu саn аlѕо асhіеvе better rеѕultѕ.

Dесіѕіоn Mаkіng Capabilities; Aраrt frоm having a futurіѕtіс vision, a leader ѕhоuld hаvе thе аbіlіtу to tаkе thе right dесіѕіоn at thе right time. Dесіѕіоnѕ tаkеn bу lеаdеrѕ have a рrоfоund impact оn mаѕѕеѕ thеrеfоrе; іt іѕ іmреrаtіvе that they think long and hard before tаkіng a decision but оnсе thе dесіѕіоn іѕ tаkеn, ѕtаnd bу іt.

These are by no stretch of imagination a be-allendall comprehensive list of all the leadership competencies. There can never be such a bucket-list.

Leadership is a journey and not a destination and a lonely one at that too. During the journey these competencies might change priority and as newer one gets added, the older and less relevant relegates into the background.

Leadership is also a journey inwards – a journey of self-discovery.

 

 

The Place Of Curiosity In 21st Century Leadership.

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Is curiosity turning out to be the most important skill in a 21st-century leader? Is the traditional laid-back executive being overshadowed by the inquisitive guy?

You probably have heard leaders talk of a VUCA world. This term; which was used by the US military to mean volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, has become common among leaders today.

Leaders all over the world use this term to describe the ever-changing systems and terms of doing business. For instance, a few years ago the banking industry was one of the best employers in the world. Millions of people earned a living from it.

Then online and mobile banking was introduced to help customers transact their businesses from the comfort of their homes. Today very few people go to the bank. As a result, financial institutions will have to let go some employees, whose skills can now be performed by robots.

These changes have taken place within a relatively short period of time. How does such a creation affect the structure and styles of leadership? All banks have to adapt to these changes otherwise they will be out of business soon for customers have been saved from the long and annoying queues at the bank.

Imagine a banking executive who had just led the company in a staff hiring spree without seeking to know current and possible future trends in the banking industry. He is likely to fire more employees than the one who has been curious about modern trends in this industry.

The only way leaders will survive in a VUCA world is by being curious. According to Kathy Tarbener and Kirsten Siggins- the authors of ‘The Power Of Curiosity’- curiosity is the skill that leads to amazing discoveries.

Technology and politics are some of the factors that are constantly changing the business landscape. That leaves business owners and leaders with only one choice: to be informed at all times.

Some executives will argue that they have already invested in experts charged with the responsibility of developing new innovations. While great leaders give employees a chance to be inventive, they too need to be creative and informed at all times.

 Why should you as a leader be curious?

  • Curiosity will move you from the comfort zone to the magical world of inventions.You might discover:  new trends in your sector, performance gaps among your employees, new talents, and skills in your company or ways to bridge the gaps between existing models of operation and new ones.
  • Curiosity will give you a better understanding of your vision, and company objectives. That way you can easily map out the future.
  • Curiosity leads to new ways of solving problems.

How can you enhance curiosity?

  • Listen more so that you know what to ask.
  • Engage people in dialogue.
  • Ask relevant and appropriate questions.
  • Give the people you are talking to, your undivided attention.
  • Read.

Conclusion

Curiosity is an essential skill that any leader who wants to be effective in this century must develop. It is hard to cope with all the creations that emerge every day but with a little curiosity, you will know which way to lead the company.

Challenges for the new entrants to job market.

Lets face it. Job search has never been more easier and more tougher than in the recent times. And if it sounds like an oxymoron-it is one.

True the number of opportunities have opened up tremendously in the past few years not withstanding the seasonal economic fluctuations. But with the opportunities  the applicants too have increased multi-fold.  Organizations and their hiring managers are now more choosier than before in selecting the most “right” fit. Unfair one might say but whoever said making a fabulous career was fair in the first place. It comes with the territory.

Whilst the tools for searching a job has now  become easiest than in the last 100 years but the per capita applicant per job is gone up 100 fold too. The youngsters coming out from the colleges are tech savvier than before but quite naive as far as interpersonal skills are concerned. A great career requires dedication, perseverance , focus, efforts and hard work which I feel is greatly missing in today’s generation. This millennials are rooted to instant gratification as is evident with their choice of recreational means. Nowhere is seems to be more evident than in their approach to building a career.

The casual approach to what we once we described as a life altering decision is appalling.

info@skillsandpeople.com

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