The World is Changing
You’ve heard it before: the world is changing.
Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, data, privacy. Millennials, ageing populations, globalisation, digitisation. Political storms started by Twitter storms – climate change and real storms.
What does it all mean?
Change has always been a fact of life. But, the change we see today is different because it’s quicker and more unpredictable. This makes it harder for organisations to keep pace and stay ahead of the curve. Technology is revolutionising workflows across industries, and to succeed in today’s world, organisations need the skills to survive, or thrive.
Organisations of the Future
The working world is where our social, technological, economic and political lives meet. When the world around us is changing quickly and unpredictably, it can be hard to know where to start.
At NKD, we know where to start: your people.
88% of business leaders see the ‘organisation of the future’ as a top priority. But, what does this organisation look like? Many have tried to predict and prepare for the future, but they often forget something important; organisations are made up of people. In a world dominated by technology, we run the risk of forgetting what’s at the heart of organisations – and their success.
Organisations of the future need to be equipped to deal with change and uncertainty. That means their people need to have the skills and confidence to drive change, rather than be driven by it.
The Employees of Today and Tomorrow
The employees of today and tomorrow work in different ways from those of the past. Their working realities and expectations have changed. Organisations need to connect with them before they lose them. Statistics have shown that only 29% of millennials are engaged in their jobs, which is significant considering they make up over a third of the workforce today – a number that’s only increasing.
So, what does tomorrow’s generation of employees want in the workplace? First and foremost, they crave a sense of purpose. 64% of millennials say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place, and finding a higher meaning to the work they do every day is essential to keeping them engaged long-term.
How do they go about achieving these goals? Through structured development, quality feedback, and a sense of ownership over the work they do every day – and they want to feel listened to, valued and recognised while doing it.
The question is, how can a workplace deliver on these needs?
How Do You Drive Change?
The key to your workforce achieving their goals and staying engaged is leadership. Your leaders are the ones who realise these goals day to day, by connecting with people and providing the environment they need to succeed.
With 47% of employees ranking bad management as their top reason for wanting to quit their job, leadership has never been more important. Leaders are tasked with providing the human side of work and development that is so often missing. When employees are seeking an emotional connection with their organisation, they more often than not rely on leaders to deliver this experience. Wherever you’ve worked, you’ll have felt the impact of great, or terrible, leadership. The lucky amongst us will be able to describe the transformative impact of a great leader, mentor or coach.
To drive change leaders need to empower, not instruct. The employees of the future will want more and more autonomy and flexibility in the work they do, enabled by advances in technology. It’s up to leaders to facilitate a more confident and collaborative working environment that lives up to the possibilities of the future.
Where Your Leaders Are Now
Leaders today are struggling to deliver the change that they, and their people, want to see. Only a third of HR professionals feel confident about the leadership pipeline, and a lack of confidence often comes from a lack of clarity. Leaders today are uncertain about who and what they need to be, and their people aren’t feeling much better. 63% of employees don’t trust their leaders, and much like confidence, trust disappears when people are driven by fear or uncertainty. Leadership is in a state of perceived crisis, and clarity is urgently needed to give people leaders the confidence they need to drive change. Without change in leadership, you’ll struggle to see a change in your organisation.
Where Your Leaders Need to Be
Who exactly are these leaders of the future, and what do they need to meet change head on? You already have leaders, many of whom are driven to succeed. But, what comes first is a mindset shift; if leaders can embrace change, then their people will too. Building a culture of openness and transparency is crucial, and helps to build that important trust needed to drive change.
But, what about the change itself? To manage this, leaders need to move away from traditional structures, hierarchies and ways of working. The role of the leader has changed, in that they are no longer the keepers of knowledge. Thanks to technology, information is more accessible than ever, and knowledge sits with everyone, not just those at the top. To truly benefit from this, leaders need to empower rather than instruct their people.
Creating an environment where people are free to take risks, to fail, to try again and to learn, is essential for building a resilient workforce. It also gives people agency over the work they do, and a greater sense of responsibility. Leaders have the power to remove barriers to people’s performance, and they need to emotionally connect with them in the process. By doing this, leaders will be trusted by their people to drive change, and make sure that no one is left behind.
Generation Next Leaders
The problem is that leadership is difficult to define. We might know who our leaders are on paper – but in the new world, titles are not enough.
We isolated what leaders do to generate change, and created NKD’s Generation Next leadership model. This model allows us to define leadership and assess what organisations need to do to develop their leaders. This development enables your leaders to create the culture and environment to thrive. It allows them to make strategic goals real for their people and effect change.
That change may be big or small, but to drive change in this new world your leaders need the confidence, motivation and know-how to make it happen.
Investing in your leadership brings value that will deliver again and again. To meet the demands of tomorrow, the time to act is now; your people are waiting.
See our model ‘As a next generation leader I am an’ here