What does a growth mindset look like for your business?

Looking back over the last two years shows us just how quickly things can change. As a leader,  what are you doing to adjust to what has changed, and prepare for what is to come? 

If you want to be a leader at the forefront of change, the time is now to embrace a new way of leading. 

Expert Advice: Trust Your Instincts.

When corporate leaders were asked what advice they’d give their past self, many responded with something like this: trust your instincts, commit, and move quickly. 

While no one can predict the future with any certainty, we can look for trends that can help direct and prioritize our focus. Here are a few trends worth noting. 

Put people first.

We all have different priorities when it comes to our work life. But according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), depression causes an estimated 200 million lost workdays annually and costs employers somewhere between $17 billion and 44 billion. This is huge. 

Leaders of the future must create cultures where employee well-being comes first. Implementing change like this starts at the top. Every person on a company’s executive team must be committed to workplace well-being, willing to live a holistic lifestyle where top priorities are physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. People are craving balance in life; and leaders who ignore or resist it will find it hard to keep good talent.  

Invest in developing your employees.

Many people are faced with uncertainty around their jobs–will they be replaced by sophisticated automation or AI technology? A study published in 2013 by researchers at Oxford University estimates that just under 50 percent of the U.S.’s total employment has a high risk of automation over the following two decades.

The concern is real and unsettling. That’s why leaders must embrace upskilling their workforce. 

That may look like: 

  • Mapping out a program focused on learning new technologies and software
  • Advancing job-specific knowledge and skills 
  • Teaching effective management and leadership techniques, such as empathy, listening, problem-solving and communication 

Address inequality within your culture.

It’s a leader's responsibility to ensure that the workplace is as fair and equitable as possible. It isn’t easy to know where to get started, but ensuring fair compensation is a good place to start. Complete a full assessment of employee compensation, looking at it from all angles such as gender, role and the gap between individual contributors, mid-level managers and executive leadership. Then address the inequalities.

What are other ways to tackle inequality in the workplace? 

  • Invest in bias training that focuses on experience sharing and teaching intersectionality
  • Create safe spaces for under-represented people to access support and share their stories 
  • Review and revamp your hiring practices to source more intentionally and tap more diverse candidate pools

Build your technology infrastructure.

Seth Godin’s recent blog post on shifting your tech time horizon shared this: “Ten years ago, if you were as good at using networks and software as you are today, most of your peers would have considered you some sort of wizard. The question isn’t whether or not each of us is going to get better at using our tools, the only issue is: how soon?”

There is no doubt that the future is built on technology and the vast majority of companies and governments are not ready for what’s to come. Tradeoffs will have to be made, such as investing in your company’s infrastructure rather than growth. The right technology will help companies support sustainable growth and agility to change when the next crisis or disruption hits. 

There is no time like the present to invest in your technology infrastructure. Sit down with your leadership team and plan through different scenarios. As questions such as:

  • What technology do we know we need now? 
  • What might we need in the future? 
  • How do we build an agile system that can change as we change? 

Once you’ve had these discussions, create a roadmap and outline priorities, investments and talent requirements. Then create simple use cases for your top priorities or low-hanging fruit and start implementing change. 

Be willing to experiment (and be wrong).

There is one thing we can be certain of: change and disruption in the future are inevitable.  What you did yesterday probably won’t work tomorrow. As we experienced in March 2020, things can change that fast. To be future-ready, you must be willing to try new things, to experiment, and to make mistakes along the way. 

The more you get used to adapting, learning, growing and pivoting, the better off you (and your organization) will be. Economic instability will be a factor for some time to come, and embracing an experimenter’s mindset will help you stay ahead of the curve.

While there can be great fear in the unknown, there is also an incredible amount of opportunity. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to move quickly once you’ve committed to something. Now is the time to create an organization that supports your employees, customers and helps change the world for the better.