Written by: Francesca Ciaudano
Francesca is a Senior Marketer with international experience spanning over 20 years within Fortune 100 corporations. Multi-awarded within the marketing, PR, media and advertising industries in the Middle East and globally. Recognized as Marketer of the Year for her breakthrough contribution to the MENA region in 2015 by the prestigious Effie Awards.
Amid of the current undeniable uncertainty, one thing is certain. The pre-pandemic way of working was not working.
It’s disheartening to see that as human species we need to be forced into something as dramatic as a pandemic to change. It wasn’t enough to have all the necessary signs proving us wrong. Seeing that the career ladder winners were in reality not winning. Long commute to work, unsustainable carbon footprint, wear & tear, too little time with family, stress and a long list of mental health issues that have worn us down but not been enough to motivate and drive a substantial innovation in the way we work.
Now we have been forced to take part in a mass experiment where we are all asked to quickly respond to new norms. I’m optimistic that this will give us the chance to introduce a post-pandemic way of working that is more human.
Agility, resilience & purpose is where we can all start.
1- Two-speed organisation.
“If the rate of change on the outside is greater than the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”, Jack Welch.
Big organisations are generally anything but agile. Their clock rarely mirrors the one of consumers who are always-ready. How can they add mechanisms to accelerate the reactiveness to the market?
The answer lays into adding a new gear to the system. A gear that consents to drive at a faster pace, where decisions-at-speed become a reality.
This can be accomplished in different ways, either with part of the business housed in separate units which act accordingly to more fluid systems. Or with C-Suite Taskforce operations within the existing structure.
To work effectively, those Taskforces are to be kept within a restricted core team of managers directly involved in the implementation of the task. Taskforce accountability means decisions are made by the people closest to the action. They own the issue and its outcome.
The objective is to shift to the market’s gear – not the one of the organization.
2- Finding meaning to build resilience.
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Viktor Frankl.
In his book “Man’s search for meaning”, Viktor Frankl, survived to four different WWII concentration camps, urges us to understand the impact of purpose on human existence.
“In some ways, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning”.
For an organization, purpose is defined by the raison d’etre that guides its growth and societal impact beyond profit. It has been widely proven that companies with a strong purpose are the ones that stay afloat and rebound much faster in difficult times.
“A purpose-driven approach facilitates growth in new ecosystems, it allows companies to broaden their mission, create a holistic value proposition, and deliver lifetime benefits to customers.” HBR
Hence, purpose is pivotal in unifying an organisation during dramatic changes, as it helps employees to understand the reasons behind the transformation.
Purpose is meant to drive strategies and actions of any company that wants to be resilient in the times of crisis and stay relevant in a fast-changing world.
Let purpose be the guide.
3- Cohesiveness that drives true real-time responsiveness
“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change” (attributed to Charles Darwin).
We can have plenty of real-time data to drive informed decision-making but if the team is not strongly integrated, horizontally-managed and engaged into intelligence-sharing the outcome will highly likely be suboptimal.
Team-cohesiveness, beyond data, is the key for real-time responsiveness.
From cross-functional agile teams to real-time feedback systems, every new connection driven by the desire to collaborate cross-functionally can be a new expression of the real-time responsiveness that today environment requires.
Now we have an opportunity to innovate how we lead. We can come out of this mass experiment in a more meaningful, sustainable, agile and resilient way than how we got into it.
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