Leadership conversations for the new world of work
Cultivating movement through practices grounded in possibility…
Einstein famously said, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Today, our organisations are being asked to face entirely new sets of challenges – challenges that are constantly shifting and evolving. We are being asked to step up and change our perspective, shift our focus and reframe how we see the business landscape we operate in.
Many of us have swiftly moved into action, but have we taken a pause to consider what new practices, thinking and conversations we need to bring to the table?
What new leadership approaches can we explore? How can we chart meaningful progress for our team through a new leadership lens? What new ways do we need to be communicating with each other and what are the qualities that sit behind this?
The Ministry of Work was founded on a simple premise – when we can change the way we work, we will change the world. Addressing leadership and culture issues at the core, lifting the lid on human motivation and reframing why it is we ‘work’, underpins what we do.
Our leadership model of grounded possibility is the perfect place to start when considering the type of leader – thinking and conversations – required to inspire meaningful ideas and solutions for the new normal. This proprietary model maps a pathway to harness creativity based on sound data, or knowledge, towards the idea of grounded possibility (more on this in the picture below).
Outlined are our leadership types in context of COVID19 – where do you sit?
No really, pause for a minute. Which profile best describes you?
Consider the last conversation you had with your team or a colleague. Were you solely focused on new ideas and opportunities to pivot and drive growth? Were you exchanging COVID19 horror stories back and forth? Were you drawn back to business as usual?
Thinking about leadership practices grounded in possibility, ask yourself these four questions:
1. How can you uncover clarity?
A lot can happen in one week. The information found with a quick phone scroll, on our tv screens and in conversations can be complex and overwhelming. For many of us, it’s important that we are tuned into current public health guidelines and news as well its impact on our industries. So, how can you help your team find that balance? It starts with you. What information are you choosing to consume? What does the team need to know? What do they need to be thinking about? Could you share what’s happening ‘out there’ in small doses? How can you help them grapple with our new world without the information and negativity overload? This takes me to my next question.
2. How can you seek and create perspective?
Have you sought expert counsel and advice from those in your network and industries that may have different experiences, insights and perspectives? There is plenty of panic and confusion out there – how can you dispel the myths in your workplace? Where can you seek wisdom – it might be from other industries doing well, from leaders in history (Winston Churchill comes to mind) or your own inner wisdom. Think about the ‘so what?’ to move your team’s thinking and conversations beyond speculation and into what this means for the team, company and your industry as a whole so they can adapt quickly and strategically.
3. How can you be open and honest?
There is no doubt that we are experiencing difficult times, and there are more ahead for most businesses and organisations. It’s been well documented that life won’t return to normal once we emerge from our homes. Economic uncertainty will continue to play out for the years to come. Traditional business and consumer structures and practices have been uprooted. New or emerging players have widened their market share and will continue to do so in the next normal. How are you preparing your team for the challenges that lie ahead? While we don’t have a crystal ball, there are educated decisions (see Q1 and Q2) that can be made to prepare us for the new season. For some companies, it could be an appropriate time to be more transparent with the numbers. It could be acknowledging expense and pay cuts and/or redundancies are on their way. It could be redeploying team members for the first time or extending redeployment for the foreseeable future. Are you tackling the tricky decisions and hard conversations now, so the team is able to start exploring longer-term structures and ideas for the future?
4. How can you point people towards purpose?
Faced with uncertainty and challenge, there is real value in lifting our eyes from our current situations to see and do ‘good’ today. At a personal level, how can you support the team to uncover and share their good news stories about the important purpose that work plays in their lives? We’re hearing new tales of gratitude and appreciation for the connection of colleagues, the motivation, inspiration and support of managers and leaders, and the ability to learn and grow in knowledge, skill and creativity through work. Interestingly, it’s the organisations that embody true purpose – and healthy cultures – that often inspire these stories of gratitude from its people. These companies are led by ‘something bigger’ than financial gain. They serve the greater good in some way, offering environmental, social and/or community benefits to society. This doesn’t need to be a complete re-imagination of your business model, but have you considered how your organisation can do good at this time? Perhaps you’re a consumer tech company that could donate some of your stock to school kids currently in need of tech to study? Or, you sell virtual workplace tools and you could offer free subscriptions and coaching to organisations in need? How can you move the thinking and conversations in your team from panic and negativity to appreciation and possibility centred on being of service to those around them and the community at large?
Creating grounded possibility with and for people has the potential to affect belief in themselves and each other, inspire new ways of thinking and being, and motivate hope and drive for the future.
What type of thinking and conversations are you inspiring and how will these begin to shape new outcomes and seeds of growth for your company?
This doesn’t have to stop at our workplaces either. Imagine if all of us practised grounded possibility today, if the leader in each of us held the balance between creativity and knowledge and led from this place? Imagine if, through our words and actions, we could offer clarity, safety and encourage deeper connection to ourselves, each other and the world around us?
We believe that when we change the way we work, we will change the world. So, it is with our feet firmly planted on the ground and our heads full of possibility, our heart playing the go-between, that we can imagine a world full of grounded possibility. Can you?