Know how to tell your organization’s story; learn how to navigate and not only to lead; understand that mistakes are only human; and more. Nili Goldfein, CEO NGG Global Consulting Solutions, shares five tips that all managers and business leaders must incorporate in these chaotic times
We live in the VUCA age. This term is an acronym, made up of the first letters of four words – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. It describes a chaotic, confounded, overloaded and unpredictable world in which leaders struggle to collect information, to observe, analyze and plan. In other words – they struggle to lead. Each era has its own characteristics and each situation has a suitable leader. The “right” leader is not an absolute concept. It is dependent on time, place and circumstance.
Below are five tips for business leaders who aspire to lead their employees to the best of their ability in these turbulent (VUCA) times:
1. Tell the story
Years ago, when technology companies set out on their road show to raise capital, they would present potential investors with endless lists of numbers that attempted to predict when the investment would be returned. Today, investors ask startup companies to tell them how their company/product/service can serve humanity. The numbers are on the table, organized neatly in a binder, but the story is in the spotlight. Managers must know how to sell their stories to investors, to the CEO, to their employees, and to their partners.
Remember: Value rules!
2. I’ll navigate
In management literature, the word “navigate” has replaced the word “management”. Today, management is considered haughty and patronizing. It is impossible to manage chaos, but there are ways of navigating the chaos. It requires thinking outside of the box and considering the big picture; understanding connections and navigating the entanglement until the (somewhat) smooth roads begin to appear. It requires modesty and allowing others (who can’t read maps and navigate) to follow you.
Remember: Omnipotence and controlling reality – OUT. Acknowledging complexity and finding alternatives ways of navigating it – IN
3. Mutual dependency
Mutual dependency – there will probably always be extremely talented people with individualistic organizational-management skills (like Steve Jobs). But most people will have no choice but to learn to work in groups; in teams. This has been true for thousands of years – dating back to the days of the hunting and foraging tribes, but today there simply is no alternative. Collaborations between different parts of the organization, across continents and professions, and between genders and cultures, become increasingly difficult due to the enormous diversity and how quickly things change. There is not enough time to discover, believe, try, fight and make up. There is a task, and a horrifically short period of time to complete it before we move on to the next one.
Remember: Respect for diversity, basic faith in the goodness of humanity, and giving before you receive, are fundamental rules of this new game.
4. Fall fast and cheap
Any toddler learning how to walk, and any successful writer, musician or actor can tell you that succeeding, learning and growing are impossible without falling down along the way. In most cases, as we get older, join the workforce and start managing, we enter a new playground that requires learning new fields and skills on an almost daily basis. Avoiding failure does nothing but entrap us in our comfort zone, where we can easily become irrelevant.
Remember: Development and learning through trial and error is the current trend. The idea is not to avoid falls, but rather to fall fast, and cheap.
Commitment counts. Skills count. Experience counts. Academic and other types of education certainly count. But motivation counts too, especially in this day and age. Organizations look for managers and employees that will put their heart and soul into their work. Their looking for what management and athletic jargon calls “soul players”. They want managers and key players that will stay on board when the going gets tough; when the company needs its people to go the extra mile. This goes beyond commitment; it’s about deploying your heart, your mind and your hands; its taking commitment one step further (not just putting in overtime). The world is a complicated place and competition is global. The human capital – it’s talent and will for the company to succeed – is what differentiates one organization from another; it’s what makes the difference between success and failure.
Remember: If you wake up in the morning and feel excited; if you love what you do and the people you do it with, then you know that you are in the right place, which is great for you and for your organization.