My husband and I were talking the other day, and we thought about our 11-year-old daughter graduating from the Class of 2020. Although our daughter graduating from high school seems so far into the future, as we just sent her off to middle school, the reality is it is only seven years away.
As we prepare our children for 2020, as leaders, we also must be prepared for the 2020 workplace. We are already there in my mind. Technology has already taken us on the path to 2020. Various generations are populating our workplaces. Change is the constant, social media is the way, and employees are coming to organizations with a set of skills and expectations. CEOs are expected to have a blog. Flexibility will set your workplace apart from the competition. Effective communication and coaching is expected now more than ever. Relational competence is a standard. Are your leaders ready?
As I research the best companies to work for such as LinkedIn, Google, and Wegmans Food Markets, I have found some similarities in their approach to developing a workforce that is ready to take on the challenges of the workplace in 2020:
- Define leadership in your company: It starts with defining a clear vision. In other words, have a leadership point of view. The best companies are clear on what they expect from their leaders. They are clear on how their personal values and the organization’s values intersect.
- Understand how to evolve: The senior leadership team must understand the importance of growing their skills from solving problems to coaching others to achieve business results. They are intentional about developing effective relationships in and among the organization. They are comfortable with healthy debate. They understand that leadership is not something you do to people; it is something that you do with people.
- Prioritize your business goals: Start with asking yourself and your team if we could only do one thing, what would it be? The companies that thrive develop a thematic goal, and are rigorous about achieving it and doing it well.
- Practice inside-out individual development: Leaders practice the inside-out work that must be done through taking the time to reflect, and are intentional about changing perspective and behavior to match the needs of the changing workforce. They understand the need to be flexible.
- Encourage all employees to think like an owner: Employees understand the mission, the strategies and the P&L’s. They are included and engaged to understand how their actions impact the bottom line and those they serve.
- Keep putting your customers first: Executing on a bold mission to keep the customer first is understood by all. Leaders remind those they have been entrusted to why what they do matters—to the customer. Peers hold one another accountable to put those they serve first.
- Remember to laugh: Thriving companies work hard and play hard. They take the mission and the work seriously and they do not take themselves too seriously. They learn how to have fun and laugh.
These are just a few key ingredients that will be needed to thrive in the 2020 Workplace.
I have had the privilege of working with clients that are intentional about preparing their leaders and their workforce for the 2020 Workplace. They understand that this is a journey and that change is already here, and more change is just around the corner. Are your leaders ready?
Fortis Leadership offers two distinct comprehensive public leadership programs for your emerging and seasoned leaders to prepare for 2020. Click here to review the Evolving Leaders Program and contact us to learn how we can customize a program for you.