“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”– Charles Darwin
Addressing different business leaders in the past week on leading in the world of uncertainty, I used two insightful quotes to set the scene, the one above by Charles Darwin and the other one by Eric Hoffer, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world, we will see it when we believe in it. A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you are in and take advantage of it.
Sadly, I still hear a number of people saying, “After this COVID-19, I/we will do such and such…” Well, this is a sign that some people are not getting it! The old is gone, what we are experiencing at the moment is the new that we have to embrace. This is what is called uncertainty, these are disruptive times. In case you’ve been asleep, now it’s time to catch a wake up call. Just before this COVID-19 pandemic, I delivered a talk on leading in the VUCA (Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous) world where I emphasized on why engaging leaders are more needed than ever before. Our fast-changing world demands engaging leadership. We can no longer solve problems through rigid, hierarchical organizational systems. Engaging leaders know how to harness latent creativity ideas and innovation within teams and networks. Engaging leaders use bottom up approach because they know that they don’t know all the answers.
Organizations are faced with many challenges. Three of the main challenges are:
- Transform to perform. This is a tough balance to achieve, transforming while you are performing. Mindset, culture, behaviour, communication and engagement need to be transformed to make it and thrive in the new uncertain world, VUCA world. Peter Drucker said it succinctly, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” This simply means that you may have the best strategies in place but without the right culture, mindset, behaviour and lack of engagement from employees, your strategy simply means nothing. Engaging leaders, are emotionally intelligent leaders who are in tune with themselves and their teams. They are able to connect with purpose and tap into their team’s collective genius.
- Shaping the future workforce. This is being able to identify with speed, those roles that will be redundant/cease to exist; those that will be contingent – meaning they will exist given certain market conditions; those that will have to change in nature and then those that will need to be elevated.
- Future-proofing leaders. This means those leaders that will survive the transition will have to be developed to have a capacity to deal with the forever-changing future .
In my talks I also share more on high performance culture. High performance culture is no longer a nice to have but a must. High performance culture is mainly about 1. Clear expectations. 2. Competence. 3. Commitment. 4. Supportive climate (working relationship). Most people just go to work to do their jobs, they’re not focused on the main goal, they just do what’s enough to get by. Well, this kind of mindset, doing enough just to get by has no place in this new uncertain world of ours. You need to develop the ability to scan beyond your periphery and ecosystem to make something work.
To embrace this new world, you need to do the following:
- Be agile. Think quickly and clearly. Be able to recognise change and act on it immediately. Don’t be rigid.
- Embrace change. After all, the only thing that stays constant is change, trying to avoid or fight it is surely unwise. Look at the benefits of it, not the disruption it brings into your life.
- Accept that your role will either be redundant or require that you be retrained/re-skilled or Up-skilled. There’s no place for entitlement mindset. Your willingness to get out of your comfort zone and ability to learn new skills as quickly as possible will set you apart.
- Customer centricity. Be able to focus on your customer and not only satisfy them but surpass their expectations, this attitude will set you apart.
To future-proof yourself, start by taking stock of the technical and behavioural skills required in this world of uncertainty for you to survive now and beyond. You have the power to live your dreams!
Veli Ndaba is a Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of three books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org , www.velindaba.com or +27 83 304 9773