To make best performance possible in the digital industry, we need to make sure we change the organizational setting in a way that allows individuals to act autonomously, easily acquire and access the needed competences and understand the purpose of the work they do. For some organizations this sounds like a difficult, tedious task, whereas others consider this the basics of a good management practice. Wherever you and your team are on this scale, let’s highlight the 5 golden rules allowing for great performanceespecially in today’s digital economy:
Clarify the Goals
The mission of the organization must be clear to everybody, including line managers and each individual subordinate. Make every possible effort to keep the lines of communication open, allowing plenty of time for talking and exchanging ideas. In this context it becomes even more important that leadership takes on the responsibility of “chief inspirer”, drawing a picture of the ultimate goal that looks so promising and irresistible that all employees are fully engaged and eager to follow and create outcomes.
Allow for trial and error
People learn and perform best if they are given a large amount of autonomy to test and try things out, to learn by doing it themselves in their own style rather than following their supervisor’s guidance. Making great innovations possible – the ultimate necessity for any business if it should exist in the next 5-10 years – requires a new culture where the one who tries and fails is not damned but celebrated as a hero and admired for the experience–and admired for the courage to stand up again and give it another try!
To know what’s next it is necessary to understand where you are, how much closer you are to the goal or what worked well / did not work well in the past. Thus, the best information to receive – and to give – is immediate feedback. This could come from people around you or your work / work-related systems directly, which could provide feedback about the status of your performance. Feedback should also come regarding your own personal standard and how you are performing according to your own goals and core values.
Balance challenges and skills
The usage of each individual’s skills and the entire human capacity of a person should be matched with an adequate level of challenge. The balance of these two never remains stable for a long time but requires ongoing adjustment in order to keep up the performance. No doubt, the winners will be the ones who constantly build and work on their skills as they take on more and bigger challenges over time.
Concentration over monkey mind
For many, stress is not the result of too much hard work but of too much switching attention, handling constant interruptions and dealing with ever-changing requirements. Thus people should be given more control, access to the right skills and tools to reach the requested objective and the trust that they will make the best choices.
One can ask now if those requirements are an organization’s duty or the responsibility of each individual employee to make sure they are met and not overextended. The answer is simple: it’s both parties’ task to ensure that work at least close to a flow-state is possible! Why? Because it will be the individual who enjoys work much more and who can remain healthy while achieving great results and it is the organization that will benefit if its workforce outpaces competitors because of their high level of performance!
What if I told you that your profits don’t come from your great products or services? They also don’t come from your latest online campaign, and they certainly don’t come from your improved multichannel strategy.
So where do they come from? The answer is simple: According to the recent Mercer study, 52% of a company’s long-term profitability is directly related to the quality of their leadership team. When you ask different leaders in an organization about how they would rate their personal leadership performance, though, only 39% see themselves doing a good job with their leadership abilities.
So what makes it so difficult to be a good leader? It all starts out with
the bad quality — or sometimes the nonexistence — of decision-making that’s frustrating. Instead of having the guts to say “A” or “B” and have a solid reasoning behind it, many leaders play ping-pong with important and critical business decisions. By doing so, they oversee the fact that in the digital economy fast decision making is critical and necessary.
It gets more difficult when you add the daily dose of rivalry and competition amongst senior members all the way up to board members. Unfortunately, the leadership mindset in many industries is still “old-school,” where fighting over personal advantage is considered success and team-based decision-making is seen as a weakness. And if you then sprinkle this with the expectations of the millennial workforce on leadership — being motivated by visionary people, who inspire and serve as true role models — you realize pretty fast that it is difficult to live up to all these differing expectations.
Hardly any leader is well-trained on these dimensions, since all those skills are neither part of the curriculum at business school nor part of an established training program in the workplace to help leaders develop and prepare themselves accordingly.
Many leaders also miss support from their supervisors yet face unrealistic goals, which makes leading with vision and motivation even more difficult.
In short, expectations for leaders are high — and will be higher in the future. The digital economy, with its new millennial talent, diverse teams spread all over the world, need for fast decision-making based on data analytics, and full scope of digital products and services will demand even more from leadership teams. Below are three core competencies leaders must master in order to be effective today.
Core Ability #1: Master The Balancing Act
The competence to manage and guide through change is a core competence today. From a top-down perspective, leaders are expected to deal with high-pressure situations and still make the right decisions while helping their direct reports adjust and anticipate the future — a balancing act for which one needs training. But not “training” in the classical setting of a short offsite leadership seminar. Rather, a professional, business-experienced coach or mentor is needed for regular support and consulting. Companies can also support growing leaders by offering a monthly peer group where employees can share experiences and learn from each other. This can have a significant impact on mastering the balancing act required by leaders today.
Core Ability #2: Walk And Talk
In addition to driving organizational change, a leader’s ability to collaborate and to successfully communicate with different stakeholders is critical. Times are gone when single fighters made it to the top. To jointly achieve bigger goals in a team effort and to ensure a communicative and participative leadership style are what organizations need to train and coach the next generation of leaders in. If leaders continue to rush from meeting to meeting, are out on lunch appointments, barely prepared for annual employee reviews, and lock themselves in their beautiful corner office for most of the day, they will never get a true feeling for what’s going on with their people. Make time on a leader’s agenda to work with and get to know his or her team members, understand what drives and motivates them, and then take it from there.
Core Ability #3: Mix The Formats
Without a doubt, the requirements leaders face in the digital future are beyond what they learn at any good business school. And in many cases, those unforeseen real-life situations account for the biggest lessons learned. How can leaders prepare for those? How can leaders learn?
By mixing formats.
Yes, make sure your leaders understand the basics and the “theory,” which you can provide in off-site training or online courses. But also make sure that your leaders then get access to experienced coaches or mentors who help them apply what they’ve learned to real business environments.
In conclusion, by making sure that your high potentials have access to mentors, allowing your leaders to schedule more people-time into their calendars, and mixing learning formats, your organization will be better prepared for future success and profits.