Faye Corcuera, David O’Hagan, and Niña Terol
Google. Facebook. Apple. Netflix. Today’s top tech companies are also some of world’s most valuable brands that people not only want to use and patronize—they are also companies that people want to work for. Beyond making great products and services that people are addicted to, these companies also have celebrated corporate cultures that have got the rest of us following them.
The good news is this: your company doesn’t have to be a huge brand, a cool startup, or even a technology company to develop the mindset and the culture to succeed in today’s world. What it does need, however are:
1. To recognize that significant changes are needed in order to adapt to changing attitudes, behaviors, and roles in the workplace and beyond (e.g., telecommuting, remote work, the “gig economy”, and changing customer and employee expectations).
2. To retool and upskill employees to develop critical human skills and thrive in the age of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Ignite innovation and engagement in your organizations by developing critical skills so that your people thrive in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. These are: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.
Gone are the days of the one brilliant genius who has all the answers. Big data and augmented intelligence provide a wealth of knowledge at a nano-second. What is needed is for individuals to have the no-ego ability to effectively communicate and collaborate to harness this wealth of knowledge and co-create new solutions and new perspectives.
Solving non-routine problems, and seeking fresh opportunities, shouldn’t be a task reserved for an elite group of employees, or one relegated to a small portion of everyone’s normal workweek. All workers at all levels can be focused on finding and addressing unseen problems and opportunities. There is something brilliantly refreshing when people view things with a beginner’s mind, and not an expert’s mind.
The enabling C: Culture
Corporate culture is a critical component to developing, enabling, and activating these.
Because culture is the glue that holds organizations together and gives them their unique shape, it is also an organization’s culture that will determine its ability to innovate and survive. However, we’ve also heard of strong organizations with strong brands (and presumably strong cultures) that failed to adapt quickly enough to today’s world: Kodak, Blockbuster, Borders, RIM/Blackberry. What organizations need now, more than ever, is the openness, the adaptability, and the agility to go with the world’s flow.
Culture is a very dynamic and fluid beast. Organizations can (and should) play an active and participative role in defining a rich and optimum culture for themselves, often through a combination of top-down and grassroots employee-led initiatives. Culture requires regular attention to keep it on the collaborative and engaged side of the spectrum, not the side of toxicity and silos.
These external shifts—and the internal changes they require—can feel daunting. But with an open attitude and a learning mindset, and with support from all levels of an organization, companies can make themselves relevant and attractive to a new generation of workers and consumers. More than just being future-ready, organizations who take advantage of this can also be future-leading.