In the EVP and culture work we co-create with companies at Blu Ivy Group we hear several related questions come up repeatedly over the past 18 months:
- What used to work is not working anymore. What are we doing wrong?
- Everything is different now. How do we create a high-performing culture for the ever-changing environment that is our current reality
- Our team members are demanding flexibility and personalization for every aspect of their roles. How can we keep up and evolve our culture without completely losing who we are?
Constant change is our current reality. What worked just a couple of years ago probably is not working in today’s world of work. Heck, what worked six months ago might not be working the way that it needs to be today.
In our evolving world of work there are four constants that we can count on: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
Volatility – For most of us, the worlds we operate in, both personally and at work, we are continually exposed to the volatility of unpredictable and constant change.
Uncertainty – In our hyper-connected, ‘always on’ culture, frequent and disruptive change creates the stage for almost certain uncertainty. This uncertainty makes our roles as people leaders hard to predict.
Complexity – The global interrelatedness of political, technological, social, economic, and environmental factors has created a complexity that can sometimes boggle our minds. Gone are the days where leaders could ignore outside forces and just plow forward.
Ambiguity – We now live in a ‘post-truth’ world where ambiguity reigns and there is no single, objective, and collective reality; every solution has a multitude of directions and perspectives that leaders can be pulled in.
How do we move forward in this evolving world of work?
We could throw our hands in the air and give up. We could try to ignore the reality of the world around us and fight hard to keep things the same. Or we could lean into an EVP led high-performance culture and equip our leaders and team members with new tools, coaching, and focus that help them develop and evolve. Our leaders and team members need time and space to develop and enhance soft-skill capabilities like the ability to think, relate, connect, and create a sense of belonging with their peers to help them navigate this constant change.
At Blu Ivy Group we believe that placing the employee voice at the center of your people and organizational design strategies, along with developing your team members and leaders to improve and enhance a human-centered leadership approach can help your culture evolve alongside our ever-changing world of work. Creating a human-centered approach to leadership involves creating intentional time, space, focus and metrics for HOW your team members show up in addition to traditional training and KPIs aligned to WHAT they accomplish and the outputs they produce in the workplace.
Using your Employee Value Proposition (why your talent joins, and stays with you, and what matters most to them) as a culture and performance anchor is also essential to connecting your purpose, vision and direction to your team member’s individual values, purpose, and vision. An EVP led culture is when your organization infuses and activates your EVP as an intentional and inspirational strategic approach that helps your teams see the return on their investment in you as a leader and reinforces why they chose to join your team. Helping your teams consistently connect what they do, with why they do it, and how the company gives back is a powerful tool to build productivity, trust, and powerful alignment.
Focus on the roots of the tree, not just the fruits.
As I’ve shared in previous posts, tools like the Integrative Enneagram, leadership presence, whole person development plans, and personalized coaching can also help provide an additional framework and support that can assist your leaders and team members. These hyper-personalized tools and approaches are each designed to focus on the deeper paradigms that underline and drive behavior vs. just focusing on performance, output, and behaviour itself.
Soft skill capabilities like emotional intelligence, vulnerability, presence, critical thinking, creativity, adaptability, empathy, and self-management are the skills that are needed to help our organizations evolve and continue to be high performing in today’s workplaces.
Before continuing, I want to pause and acknowledge that for organizations to evolve and grow using a human-centred approach it comes with an important caveat: self-awareness. If we want to successfully help our team members and leaders to develop these soft skills, self-awareness is a pre-requestee. Only a self-aware person can see how they are operating, adjusting, and improving. As organizational leaders it is our role to provide our team members with the presence, prioritization, tools, and process that help them build and grow their self-awareness.
As you journey forward and create your organizational strategies for enhancing leadership skills in our ever-changing world of work, you can help your leaders grow to embrace volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity but helping them to understand and incorporate three core areas of growth into their day-to-day ways of being, leading, and working:
1. Mindset and Bias – Our mindset refers to the biases, beliefs, motivations, values, and assumptions that share how we perceive our world, our work environment, and our relationships.
When we help our leaders increase their self-awareness around any potential limited mindsets and unconscious bias they may have, we help them to expand and open too many new options and possibilities that they may have not considered. Coaching and focused practice in this area helps provide individuals with more permission and confidence to start letting go of potential current fixations (aka – ‘this is the way we always do things around here’) and opens them up to find new strategies for creative growth and expansion both personally and for your business.
2. Polarities and Paradoxes – It is natural for many of us to fixate on black or white thinking. In many situations we can fixate on looking to find the ‘right’ solution and to avoid the ‘wrong’ solution. We can see this ‘us vs them,’ ‘good vs. evil’, ‘left vs. right’ thinking all around us. This is the type of thinking that keeps us stuck.
When we help our leaders see through a lens of gray, we can help them see that the answer to many problems is finding a balance between polarities. When we coach and train our leaders and team members to find balance and integrate both sides of a polarity vs. picking a side, we open too many new possibilities for growth, harmony, empathy, and belonging for all. It is from this space we can start to create and grow instead of divide.
3. Multiple Perspectives – No one person has all the answers. We are living in a post-truth world where we are starting to acknowledge that every individual has their own perspectives and context that they bring with them.
By helping our leaders cultivate empathy and understanding we help them to open to seeing, hearing, and even using multiple perspectives to solve business challenges. Coaching and tools like the Integrative Enneagram can also help to provide a new framework to learn how to see things from another’s point of view and to value the perspectives of others.
When you use and value multiple perspectives you open too many new ways of working, innovative solutions, and you foster a space of belonging for a broader group which helps to create a more inclusive culture and psychologically safer workspace.
As you help your leaders grow and expand in these three areas you also strengthen a foundation of diversity, inclusion, and belonging for everyone. By helping your leaders grow their awareness in mindset and bias, polarities, and paradoxes, and embracing multiple perspectives you are building them for the future, and you are equipping them with the tools to consider, embrace, and implement the diverse contributions that all organizations require for successful, sustainable, and profitable growth.
When you put your people at the center of what you do, equip them with new tools, frameworks, and coaching to help them navigate our evolving world of work inspiring things start to happen. This is the heart of an EVP led, high-performance culture that improves employee wellbeing, increases productivity, fosters collaboration, and adds to your bottom line. This is how your employer brand stands out.
Vice President Client Experience
Blu Ivy Group
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands, and high-performance cultures.
Connect with us today and let us help you transform your organization into a workplace that inspires your employees, leaders, customers and shareholders.