“Great leaders find ways to connect with their people and help them fulfil their potential.” – Steven J Stowell
Anybody who believes that the business landscape is the same as it was in the ‘old days’ has their head well and truly buried in the 20th‐century sand. There is an evolution going on that is affecting the business world and how we lead and manage within it.
We are all being forced to rethink how we behave and what we do. The changes of greater society — changes in generations, gender dynamics, and technology — are leading to a shift in business from large, highly structured corporate entities to agile, innovative entrepreneurial enterprises.
This evolution isn’t about to stop any time soon—if anything, the pace of change is only going to increase exponentially — and it is challenging us to rethink what we do, how we communicate with each other and how we will operate as leaders and businesses into the future. It is challenging for us to develop new operating systems to future‐proof success. It is challenging us, as managers, to learn to lead movements in a way that makes our teams secure enough to think and act collaboratively.
As leaders, business owners and individuals, we are caught between two worlds: one that thrives on volatility and one that craves stability. There is an ongoing tug of war between the pursuit of growth on one side and a desire for control and constancy on the other. This evolution is making:
- leadership styles change from ‘tell’ to ‘engage’, with leadership now about inspiring and becoming truly authentic
- traditional business structures far more fluid and blended
- innovation and invention essential business tools as consumers and clients want better products and services, delivered quicker, than ever before
- agility and decisiveness prerequisites in our teams and in our leadership
- connectedness to ourselves and each other a necessity and a key part of building high performing teams that work together for a future success.
This new connected business is where networks of connected individuals, communities, and businesses—as opposed to centralised closed‐door thinking and business planning—work together to drive success. The power of this is inestimable as it connects people, businesses, skills, services, products, and space to drive new opportunities and strategies for future‐proofing.
This new connected business is so much more than the sum of its parts. The nuts and bolts of sending an email, being on social media, placing a paid advertisement or doing a mass mailing are no longer enough in terms of ‘engagement’. What consumers and internal clients are asking for is that businesses understand them; that they speak to them as human beings, not numbers. They are demanding a customer‐centric approach to decision‐ making and new product development. They want to know the depth behind the logo, the thinking and the rationale behind the leadership.
This new connected business is a space where if we are authentic, play by rules of openness and transparency and follow our passions, we have the opportunity to build collective intelligence, trust and connection, and surprise and influence to many.
So ask yourself the question, and keep asking it.
Are you in… or are you out?