My question – are you ready?
“In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time, literally, substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. And for the first time, they will have to manage themselves, and society is totally unprepared for it.”
I bet you’re like me. Unaware, this quote is more than twenty years old, straight from the mouth of Peter Drucker. However, his observation pretty much sums up our world today, doesn’t it? COVID is the unprecedented change.
Many of us have moaned over the years,” When is this ever going to get better?” ‘How can I improve things around here,’ “Why am I the only one who sees this as a massive priority?”
None of us can argue our pleas and prayers were not heard this past year! And 2021 is brimming with opportunity. The old rules are disintegrating; the old norms no longer apply. Maverick leaders everywhere have the chance to step up, step in, manage themselves, their teams, their departments, divisions and businesses. Better.
Are you ready?
If you like the change management 101 approach, you will want to do some form of the following:
- Define where you are now and take an honest inventory of it all.
- Set a goal/vision/dream of where you want to go and map out both short and long-term guideposts.
- Sketch out what the real gap is between today’s reality and tomorrow’s hopes. Define many actions that could fill in that gap or drive things to the end vision.
- Assign a whack of measurables to those actions to help you monitor your progress.
- Begin to execute.
The biggest drawback with this approach is it only has a 20% success rate. According to McKinsey, based on decades of research, change management programs rarely succeed. Somewhere around 80% fail. But then you and I already knew that, didn’t we?
Let’s look at what we Mavericks have to work with right now.
- 9 to 5 as we knew it is gone. We will never return to the industrial age ways of doing.
- Many positions, jobs, products, and services are forever extinct. Yes, some new ones have been added. However, far too many will NEVER resurface.
- Remote working has been an excellent experiment. Studies show that learning, meeting and conversing online is just as good, sometimes even better than the old ways.
- Existing online and being digital is the new normal.
- Humans are more connected than ever.
- Acts of kindness and decency continue to win.
- Those who do not adapt rapidly will continue to wither and rot away.
I see a fantastic opportunity for Maverick Leaders. Two areas are now deeply exposed, intersect at all points in our environments and are the very things we have ignored for decades. Those two areas are People and Technology.
2021 is the year that smart leaders and smart companies finally get it right. Their top two business priorities are powering up and protecting their People and their Technology. 2021 is not the year for exploding sales growth, new marketing initiatives or products or even further cost-cutting to improve the bottom line. 2021 is the year of pursuing effectiveness – in all things People and Technology.
Here is just a handful of the everyday challenges.
- Making adjustments, no matter how big or how small, is difficult for everyone involved. Understanding upfront the typical failure rates allows for some very fruitful and productive team discussions to beat the odds.
- Maximizing effectiveness in either People or Technology is just not taught in school or anywhere.
- Both of these areas have a traditional focus on compliance. That focus will now change to the bottom-line impact. This means measurement standards, KPIs and accountability for the results are re-imagined and upfront in all discussions.
- In many cases, the discussions will not be around NEW budget funds. The debates will be about reassigning existing funds to People and or Technology. And then ensuring those funds generate a solid ROI.
- Human beings everywhere are exhausted, afraid for themselves and their families, spread extremely thin, and subject to ever-increasing flare-ups of emotion, anxiety and depression. This complicates the styles and modes of leadership.
And yet, smart leaders can navigate through this new world by owning the following:
- Nobody has the right answer. Make peace with NOT having the solutions and seek input from communities and team members.
- What was is over. What will be is not yet clear. The best steps to take are forward, following the plan into the fog.
- Trust. Trust in one’s instincts and intuition. Trust in the dream. Trust in the team.
- Stand firm in the conviction that everything can be measured somehow and those measurements will serve as solid guideposts. Seek help for defining the measurements.
- Everyone is afraid, exhausted and or emotional. No one is immune.
- Human beings are entitled to fun, joy and kindness. Subversion, submission and sabotage are now extinct.
As Peter Drucker said, ‘for the first time; literally, substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. And for the first time, they will have to manage themselves.’
I don’t see this as a tall order. I see this as just a different order. Are you ready?
Same old pic, different blurb for the bottom.