The world around us is constantly changing and there is a feeling that the process of improvement and update has recently accelerated. Changes are driven by technology, big data, deep learning, Artificial Intelligence and, recently, by COVID-19. Business around the world moved to a virtual office overnight, where all employees are working from home; we engage virtually and use technology in a smart way. 

There was a big worry that the entirety of business would be negatively impacted by the situation. However, by surprise, we observed not only a quick adjustment, but also a slight improvement in general productivity. This is caused by the following factors. First, technology is critical. Tech companies provided business with many virtual office platforms wherein people can work on projects remotely. We can connect with dozens or hundreds of employees via Teams, Zoom or Webex meetings. Second, we are are all familiar with working online and working with documents on the cloud. This is how we have interacted with our friends and families over the past few years. Current changes engage and utilise new behaviours that we have recently learned and developed. Finally, new generations, Millennials and Generation Z, are growing up and expressing new customer behaviours. They collect and process data faster, work with no limits or barriers, use social media to communicate, have online lives and avatars, are able to multitask and are looking for work/life balance with happiness. 

We are witnessing a change of key competencies required for an employee or company to be successful.

During past recruitment processes, we paid attention to analytical thinking, presentation skills, computer and software knowledge. If, during a job interview, a person presented his or her ability to match the criteria, a job contract was signed. As the next step, each manager would observe a candidate during a probation period and if there was nothing significantly wrong, the employee was offered a permanent job. 

This is the past, this is history. Now, companies are lean and efficient. In each communication from the CEO or leadership teams, there is less talk about hierarchy and more about culture, diversity and inclusion, empowerment. It is all about engagement, because engagement has a direct impact on productivity and results. Leaders on every level initiate programs on the culture. They know that without a culture focused around winning and inclusivity, there is no possibility to win.

Based on some research, experience and discussion with leaders and many employees, I identified 7 Competencies which will support the creation of a winning and inclusive culture and will retain productive and happy employees. 

COMMUNICATION – All people in the organisation, leaders and individual contributors, need to know what is the company’s mission and vision. What is expected from each individual? Clear messages across all levels is a starting point. But this isn’t exclusively a top down approach. It also holds for the bottom up communication. Communicate in a clear and simple way. Listen to understand, not just to reply. Exchange of information is critical in achieving business priorities.

COLLABORATION – As mentioned above, there is a permanent pressure on costs. Companies are operating with fewer resources, systems and third party providers. This has a direct impact on collaboration. We have to collaborate, to work together in achieving team priorities. Collaboration means support; help in different forms. Sometimes, it may be resource allocation or de-prioritising some tasks from other departments of project teams. 

CRITICAL THINKING – Each person in an organisation has to start and close the day asking “Why?”. It helps in understanding the purpose of why specific actions need to be taken. Why is something working or malfunctioning? In the past, somebody who was asking too many questions was categorised as a pain to the team or a troublemaker. Now, that person is an asset. Asking the right questions is also very helpful in a root-cause analysis. When we achieve a success or see our project fail, we should spend some time to understand the key factors leading to the outcome. Critical thinking and asking questions to understand are crucial for scoring future successes or in avoiding repeating the same mistakes.

CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK – Once a culture of communication and critical thinking has been implemented and embedded in your team or organisation, you need to work on trust and inclusion. People should not be afraid of sharing their thoughts, observations or feedback. Feedback is a gift and should be given to improve and not to challenge. Different points of views should be invited to a discussion of brand campaigns or projects. And do not forget… focus on tasks, projects, products and not on people’s behaviour. Tough on a problem and soft on a person. 

CREATIVITY – Each company has more or less the same resources. Production capabilities, raw materials, supply chains, offices and media are part of the market which creates equal conditions for all competitors. It is up to us if we create a culture where creativity and power of human brains will generate a competitive advantage in research and development projects, efficient distribution systems, effective marketing campaigns or brand strategies. Engaged and creative teams and individuals are a component of the edge. 

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT – There is no single conflict-free organisation. Once you drive a business, you will experience many arguments and challenging discussion. We need to ensure that we make conflict a natural and positive element. We should challenge each other not to hurt our feelings but to understand more and create something better, more innovative, cheaper and effective. Be open to answer some difficult, direct and challenging questions. Be ready to show similar behaviours when you interact with other people. 

CHANGE AGILITY – Change happens every day. New technologies, software, communication tools impact the way we connect with our clients, teams or individuals. If you do not follow the progress you will be behind the market trends, behind competitors. Your business will be impacted in a negative way. Change agility will help you and your business to adjust, to develop and to win on the market.

Does this resonate with your observations?

Have you observed the 7 Competencies within your organisation?

Are you going to implement any change in the way you work and interact with your leader and team?

Are you ready to stop or start doing something from today?

May the 7 Competencies be with you!

Drawing by boradoodles.pl


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