When Dion Chang refers to the dawn of the female century, he’s talking about a different way of doing things that counters the aggressive, bullish behaviour which gave rise to the recent global meltdown. A number of signifiers are pointing the way to a new world order fuelled by the rise of civil society, the green movement, the evolution of social networks and a decline in conspicuous consumption.
The Consumer Voice
“The consumer has more power today than ever before,” he says. “Across the world we are seeing the rise of civil society and the people’s voice. It’s very much a female energy typified by the rise of social media. Consumers have found freedom online where they can shop comparatively and customise just about anything they want. Interestingly, we are witnessing a disjoint between the online experience and the offline reality. It may be more impactful, for example, to Tweet about bad service from SAA than it is to contact the airline’s call centre.”
Another case in point is Facebook’s focus groups, which have message boards where vocal supporters and dissatisfied customers alike can post messages. Everywhere, consumers are forming their own clusters, whether through Facebook or other networks. It’s a phenomenon that Seth Godin referred to in his book Tribes: We need you to lead us, in which he focuses on the need for people to take charge of their lives, to bring about change and to take the opportunity to become leaders in their own tribes.
Going It Alone
With many of the retrenched being too old to start their careers over or too young to retire, entrepreneurship is set to take off. “Again, it’s about the reassessment of value systems,” Chang says. “A guy who’s been in corporate law will suddenly decide that actually, he wants to be a yoga instructor.”
The shift in value systems, Chang notes, also results from the fact that people are fed up with banks and big business, which have been blamed for precipitating the global financial crisis.
Business in Africa
Turning to our own continent, Dutch entrepreneur Rutger-Jan van Spaandonk’s contribution to The State We’re In homes in on the realities of doing business in Africa. To harness the potential of the continent, he maintains, businesses have to see Africa as a consumer market, an incubator for new ideas and an exporter of things like agriculture and talent. “True entrepreneurs are seeing opportunities,” says Chang. “It’s not easy to do business on this continent, but if it were, it would be less attractive to early movers.”
The New News
Media industry expert Irwin Manoim muses on the oft predicted death of print media and the rise of news. “Thanks to prolific bloggers, people are increasingly able to choose their news,” says Chang. Information that is deemed to be important enough is rapidly shared with others in their interest group.
The Rise of PR
One of the most insightful chapters in the book looks at the rise of PR as the new advertising. “People want experiences, not adverts,” says Chang. “They want to be entertained, not interrupted. Rather than being told or shown, they want to be involved.”
Some of the most successful promotional campaigns are viral and they work because they are so engaging and fun that people send them on to everyone they know.
“The point is that advertisers need to take note of how consumers are living today – they are involved, connected and in search of meaningful experiences. Reinforcing a brand message with big, expensive ads is just not good enough anymore.” It’s a sentiment corroborated by the vast number of brands on the market and the alacrity with which consumers unapologetically move from one to the next. “Talkability” says Chang, is what meaningful advertising is about today.
Talent management specialist Italia Boninelli, in her contribution on the war for talent, points out that one of the dominant trends in SA is in fact the war for experience.
“The lack of institutional memory is a big problem in the South African business world,” says Chang. “Young managers in the workplace grew up in the boom and have never experienced a recession. Management development programmes have tended to focus on technical and managerial skills rather than business acumen and leadership. The number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their relationship with their boss. With that in mind, it’s worthwhile developing the people who are tasked with leading others.”
A sought-after trend analyst and consultant, Dion Chang is an innovator and creative thinker who sources new ideas and gauges their effects on society. He has 15 years’ experience in the magazine and fashion industry. In addition to running his trends analysis company, he is also a freelance journalist.
How Your Company Can Become A Champion Of Change
Take control of the change management see-saw to achieve your business objectives
Constant change is a reality for business owners, but today that change is happening faster than ever before, both within businesses and across industries. Transformation has therefore become a strategic non-negotiable as companies must adapt to remain relevant in this era of unprecedented disruption.
Unfortunately people – your staff – are hardwired to resist change. It’s predominantly a subconscious psychological response to a fear of the unknown and the uncertainty this creates.
This is a major reason why few organisational transformation initiatives succeed (just 30-38% according to a commonly-cited McKinsey study) in achieving all of the project’s objectives.
However, there is an effective process that business owners can follow to successfully implement, manage and champion change to more effectively adapt to a modern marketplace that’s in constant flux.
Step 1: Define the objective
A business owner must first clearly define the new business objective that necessitates the change. We call this the Victory Condition.
It’s a company’s ultimate measure of success, and establishing this objective is vital to ensure that everyone in the business knows where the company is headed, particularly as this information will define their Path to Victory.
Step 2: Create buy-in
However, forcing to staff to follow this path without their input and consultation – important processes that make their buy-in more likely – can amplify their resistance to change.
Without buy-in there’s no shared common interest in the process or the objective. That’s when resistance usually manifests as inertia, petty meddling and sometimes, outright destructive behaviour.
Step 3: Tip the see-saw in your favour
The catalyst for disruption during periods of organisational change is usually negativity. Even the slightest negativity can tip the balance of the change management see-saw against business owners and company leadership when trying to implement and manage a transformation strategy.
That’s because most staff tend to sit in the middle, waiting to see which way the see-saw will tilt.
The fact that most people are tuned to gravitate towards negativity means the balance of forces can easily swing in that direction when there’s a groundswell of negativity within an organisation.
To tip the see-saw in your favour it’s crucial to identify and root out the ‘bad eggs’, as they’re the ones who draw staff to the negative side. It’s also vital to ensure that the company identifies and works to retain its good people. With this combined approach, leadership will greatly enhance the probability of success.
Step 4: Identify and create champions
The final step is to create champions for growth and impact within your company. This is the other reason why you need to retain your best staff. These are the people who will help to shift others within the organisation to the right side of the change management see-saw.
To do so requires empowering these champions to become catalysts for positivity, by letting them lead through demonstrable action according to the business’s Victory Condition.
However, to ensure that this is the kind of action that benefits the business, your champions need to clearly understand the objective, and the potential paths the business can take to get there.
Empowered with this information, it’s then up to them to communicate and share the Victory Condition with the rest of the staff, and ensure they understand it. This creates organisational cohesion and ensures that everyone is working towards the realisation of the Victory Condition.
Business Leadership – Learn How To Embrace Change
Embrace change! It is the new intelligence!
“Embracing change is the new intelligence”
Initially your IQ was considered in most circles to be a key determining factor of your success as a business leader. Deeper research into the realm of emotional intelligence has revealed its potential as a catalyst to build meaningful and results driven relationships that can change the world.
Yet another highly interesting topic of conversation has been echoing in lecture halls, boardrooms, and the minds of entrepreneurs. Scary to some, very exciting to others, changes within an industry or business environment are always just around the corner. To get to intelligent, pragmatic and very useful answers it must begin with intelligent and practically orientated questions:
“Just how important has your ability to adapt to useful change, forced changes in the market place or industry, as a core leadership skill become??
The author shares the opinion of numerous modern thought leaders that identifying useful change, embracing it, and incorporating it as a part of the company culture has become a core skill. A skill that every entrepreneur and leader must possess or learn that is if they have a strong desire to build a sustainable ,thriving company and leave a lasting legacy. Your ability to embrace useful change is at the very least more important than your IQ and equal to if not more important than your level of emotional intelligence.
A successful change journey starts with a healthy view of useful change and the acceptance of as Robin Sharma says:
“Change is always hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end…”
Understanding the real purpose of a change intervention and how it aligns with and serves the vision and goals of your company is the launching pad for a successful change intervention. I must point out at this stage that a wise performance coach once shared that:
‘The success of any transformation is highly dependent upon the internal state of the person or people driving the change journey’.
To clarify and simplify the above it can be applied to our daily lives. Our attempts to lose weight are often stymied by our need for the immediate gratification of tasty food and a full stomach and we fall in love with the warm feeling/s associated with that.
Losing weight poses another challenge to us. It pushes us outside that space of comfort that we love so much. The journey asks more from us. The willingness to sacrifice the known for the unknown is also a requirement that proves to be a bridge too far to cross for most.
If however you fully understood literally all the benefits of a weight loss journey and especially how it aligns with your life’s’ purpose and goals your willpower will be enhanced as well as your general attitude.
Lets’ say as an example that you are an entrepreneur whose purpose is to positively transform the lives of your clients through the use of your product. By losing weight in a healthy way you will not only look better, feel better, you will also have the energy to work harder at your goals of for example selling more products.
You will have more energy and willpower to coach and empower your team. Therefore weight loss and fitness considered within a positive paradigm that is not only aligned with your personal health goals but also with your purpose as an entrepreneur will likely give you the necessary perseverance to succeed that is if you sincerely believe in your purpose and considered all benefits of the change intervention.
I recently facilitated a change intervention at a factory as a consultant. Initially most involved thought they were just going to receive orders to produce and sell more of a certain product. Instead their own purpose was revealed to them and how producing and selling more of the product could enhance their own skill set, performance, and self-development.
More importantly they realised that this change intervention could potentially enhance the income and experience of their customers vastly. According to the feedback received they felt more motivated and empowered than ever, and are achieving way more sales of the product range that they are focussing on than ever before.
When a change intervention is truly embraced by your team because they truly feel and understand the purpose of it and are excited about how it will positively affect their collective future and their internal state mostly positive powerful and lasting results can be achieved.
Another ‘insurance policy’ that goes a long way in ensuring sustainable success in business within a challenging and changing environment is to establish a learning culture within your business. Strongly encourage and create circumstances ideal to practical learning which also embraces the opportunity to learn from failures and apply solution driven thinking.
When your team members pursue learning and positive experimentation they will be more open minded and confident when useful change interventions can be exploited for further self-development and company growth. Embrace change! It is the new intelligence!
The Future Of Work: Creating Excellent Culture To Be An Employer Of Choice
Millennials already make up a significant percentage of the “new workforce”. They seem to flourish in work environments where the experience includes diversity, transparency, and collaborative work cultures, with flexible working conditions and work that contributes to positive social influence.
Why it is important to be “an employer of choice”
An employer of choice is not only in business for profit, but also to ensure that their people develop the potential, as humans. This is not only done for the good of the business, but to develop individuals who are responsible stewards working towards a common purpose of healing or refreshing fellow humans and the earth (fauna and flora).
If you are in business and you have people working with or for you, you want to attract a mix of employees. Some will have the best industry skills for example, and others will have exceptional leadership capacity. More importantly, you would want, regardless of skills, people with great positive attitudes.
Attracting employees with top-notch skills, outstanding character and great attitudes would require that you design a business with excellent character and culture.
Vision Led and Values Drive Employer Value Propositions (EVP)
The line “vision led, values driven” is well known. To be a successful business you have to have a meaningful and resilient vision to inspire your team, driven by robust and powerful values.
It is crucial to communicate well with employees “why” and “what” they are part of achieving (i.e. vision). Vision needs to be externally focused; describing the desired impact to be made on the world, or how the business aspires to create a better society.
Having a vision to buy into and the values that support it, forms part of the Employer Value Proposition (EVP) – this is what employees are offered in return for their hours of work.
Research shows five elements that employers need to focus on when defining their EVP: Rewards, opportunity, organisation, people, and the work itself.
Creating an Employer of Choice culture
In short, listen, then listen a bit more, and then act accordingly.
Start by serving your clients and your people, clearly understanding their needs, wants and desires. Then build a vision to fulfill the needs and always do business responsibly.
There are various ways to determine the needs of your clients and your employees. We focus on the needs of employees and have designed a culture assessment to understand the internal culture. It also measures some external elements, like customer service from an internal perspective.
We focus on elements relating to how we serve, bring harmony and patience, experience joy, being good and kind, building trust and having self-control. Once you understand how your culture looks, then you can define how you want it to look or what you believe it should be in terms of values.
Create an excellent culture that adds substance to your EVP, to be an Employer of Choice.