HERE’S TO A BRIGHT FUTURE: OURS AND YOURS
Marisa Fong and Galia BarHava-Monteith look back over 24 months to share three key lessons for business owners.
This is our last column, and we thought we’d take this chance to reflect on lessons learned from both clients and collaborators over the course of our time sharing our thoughts and experiences with NZBusiness readers. The future is very looking incredibly bright for us both. Marisa is continuing with her exciting new venture and Galia – now Dr Galia – is going back to the future and acting as GM of Strategic Capabilities until the end of the year for Fonterra.
With both these pathways in our immediate future, it seems appropriate to focus on the key lessons that apply to both owner-operated entrepreneurial businesses and large corporates.
So we looked back on everything we wrote over the past two years for these columns to distil what we consider to be the three most important ones.
What follows is the result: our three key lessons that we believe apply to every business, small and big, into the future. A GROWTH MINDSET You simply cannot survive into the future without a growth mindset. Nobody in any industry can afford to have a fixed mindset when it comes to getting ready for the future.
The world is changing, and the pace of change is escalating. The only way you can be ready for what the future will demand of you is by continuously adding to your capabilities and expanding your toolkit. There are so many avenues with scope for change – be it your approach to leadership, how you go about designing new products, or how you approach a consulting assignment.
We all need to keep learning and growing and looking for new things. Agile ways of working are about having a growth mindset – proactively working to approach problems in different ways, drawing on different disciplines and perspectives and continuously expanding your knowledge.
As we write this column it is the beginning of Mental Health Week in New Zealand. The dark side of change is the constant anxiety that living with uncertainty can bring. As a psychologist, Galia is well aware of the toll a constantly changing workplace has on individuals. Adopting a growth mindset is one way to reframe how we view change – one which is within everyone’s sphere of influence.
It is by no means a panacea, but it is a way of succeeding in this brave new, and constantly changing, world. It is also a way for your employees to keep their capabilities and skills current so they can weather the storm of change and continually adapt and reinvent themselves.
FOCUS ON EXECUTION
“When values are authentic, and the dominant culture is one of growth, execution, and connectedness, amazing people will choose to come work with you.”
The future will not change this. Companies who can execute their vision will continue to be profitable and thrive into the future. Even if their strategy is not as great as it could be, if they get s**t done, they are likely to stay in business. In our experience, business leaders who are able to facilitate the way people operate in their business to focus on getting things done are successful. There are no two ways about it.
But to get things done, you have to be clear about what it is you want to get done – you, as a leader, need to have clarity on what outputs need to look like and how they can be measured. A key learning from the four-day working week experiment by Perpetual Guardian was that by being clear on outputs and expectations, people became a lot more productive.
Let’s be very clear: it is much easier to measure inputs (hours worked) than outputs – because defining what good outputs look like requires clarity and focus from you, the leader.
To be focused on execution you need to be very clear on what it is you want your people to do, to deliver on, and what their outcomes should look like. Don’t underestimate the power of a good-old up-to-date position description with clear expectations and deliverables.
And don’t disregard the need to update it regularly to reflect what people are doing.
People often ask us how we are able to get so much done across our diverse portfolios, and the answer is that we always clarify upfront what our deliverables, or success, should look like – be it a new business, a doctoral thesis, or a workshop designed for our clients.
With constant change, get the ‘heart’ right: your values based organisation culture
This is our last lesson, one that has always been at the heart of everything that we do.
With relentless change, the power of having authentic, grounded, clearly articulated and consistently demonstrated values is more vital than ever. No advancements in AI, robotics, or automation will change what is ultimately at the heart of the human condition – authentic connections.
The best people – in our mind, those with a growth mindset who can continually reinvent themselves and adapt to change – will have more options than ever before as we move into the future. The thing that an employer (that’s you!) can offer these high flyers is allowing them to be part of something that is bigger than themselves, something to which they feel a sense of belonging.
When values are authentic, and the dominant culture is one of growth, execution, and connectedness, amazing people will choose to come work with you. And they are the ones who will make your company truly great. We have really enjoyed sharing our thoughts through
NZBusiness. We hope you enjoyed reading them and have taken something from our columns.
You can continue to engage with Galia and Marisa by connecting via our virtual PA, Jo Brady, at [email protected]ners.
We wish you all growth and success in whatever ventures (and adventures!) lie ahead in this exciting and rapidly changing world!