Organizational structures and their cultures are becoming very outdated. And when you are stuck in a cultural status quo, you can’t innovate. Your team feels it – the organization is becoming lifeless at a time when talent is seeking purpose and has the power to demand change. It’s then that your strongest team members become disillusioned. They either languish or leave.
But there’s good news: Leaders can stop this slow slide towards attrition, apathy and irrelevance. We just need to think and act differently when it comes to our culture.
I recently read an article from the Association of Talent Development: Creating an Evolving Future-focused Organizational Culture. I love the term “future-focused culture.” As leaders, we must (literally) take the lead in courageously, unflinchingly adapting and creating a culture with an authentic “people mindset.”
From the article: “A unique and energizing corporate culture with clear values and specific purpose can boost employees’ spirits, engagement, job satisfaction, and commitment to the organization. It can accelerate successful business accomplishments and help maintain an aggressive pace with the many global changes.”
In other words, we can innovate our business by focusing on culture, and as a result, improve the performance of the business and the loyalty of employees and customers alike. And while that probably sounds incredibly aspirational, it’s also completely possible.
Imagine a culture that connects people and unlocks their collective intelligence, rather than one that isolates them in performing a given task and pits them against one another. One that builds bridges, not silos. These are the kind of opportunities a future-focused culture can hold.
The article suggests that you need 5 components to evolve into a future-focused culture:
- Building new skills and talent: Skills should be continually developed and immediately applied.
- Growing more effective and future leaders: This requires taking on challenges and inspiring the organization.
- Encouraging innovative curiosity and technology thinking: By sharing ideas in a development-oriented culture, we can inspire continuous learning.
- Driving authentic and open communication: Active listening, built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect.
- Developing collaboration and courageous partnering: Common goals and shared accountability can strengthen problem-solving skills.
Be the change
The status quo is only the status quo because people support and maintain it. To lead tomorrow's talent – taking them and your organization into the future – you need to create and encourage new thinking patterns. And when you lead with an authentic sense of purpose, and your team understands the vision and their role in it, you can seize that momentum and begin to future-focus your culture.