After months of this pandemic experience, many people are all yearning to get back to normal. And, we are not going back, but forward.
The question is to what? That question is what is haunting most Superintendents and CEOs that we talk with.
Even the idea of creating the new normal is seductively reassuring, and dangerously inaccurate; like somehow there will be some normal state that we can just invent and then go on with life.
The changes ushered in by this pandemic experience will alter the nature of work and organizations forever. The immediately obvious changes; remote work, the need for connectedness, new technologies, and altered mindsets are just the tip of a very large, unknown iceberg.
We are not going forward to a normal, steady state. Instead, we are taking a quantum leap toward an ever-increasing rate of constant change.
None of us know what those changes will be. The new reality calls for a whole new level of creativity. There are many barriers to creativity in our nature (which we’ll explore in an article later this week).
As leaders of our organizations, we are called upon to orchestrate the co-creation of new cultures with some distinctly different characteristics. Here are some of the characteristics that we suspect will be required based on what we have learned over the last three decades of partnering with CEOs to create high performing cultures:
Personal Purpose: The extent to which people take personal responsibility for their ownership of the purpose of the organization.
Courage: The propensity to take risks and to grow beyond our comfort zone.
Trust: The extent to which people feel that their colleagues share a mutual commitment to one another’s success.
Psychological Safety: How freely can people make and admit mistakes without the fear of ridicule?
Distributed Authority: Are we trying to tell people how to do their jobs or giving them a result to produce and allowing discretion to choose their approach? Distributed authority is no longer an esoteric management theory, in a remote workforce, it’s just the reality.
Role clarity: Clear, unrestrictive responsibilities rooted in commitment to producing results.
Openness to Coaching: How freely can people accept challenges from others without becoming defensive?
Together, these characteristics produce creativity, teamwork, engagement and innovation. Embodying these cultural characteristics may be the ultimate form of creativity, which requires leaders to equip themselves with a whole new set of tools to lead, manage and coach.
There is another important set of human characteristics that will destroy such a culture:
… these unconscious motivations all spring forth from human nature and must be consciously inoculated against. We refer to these as Universal Detractors because regardless of the industry you are in, they detract from effectiveness.
As a leader, how will you inoculate your organization against the Universal Detractors? And how will you develop the conscious awareness to nurture creativity, teamwork and innovation?
We are assembling a group of mission focused CEOs, Superintendents, Executive Directors, & Presidents who value integrity and personal growth to share their ideas about the post pandemic world we must adapt to in order to thrive.