Look closely anywhere in corporate America, the government, and even sports and you’ll realize: we haven’t had enough great leadership in the past…and we don’t have enough now. It’s time to change the way we talk about leaders, how we perceive people’s readiness to lead, and how we encourage the behaviors we want to see all leaders demonstrate in the future.
Many of us have heard the story of Dan Price, the CEO who made headlines by cutting his own salary so he could raise his lowest-paid employees to a minimum salary of $70k a year.
People said his company would go under. Others said that he set an unrealistic precedent. Many said he was crazy.
In a country where the CEO of large organizations typically make 1200x more than their lowest-paid employee, we’d argue that Price epitomizes being more, doing more.
With vaccination rates increasing rapidly, offices are slowly beginning to open back up–many planning to implement a hybrid approach. And we recognize that some employees have been in person and on the job for the duration of the pandemic.
What’s important to note is that not every organization has an adequate plan in place yet to enable their employees’ success in a hybrid setting. We know from experience that face time with employees is important. And even as some recognized a benefit to slowing down (or stopping) travel for business meetings and team gatherings, we’ve also seen that Zoom-only might not be a viable long-term replacement for all of our pre-COVID in-person interactions.
Something isn’t quite right in your organization. Maybe revenue isn’t where you’d like it to be despite a significant increase in your marketing spend, or voluntary turnover is a lot higher than it used to be. You may not yet know for sure what is “off,” but you know something is up.
It might be tempting to scrutinize the activities of your sales team or human resources, but the truth is what’s off could be any number of things.
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of instilling inclusivity and equity as core values in your organization: what that looks like and how to lead with inclusion and equity in mind.
And you’ll see it all over the internet: the benefits organizations can realize when they focus on increasing inclusion and equity in the workplace as well as programs to develop the required mindsets, skill sets, and behaviors. Many organizations pay lip service to diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values but few organizational cultures today otherwise manifest those values in a visible way.
If you had a successful business in 2019, you likely experienced some tough setbacks or in other cases, unique opportunities for growth during 2020. Fast forward to 2021, and we’re still working in a very different context than we were before. Most of us are now working either partly or entirely online. Many organizations are either launching or attempting to reinvigorate their DEI initiatives. So, how can we be effective and change-positive stewards for our organizational culture now?
We make decisions all the time—both minor (what brand of milk should I buy?) to major (which strategy will give us the biggest ROI?). If we want better outcomes from our decisions, we could use a tool to help us first narrow down our options. And we could clearly identify when there is only one viable path forward so we don’t waste time chasing dead ends.
Identity matters—it’s not something to be hidden away or left at the door when you arrive at work.
It used to be (and unfortunately still is in many organizations) that when you come to work, your job description and duties were the only things that mattered. Personal business never belonged at work. You left practically all of your identity at the door—your queerness, blackness, femaleness, kids, religion, all the things besides your job skills that make you a whole person. Work and home were never to mix.
But what if we reverse that mindset as leaders and instead, welcome the mix?
Organizations are generally more culturally aware today than they were even a year ago. Or, at least, more leaders are aware that they need to be more culturally aware. Cultural competence and cultural humility are terms which have started to come up regularly in our professional conversations. Are we moving in the right direction?
What do we mean when we talk about cultural competence vs cultural humility? What are the differences between them and why do they matter for successful leadership? Finally, how can we put them into practice so that they benefit our leaders, team members and organizations?
This year we’ve seen powerful movements for social justice. Many brands have jumped on those bandwagons only to fall off (or get pushed off). One reason social justice messages aren’t landing well with organizations’ audiences is a perceived lack of authenticity on the part of the brand. If your organization isn’t solidly walking their talk, it’s time to think about shifting your mindset from looking good to doing good.