I hope you have been able to enjoy a safe and meaningful holiday, and that you have this week as a reflection period, as well. Contemplating key questions in order to move forward well in 2021 requires dedicated focus.
Here are 3 crucial questions leaders are currently asking themselves. Can you answer these? And if not, do you have the plan and support you need in order to do so?
1. What should virtual or hybrid work look like for us in the future?
A lot of leaders still hope that as the devastation of COVID is addressed and managed, that all will get back to “business as usual.” However, many of the ways we have had to work this year were already on the horizon as possibility. The virus simply accelerated this. As we move forward, we recognize that working virtually has not only been in place for some time in many businesses, but it is now something that the rest of us need to accept.
Beyond physical logistics, we need to address the potential impact this will have on our ability to deliver; to productivity and outcomes. Culture will need to be considered (see point #2 below). Ways of communicating are important – but what we communicate in order to get things done will need to change, as well. Cultivating soft skills in connection and all things relational will become more important to success.
2. How can we cultivate and maintain a vibrant and positive culture?
Culture is a company’s mission, vision and values in action. Much of this has been eclipsed by the constraints of COVID and having to scramble to work virtually in many cases. Moreover, as we return to work, it will not be as we knew it, but as we create it going forward. Considering virtual and hybrid work environments, how will you keep your organization’s culture vibrant and alive? What will need to change or be implemented in order to create this? Focus on individual, team and organizational behaviors, as well as the processes and systems needed to provide a supportive framework.
And as we move from a knowledge-based mindset to a learner’s mindset (pivotal for meeting the future!), how can you implement a program that supports culture at all levels of the company? This is an oft-neglected part of typical planning, but key to the spirit of belonging and desire to contribute; employee morale, engagement and productivity.
3. What skills and abilities does my executive team need now in order to meet the future?
Your strategic plans dictate what capabilities your team will need in order to execute. Identifying these and putting a development program in place is non-negotiable. You will want to use a blend of proven techniques and modalities that allow your executives to apply their learning to their work. Online learning is here to stay and is just as effective as in-person learning when well executed. How will you identify your needs, what programs are most effective, and how you will receive support to make sure the learning is integrated?
Beyond the individual team members’ growth, however, focus needs to be given to the team as a body. Include the team behaviors and norms you need to see in your own team in order for them to trust each other, to execute together at highest levels. How would they assess trust on the team? Are team members aligned and coordinated in their execution? In their ability to communicate and resolve conflict? Without putting a plan in place to respond to these questions, the best team can become fragmented or siloed, depending on what your organization is facing.
As you read this, what key components will you need to integrate into your planning for 2021? Designing a framework that supports both short and long term is crucial.
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Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.