Rough Waters Ahead
I’ve recently determined that working is kind of like hanging out in an ocean (bear with me here). It’s got its perks, no doubt – when the weather is nice, the sun is shining, and you want nothing more than to frolic around in saltwater sprays and waves, chilling with your coworkers, living the life. And then, on occasion, Mr. Sun hides himself behind clouds, the temperature drops, and the friendly waves become a lot faster and a lot more sinister. Suddenly, you’ve got to move.
It’s when this bad weather hits that your immediate surroundings warrant much more attention than what you’ve been giving them. How deep is the water? How big are the waves? How far is the shore? Most importantly, who is swimming next to you?
Today, the economic weather is frequently tough to bear. Organizations must move faster, operate leaner, innovate more frequently. This VUCA environment is brimming with opportunity – but with it comes a whole lot of risk. And the responsibility for achieving these goals and implementing plans effectively falls to the people in an organization. Can they work together collaboratively, especially when the going gets rough? Can they communicate efficiently with one another and eliminate needless confusion?
Back in the stormy ocean, it is quickly apparent what you need. You need a strong swimmer to take charge and lead the way back to shore; you need a leader who can teach others how to stay upright; you need a buoy. Similarly, you know immediately what you do not need. You do not need negativity or a naysayer; you do not need second-guessing and lengthy discussions about what to do next; you do not need an anchor.
As we prepare for the upcoming Human Capital Summit conference, this question of what organizations need to be competitive versus what they do not becomes increasingly important. In times of stress and required agility – which is quickly becoming the norm in business today – organizational employees and leaders - and their abilities - are critical. To put it bluntly, some are buoys that hold people up and push them forward, and some are anchors that pull people down and hold them back.
Liz Wiseman has elaborated extensively on this topic in far more eloquent ways in her book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter and we are thrilled to welcome her as a featured keynote speaker at the upcoming conference. In addition to helping you identify who the buoys and anchors are in your organization, you can look forward to a better understanding of the impact a great manager has on the success and productivity of an organization. Be prepared to hear from other industry greats and experienced practitioners like Nate Silver, Dan Pink, Pamela Stroko, and others, too.
Will you be attending HCI’s annual Human Capital Summit in Orlando, Florida on April 8-10th? (Don’t worry, the ocean’s a few hours away so we won’t test the open water theory outlined above). Be sure to drop us a line on Twitter #hcievents or LinkedIn telling us what you’re most looking forward to this year. Seats are filling fast, so register now if you’re interested in attending, and don’t forget about our virtual conference pass for those who prefer attending from the comfort of their desk.
Hope to see you there!