Today’s world is changing rapidly and therefore, today’s leaders must also be changing to future-proof their organizations. VUCA, a term coined by the military standing for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity is our new reality and requires shifts in the way we think and act. Today’s leaders must be ready to fight VUCA with VUCA – Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility.
These elements must be built into the organization and require focusing on your organizational core. Similar to our bodies, when we develop the core of our organization, we become stronger, faster, and more agile. A strong core also enhances balance and stability. Properly building up core cranks up the power. Today’s organizations need to be thinking about peak performance to adapt to the ever-changing environment and pivot when needed while maintaining form, thus staying true to themselves.
Therefore, developing an organizational core involves understanding and being clear about:
That is your core.
While leaders develop themselves for the VUCA world, today’s leaders must help their people develop core and not only embrace change but lead the change. Leading change involves being prepared to avert disruptions and better yet, create disruptions. Creating disruptions requires new thinking and in some instances unlearning what we’ve learned. This is not easy! And, thinking only gets you part way there. This new thinking must be followed by disciplined action from a new set of behaviors to achieve new outcomes as the future is not always based on the past. In the words of Business Management Thought Leader, Peter Drucker, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence. It is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
Change is an inevitable part of organizational growth and development for the future. Whether it’s a change in strategy, structure, culture, talent, or technology, etc., it is important to have a well-thought-out program that contains regular education, training, reinforcement, coaching, and other assets. Change happens over time and does not come from a one-time event. Just like our bodies, organizations need regular exercise and reinforcement from a personal trainer to strengthen and develop our muscles pushing us beyond what we may think is possible.
Just as our bodies have muscles that need regular exercise to stay strong, organizations have different departments that need to be trained and developed to ensure that they are performing optimally. This is where regular training and education come in. Understanding your current strengths and competencies is important, as well as gaining an understanding of the strengths and competencies you will need for the future and putting together a plan to develop those skills. As Marshall Goldsmith noted, “What got you here, won’t get you there!”
Education and training are like regular exercise that develops the muscles of our organizations. It helps employees at all levels to acquire new skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are necessary for the success of the organization; not just for today but for tomorrow. This is why it’s essential to have regular training and education sessions that are designed to meet the specific needs of different departments, as well as different levels of employees. The training and education sessions should be interactive, and engaging, and should provide practical examples of how to apply the new skills and knowledge.
However, training and education alone are not enough. Just like our bodies, our organizations need reinforcement to ensure that the newly acquired skills and knowledge are retained and applied. This is where coaching comes in. Coaching provides an opportunity for employees to receive feedback, guidance, and support on how to apply new skills and knowledge. Coaches help to stretch individuals by challenging them beyond their comfort zone in a safe and supportive way. Also, coaching helps to reinforce the training by providing a platform for employees to ask questions, share their experiences, and receive personalized guidance. Just as athletes utilize coaches to help them perform at their best, organizations should utilize coaching to do the same.
In addition to coaching, there are other assets that organizations can use to reinforce education and training. These include job aids, checklists, videos, and other learning materials. These assets can be used to provide ongoing support to employees as they apply new skills and knowledge in their work. They can also be used as a reference guide for future training and education sessions. Mentorship programs are another way to tap into the knowledge and expertise at all levels of the organization and learn from one another. Internal or external roundtables or discussion forums with peers can also be helpful in allowing individuals to develop a reliable network that helps keep each other accountable through the new learning and skills development process.
Another important aspect of a well-thought-out program is the need for regular evaluation. Evaluation helps to determine the effectiveness of the educational training program and provides insights into areas that need improvement. Typically, a needs analysis is done to evaluate your current state versus your future desired state. Based on the results and the priorities for the organization, a training and education plan is outlined to meet those needs. Pre-assessments might be recommended to identify the baseline for measuring progress along the way. From there, it is important to evaluate training and education programs regularly to ensure they are meeting the specific needs of different departments and that they are aligned with the goals and objectives of the organization so adjustments can be made along the way if needed.
It’s important to note that change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort, and resources to implement a successful change program. This is why it’s important to have a long-term strategy that is supported by regular education, training, reinforcement, coaching, and other assets for employees at all levels of the organization. Effective training programs involve leadership participating in new learning so they can be a role model to the rest of the organization. Organizations built for the future must embrace learning and make continuous learning a part of the company culture.
In conclusion, if you want to future-proof your organization, it’s important to have a well-thought-out program that contains regular education, training, reinforcement, coaching, and other assets. Change happens over time. It is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process. Just like our bodies, our organizations need regular exercise and reinforcement from a personal trainer to strengthen and develop their muscles. Education and training are like regular exercise that develops the muscles of our organizations, coaching provides an opportunity for employees to receive feedback, guidance, and support and be challenged, and evaluation helps to determine the effectiveness of the education and training program. These elements work together to ensure that the change program is effective and sustainable. As Jack Welch once remarked, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” So, future-proof your organization by embracing change before it’s too late,