Research tells us that only a little over 50 percent of companies believe their current leaders are equipped to lead in their organization's digital transformation.
It is no surprise so many of us in the HR and Talent industry are working on solving this problem. Technology has changed the way we do business. It has changed the way we engage with our customers, each other, and what we expect from our employee and learning experiences, especially with the unique challenges posed by COVID-19.
There are countless articles about the skills needed to be effective leaders in our digital world and many unanswered questions about what is effective and scalable that we should be adopting. As we develop strategies to address this challenge, there are more questions than answers. Questions like, “What is new in the industry? What are other successful organizations doing? How can we be agile and nimble and deliver comprehensive and personalized development?” My biggest learning is that the basic leadership principles for success have not transformed as much as we would expect- we just need to view and apply them with a different lens.
How important is Mindset?
There is much compelling industry research on Growth Mindset and the desired capabilities of the digital Leaders of tomorrow. Growth Mindset is a concept that declares a person's potential is limitless- we all possess the ability to grow our knowledge, skills and abilities through focus, dedication and effort. People who have this perspective don't view success and failure through the traditional lenses many of us have been socialized with, rather view "failure" as a learning opportunity and a challenge. Failure is not a judgement of character or aptitude. Releasing this burden is the first step to unlocking and accelerating your personal and professional growth, and a critical factor in our success as leaders.
We are all leaders- whether you are responsible for an organization of 500, or an Agile POD of 12. The same principles apply if you are leading a project, an effort in your community, or if you are a parent or a mentor. We have an opportunity to step up every single day in a way that inspires others.
Carol Dweck has some phenomenal work in this space, and her book, "Mindset" was a game changer for me. I highly encourage this read if you haven't had the opportunity.
How can adopting a Growth Mindset transform your culture and improve business outcomes?
Can you imagine a world at work without judgement and assessment but instead, focused on growth and development? There is compelling evidence that Leaders who embrace this thinking not only are more open to innovation themselves, but also tend to be more supportive of the growth, development and satisfaction of their employees. An effective leadership growth mindset emphasizes several points at the core of its values- continuous learning, customer experience, and being fanatic employee experience; all in the spirit of driving the right business results.
Changing the way your organization works (by adopting Agile principles) will help strengthen a culture of learning and innovation. Companies that identify as “learning organizations” deliver better business outcomes as a result of embracing a Growth Mindset. Their focus is on testing and learning to improve customer [and employee] experiences.
COVID-19 has been especially taxing on leaders.
Organizations are challenged with high burnout, less time to dedicate to development and business problems, and competing priorities while working from home. Developing your leaders to remain resilient, clarify priorities, and inspire and empower their employees is critical to sustain your workforce and deliver real tangible impact.
Leaders who take the time to connect with employees and inspire followership with a shared vision and a clear purpose drives higher engagement and enablement. The team is inspired because they believe in the cause and purpose, and are clear about the role they play. They are empowered because their expertise is valued and appreciated, and they are engaged because they know they belong and have permission to take risks. Even if they fail, this is valued and celebrated as learning that makes the product or experience better. These learnings are shared and applied, over and over. This in practice, is a growth mindset - and the key to sustained success.
Developing your leaders is more important now than ever.
Research tells us that the culture of an organization is the single-most important driver in developing leaders, so it is imperative any learning initiative is supported by top executives that openly declare the value of growth and development. Research also shows that the majority of organizations still primarily lean on Learning Programs to accelerate development. Implementing a blended approach to leader development that includes formal programming, a “leaders as teachers” model, community and peer learning, coaching and mentoring programs, and strategic learning sustainment strategies (like nudge technology) have the greatest success.
If you are intentional with creating a culture focused on Growth Mindset and designing your development programs around these principles you will experience more engaged leaders and employees that drive sustained business impact, even through the most challenging circumstances.