Working and managing in organizations has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. This posting by Virgin on a B Team report illustrates the skills and characteristics of both people and organizations that are, and will be successful in the future. This is not the time or place for the controlling, hierarchical or dictatorial leader or organization. That has been demonstrably shown to inhibit growth, creativity and sustained success.
One key point is that management will be about enabling, empowerment and creating environments where people can be successful if they do the work, keep learning and growing. This is also the place were mentors will be key to both management and individuals. The future workplace is complex, fast changing and one that is best navigated with some help and a guiding hand, but most of all, a trusted voice helping you challenge your choices and decisions.
In a previous post I covered the importance of setting clear life goals and how to do that. Achieving big goals takes time, sometimes most of your life, so you need to set smaller goals along the way toward those big goals. To illustrate, let’s assume one of your goals is to achieve an executive management level, or CEO of a corporation. Most likely you have deep specialized knowledge of some technology, service, or industry right now and can deliver outstanding results in your area of specialization.
To get to the specific goal will require you to develop a lot of other skills, ones that you currently lack, or are poor at, or even afraid of. To be a successful executive you will need to also be a good leader. Leading means you demonstrate integrity and trust. You also build good interpersonal relationships quickly with anybody, you are accountable, make decisions and can influence all the people you work with to achieve results. This is a daunting list for most people, so you need to look at your current skills relative to the goal, do an honest assessment, ask others for feedback and then set some smaller goals that will lead toward that big one. Remember all your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. goals.
A common challenge for most people that want to be leaders is learning how to influence others, usually their subordinate leaders and managers, but also their peers and anybody they may be leading. Influence requires trust and belief in your abilities, and that you act with integrity and in the best interest of the corporation, its goals and people. However, that is not enough. You need to be a good communicator. If you cannot get your message out and be heard you cannot begin to influence others.
Communication comes in many forms today and you need to be skilled at all of them. You need to be comfortable talking to anybody at any any level. You must also be comfortable talking to a room full of peers, management and team members, as well as standing up in front of a large audience to deliver the message. You need to be able to write well. Your written pieces should be clear, to the point, easy to understand and convey valuable information. You need to be able to write for the different audiences and deliver in the many form factors (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, watch, blog post, tweet, text, email, etc.) we have today.
Pick the communication skill you need to develop, set some short term goals for them and get to work. You have a lot to learn (we all do, no matter how good we think we are), and start practicing your new skills.
Step by step you will work toward that bigger goal.
A large number of people are discovering the value of a mentor. Many are learning that a mentor can help you accelerate your career growth, broaden your influence and achieve your goals more quickly. You will still have to do the work, in fact you may end up working harder, but it will be because you have a clearer path to your objectives in life. A recent posting by Sean Phipps illustrates how a mentor can help you. Read it here.
If you are thinking about getting a mentor, reach out to one and have a serious discussion about your dreams and your goals. The right one will step up and help. To read more about finding the right mentor, read my article here.