Building your workforce into a community and a team

Co-authored by Geoff Hudson-Searle, and Ex-Lieutenant Colonel Oakland McCulloch,

It is always a pleasure to join forces with my good friend, ex-Lieutenant Cornel Oakland McCulloch. I have always said the biggest issues in the world today are Leadership without Purpose, Trust, Community which has an obvious correlation to Societal and its Impact to the World. Geoff Hudson-Searle is an expert and practitioner, discussing the role of leadership in creating trust. I was interviewed on London Live at 6pm a short while ago, discussing the issue of trust and the various elements that create community trust, no big surprise that we discussed Leadership Purpose and why we need to build Community trust to really create a positive change to Societal.

“Today’s leaders have a responsibility to inspire the leaders of tomorrow.”
– Lieutenant Colonel Oak McCulloch

Whether it’s leading a group of people in an office setting, managing teams remotely, or more likely, leading a hybrid workforce, it’s critical for leaders to build and maintain trust with their people.

Leadership trust creates the stable foundation for employees and their organizations to flex, adapt, and thrive in times of continuous change.

The behaviors that build trust are the very behaviors that manage change. Trust building helps teams step into ambiguity, stay committed to managing the unknown with confidence, and embrace change as an opportunity to learn, grow, and do great work together.

• Trust is an essential part of a functioning society.
• Public trust has eroded dramatically in the last two decades.
• Leaders can take steps to build trust and improve performance within their organizations.

Trust is an essential component of a free, democratic society. Faith in the process of laws and elections leads to a decrease in violence, an increase in social programs, and a willingness to sacrifice temporary individual interests in favor of collective societal interests. Political trust is especially important in times of crisis when citizens need reliable guidance from political leadership. For example, in the event of an epidemic, which always carries risk and uncertainty, it is essential that citizens trust the advice of public health officials in order to protect themselves and their communities.

Unfortunately, political trust has declined dramatically in the last few decades.

There has also been a decrease in trust in employer leadership, with workers decreasingly confident in employers’ leadership abilities, and willingness to deal fairly and honestly with them.

This is a problem because trust is associated with better performance. People perform at their peak when they can trust their coworkers to do their part, and they believe in management’s plan, and they think management has at least some interest in their well-being. Trust in the organization encourages workers to invest their best efforts rather than just getting by, and follow guidance from leadership even when they may not see an immediate benefit.

Rebuilding trust is a long-term project that will require a massive collective effort, and long-term policy success. In the meantime, there are some steps that leaders can take to build trust locally in their own organizations.

I reviewed a recent study of more than 140 top leadership teams, team members reported greater psychological safety at work when they regularly shared information and developed relationships of mutual influence with others. Interpersonal trust, information sharing, and mutual influence increases overall group psychological safety — a key driver of team performance and innovation.

A shared understanding and language to talk about the specific behaviors that affect trust can result in more productive conversations about team performance. Those conversations can even create stronger bonds between leaders and employees.

But leadership trust isn’t a one-off initiative. It requires continued effort from all team members. And it takes leaders who are willing to show integrity, change behavior, and take on the hard work of collaborating across boundaries and dealing with differences.

Research shows that trust represents a core human need we all have: to trust others, to be trusted in return, and to trust in ourselves. When trust is present, people align around the purpose of their team, embrace goals and objectives, willingly collaborate, and are empowered to do their best work.

When trust is absent, or made vulnerable, work becomes more difficult and takes longer to execute. With the pace of change in today’s organizations, leaders need trust more than ever before.

Building trust with the communities we serve is critical to living our mission. When nonprofits are initially formed, purposeful missions are created with a desire to fulfill an unmet need. From that point forward, things get complex. The people, systems, and processes that make a nonprofit work can separate us from the very people we set out to serve.

We probably think we spend a lot of time listening to our communities and, in many cases, nonprofit leaders do just that. The key is to move from just hearing to active listening. Active listening requires you to listen not just for the facts being shared, but the values and emotions behind the facts.

Listening creates trust, asking questions, seeking clarification, and encouraging others to share their perspective can help create a sense of belonging by building trust. By centering your mission in your conversations with your community and actively listening to their responses, you build confidence that you are working towards a shared impact.

It is also important to listen to every constituency; not just the people who are easily accessible or who make the most noise. By establishing inclusive communication channels that encourage participation from all viewpoints in service of your mission, you have an opportunity to build trust.

Finally, trust is not just a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity. It serves as the glue that holds relationships, families, organizations, and societies together. When trust is present, it creates a positive environment where people feel safe to take risks, share ideas, and be authentic. This fosters innovation, collaboration, and growth, making trust a powerful multiplier that accelerates processes, reduces costs, and increases efficiency.

Trust is more than just about competence and reliability; it also encompasses character, integrity, honesty, and doing what is right, even when no one is watching. It builds bridges, heals wounds, and creates lasting connections within communities. Often, organizational performance issues can be traced back to underlying trust issues

Trust is not built overnight; it requires vulnerability, empathy, and a willingness to extend trust first. When we trust, we open doors to new possibilities and unlock the potential within ourselves and others. Trust is the foundation of meaningful relationships and endeavors, and it serves as the currency of leadership in creating a better world.

Remember that trust is the key to creating high-performing teams, thriving organizations, and harmonious communities. Trust has the power to transform individuals and societies alike.

Today I have the distinct pleasure of introducing a fellow author, retired Lieutenant Colonel Oakland McCulloch and good friend– he is a speaker and the author of the 2021 release, “Your Leadership Legacy: Becoming the Leader You Were Meant to Be.”

Over to you Oak!

Thank you, Geoff.

I have overseen many different organizations over my 40 plus years of being a leader. Some were well-functioning organizations when I took charge and others were not. My goal taking charge of any organization was always the same – to make it better.

In my experience the best, most efficient and most effective organizations are the ones that become a community, instead of just a workforce. In a work community the people who work there actually get to know each other and care for and about each other. If your organization just has a workforce then people come to work, draw a paycheck, and go home. It should not be hard to figure out which type of workforce you want in the organization you are leading.

The first step to building a community instead of a workforce is to get to know the people you have the privilege to lead. It all starts with you. If you don’t get to know the people who work for the organization then others will not take the time to do it either. You, as the leader, must set an example for the others in your organization.

There are several ways to start building those personal relationships between you and your team, and between the people of your team.

Start by making an effort to get out from behind your desk and out of your office. Everyday get out and meet the people you lead where they work. I tell leaders your goal should be to go out and find one person each day and find out something new about that person. To really get to know them and to start to build the trust that is needed, don’t ask only about work, ask about their personal life. What is their spouse’s name? What are their kids’ names? What sports do their kids play? What are the person’s hobbies? What do they like and don’t like? If you make this effort, you will be surprised not only by what you learn about the people you are leading, but you will also find that others will take your lead and start to talk with each other.

If your organization is like most, the people in your organization may not even know the other people who work there. In many organizations, especially larger organizations, people may know each other’s names but they could not tell you who they are if they saw them walking down the hall. This is because they text or e-mail or call them on the phone throughout the day, but do not have a face-to-face conversation with others in the building. There is an easy way to fix this.

Make every Friday a no text, no e-mail, no phone call day inside the building. If you want to talk or pass a message to someone inside the building you must get out of your chair and go find that person. All communication inside the building on that day must be face-to-face. You will find that your people will start to get to know each other very quickly. You will notice them stopping to talk to each other when they pass each other in the hallway.

The second step to building a community is to turn the workforce into a team. You want the people working in the organization to feel they are a vital part of the team, not just someone who works there, draws their paycheck and goes home. There are several ways to accomplish this.

A way to get started in this direction is to emphasize team collaboration and effort on projects. You can even go so far as assigning projects to a group, a team, that you select to work together. The people on that assigned project will not only feel like part of a team, but will also get to know the people they are working with better as well.

Establishing shared team goals will help you begin to build a team instead of just a workforce. People will start seeing that they are not just an individual who works in the organization, but that they are a valued member of the team. I would also go as far as making sure each member of the team understands their role as a member of the team in accomplishing those team goals.

The third way to build strong teams is to celebrate successes and wins, no matter how small.

Everyone likes, and needs, positive recognition for their effort. When you give this positive recognition for successes and wins, it will again reinforce that they accomplished this as a team, not as an individual. This encourages them to work together to accomplish the project they have been assigned and take pride in the accomplishments of the team.

Lastly, if you truly want to build a team out of your workforce then hold special events.

These special events can be simple or as elaborate as you want or can afford. I would encourage you to have an event at least once a quarter. If you can do them once a month that would be even better. The events that have worked best for me in the past have been a luncheon, catered by the company. This is a great way for people to get to know each other, especially if you make it a requirement that people have to sit at a table with different people at each event. This is also a GREAT place to celebrate, very publicly, those successes and wins.

If you truly want to develop your workforce into a team it takes a conscious decision and effort on your part as the leader. It will not just happen. The ways to help this process along are not hard. The hard part is for you the leader to actually make the effort to make it happen. Once the process is started and starts to take hold you will be amazed at how quickly it happens and the results you will see. Building a team really is the best way to get the most out of your people and to make your organization the best it can be.

Blaine Lee Pardoe American author and military historian once said:

“When people honor each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy, interdependence, and deep respect. Both parties make decisions and choices based on what is right, what is best, what is valued most highly.”

This article is the expressed opinions and collaboration between two senior-level industry board professionals on their views and perceptions on the subject matter:

Oakland McCulloch was born in Loudon, Tennessee, and raised in Kirkland, Illinois. After graduating from high school, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point for two years. He then graduated from Northern Illinois University and received his commission as an Infantry Officer through the Reserve Officer Training Course in 1986.

In his 23-year career in the Army Oak McCulloch held numerous leadership positions in the Infantry and Armor branches. He assisted in disaster relief operations for Hurricane HUGO in Charleston, South Carolina, and Hurricane ANDREW in south Florida.

His operational deployments include Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a General’s Aide-de-Camp, the Congressional Liaison Officer in support of operations in Bosnia, and the Operations Officer during a Peace Keeping deployment to Kosovo.
He held instructor positions at the US Army Ordnance School, the US Army Command and General Staff College, the Australian Command and Staff College, the University of South Alabama, and Stetson University. His last position in the Army was a three-year tour as the Professor of Military Science at the University of South Alabama where he led the training and commissioning of Lieutenants and tripled the size of the program in his three-year tour.

LTC McCulloch retired from the Army in September 2009 with over 23 years of active service and joined the staff at the Bay Area Food Bank as the Associate Director. He was also the Vice Chair for Military Affairs at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Mobile Rotary International Club. LTC McCulloch left the food bank in December 2010 to become the Senior Military Science Instructor and recruiter for the Army ROTC program at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. In his 9 years at Stetson, the program grew from 15 Cadets to over 100 Cadets. In October 2013, he became the Recruiting Operations Officer for the Eagle Battalion Army ROTC program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he has more than doubled the size of the program in 6 years. Cadet Command selected LTC McCulloch as the top recruiting officer, out of 274 recruiters, for 2019. LTC Oak McCulloch published his first book in February 2021 – “Your Leadership Legacy: Becoming the Leader You Were Meant to Be”.

LTC McCulloch earned a Bachelor of Science degree in History from Northern Illinois University in 1987 and a Master of Military Arts and Science in History from the United States Army Command and General Staff College in 2002. He received thirty-one military service awards including the Bronze Star, eight Meritorious Service Medals, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

LTC Oak McCulloch is married to the former Kelly Smyth of Wauconda, Illinois. They were married at Fort Sheridan, Illinois in 1987 and they have two children, Oakland Vincent McCulloch and Caileigh Nicholson. They also have a granddaughter, Ryleigh Jade Nicholson, and two grandsons Christopher Bryce Nicholson and Oakland Maverick McCulloch.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/oakland-mcculloch-34293256

Geoff Hudson-Searle is a senior independent digital non-executive director across regulation, technology, and internet security, C-Suite executive on private and listed companies, and serial business advisor for growth-phase tech companies.

With more than 30 years of experience in international business and management he is the author of seven books: Freedom After the Sharks; Meaningful Conversations; Journeys to Success: Volume 9, GOD in Business, Purposeful Discussions, The Trust Paradigm and Scars to Stars Volume 3 and lectures at business forums, conferences, and universities. He has been the focus of radio/podcasts and TV with London Live, Talk TV, TEDx and RT Europe’s business documentary across various thought leadership topics and print media with The Executive Magazine, Headspring/FT, Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Raconteur, AMBA, BCS, EuropeanCEO, CEOToday across his authorisms.

A member and fellow of the Institute of Directors, associate of The Business Institute of Management, a cofounder and board member of the Neustar International Security Council (NISC) and a distinguished member of the Advisory Council for The Global Cyber Academy. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Having worked for corporate companies Citibank N.A, MICE Group Plc, Enigma Design, MMT Inc, Kaspersky Laboratory, Bartercard Plc, and RG Group around the world, Geoff has vast international experience working with SME and multinational international clients. International clients with which Geoff has worked include the British Government, HP, Compaq, BT, Powergen, Intel, ARM, Wartsila Group, Atari, Barclays Bank, Societe Generale, Western Union, Chase and Volvo.

Geoff has worked in a broad range of industries including software, technology and banking which has given him a range of different experiences and perspectives of what can work, the importance of good people, process and how these can be applied and amplified to deliver results in different scenarios and paradigms. Geoff is known for bringing in a fresh viewpoint and sometimes challenging the status-quo with a strategic approach delivering successful change management programmes and launching companies and products internationally that deliver results. Geoff’s areas of expertise lie in brand strategy, business communications, business integration, business development and improvement, capital raise activities, pre-IPO planning, capital raise transactions, M&A with full P&L responsibility, which ideally equips him to strengthen global companies, develop SME and international business, and marketing strategies.
The trust Paradigm
At Amazon: buy now

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/geoffsearle

Entrepreneurial Leadership

There has been much discussion around transformative innovation that explores new horizons and potentially disrupts business models, and whether this requires an entrepreneur mindset.

‘’Entrepreneurial Leadership’’ is a mindset that emphasizes the strategic management of risk and dynamic, changing systems. Entrepreneurial leaders look for new opportunities and ways to innovate as individuals and as part of a team.

These qualities often contrast with traditional leadership methodologies that emphasize following processes and procedures in an orderly, predictable way to minimize risk

Leaders need to harnesses the power of relationships, puts people first, enabling them to take on and solve daunting challenges enabled by a mindset that turns problems into opportunities that creates economic and social benefit.

Passion for ownership and collaboration, thriving in uncertainty, relentless optimism about the future, deeply inquisitive, open to new experiences and unique skills of persuasion are powerful mindsets and beliefs demonstrated by entrepreneurial leaders. The best entrepreneurial leaders are good at experimenting, learning and iterating that unleashes an ability to unlearn and relearn at an increasingly faster rate.

I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, and fortunately, I can find it almost anywhere. It’s one of the reasons
I love to travel. Since the senses are heightened around new circumstances, it’s an opportunity to reconnect to the world sensorially.

For many years I had the fortune to travel to Finland on business, the country values its people and offers many socially responsible programs, like free higher education. Its weather has also had a profound impact on its people. Winters are cold and there is a hardiness to the people as a result of dealing with that cold. The Finns use the word ‘’Sisu’’ to describe their character.

According to Wikipedia, the true meaning of the word Sisu:

“Cannot be translated properly into the English language. Loosely translated to mean stoic determination, bravery, guts, resilience, perseverance and hardiness, expressing the historic self-identified Finnish national character.”

Sisu is a great ideal that can be found at the heart of every entrepreneurial endeavour: contained within its English translation is the combination of guts, grit, resilience, determination, and bravery. It takes a combination all of the above to take a concept from idea to reality. Those who have changed our world had Sisu within them.

Sisu refers to mindset. In her book “Mindset,” Carol Dweck talks about two types of mindsets: one is fixed while the other is growth-oriented. By fixed, Dweck means that a person might think that they are born with a certain amount of talent and it won’t change. If you can’t sing, for example, you never will. A growth mindset is focused on learning: I can’t sing… yet. The yet is the most important part of the growth mindset.

Professor Carol Dweck – Leadership and the Growth Mindset

Perseverance, from my perspective, means one is not ready to give up yet, and therefore Sisu can be considered a growth mindset.

How are executives responding in todays new business world? As you may expect, they are largely focusing on maintaining business continuity, especially in their core. Executives must weigh cutting costs, driving productivity, and implementing safety measures against supporting innovation-led growth.

Unsurprisingly, investments in innovation are suffering. The executives in a recent survey by McKinsey & Company showed that they strongly believe that they will return to innovation-related initiatives once the world has stabilized, the core business is secure, and the path forward is clearer. However, only a quarter reported that capturing new growth was a top priority (first- or second-order) today, compared to roughly 60 percent before the crisis hit.

Possibly the most important discussion around business today, design lead creativity and innovation is about spearheading business reinvention and the disruptive economy.

Innovation, the successful implementation of new ideas, is an important driver of economic growth.

At IBEM combining our collective wisdom and experience we have developed a number of systematic models and approaches that can greatly assist on this journey of entrepreneurial leadership.

We start off with our entrepreneurial leadership canvas which defines a set of skills an attributes of an executive team that we believe are more fit for purpose for the future we face. This has been compiled with input from senior global executives and top thought leaders from academia. This forms the bedrock of all supporting models and approaches and when used in this context has the ability to unlock both strategic and cultural innovation.

We unpack the view of the three horizons of growth and how portfolio theory can have on growth aspirations with H1 running the core business, H2 transforming the core business and H3 innovating brand new businesses.

Appreciating the ease or product replication globally we commence a journey of discovery relating to business models and business model innovation. This ultimately leads to a discovery of what is the core job to be done for customers and does your business model play in the blue ocean or red ocean. Business model innovation is currently untapped in most organisations and is a wonderful approach to reinventing the customer experiences of the future.

Most organisations fail to take this opportunity.

Through our deep experience in building a design thinking school we demonstrate the power of this approach and how it can be used as a catalyst for innovation and driving a more human centred approach that is deeply embedded in empathy mapping.

Change is complex and in many cases not undertaken in a manner that uplifts and unlocks mindsets and beliefs. With our experience working with Harvard Professor John Kotter on his 8 steps of change process we believe this to be a wonderful foundation for any transformational change programme.

Successful innovation creates customer value through new products, services and processes, giving rise to new markets and economic growth, as well as contributing to higher productivity, lower costs, increased profits and employment. The central role of innovation in creating future prosperity and quality of life is widely acknowledged and accepted. Innovation drives long-term economic growth, and states that:

Innovation… has long been viewed as central to economic performance and social welfare and empirical evidence has confirmed the link between innovation and growth. This means that all businesses must understand the importance of innovation and develop an innovation culture to strengthen its efforts and outcomes. In addition to its growing importance and profile, innovation culture has also evolved in line with developing thinking about the scope and nature of innovation in a disruptive economy.

There is a huge gap between aspiration and reality – McKinsey & Company’s yearly global CEO report shows that 84% of world leaders are still operating in a horizon 1 strategy. Leaders who use vision to navigate the future often employ strategy to help them steer their organizations more effectively toward its destination.

To lead with vision, however, requires a fine balance among what matters today, what we anticipate will matter tomorrow, and how we can create the future through inspired, collective effort. There are three horizons that leaders should understand to ensure that vision unfolds as one would hope.

To define the horizon thinking:
• Horizon 1 ideas provide continuous innovation to a company’s existing business model and core capabilities in the short-term.
• Horizon 2 ideas extend a company’s existing business model and core capabilities to new customers, markets, or targets.
• Horizon 3 is the creation of new capabilities and new business to take advantage of or respond to disruptive opportunities or to counter disruption.

Leaders need to see beyond the short termism, uncertainty and address the risks while finding the opportunities in digital disruption, the economy, and geopolitical uncertainties, this requires a horizon 2 and horizon 3 approach. CEO’s are the company’s ultimate strategist.

In my experience, innovative cultures start with a philosophy and a tone one analogous to the classic parenting advice that children need both “roots and wings.” As an innovation leader, you must ground creative people in accountability for the organization’s objectives, key focus areas, core capabilities, and commitments to stakeholders. Then you give them broad discretion to conduct their work in service of those parameters. Obsessing too much about budget and deadlines will kill ideas before they get off the ground. Once your scientists understand that they are ultimately accountable for delivering practical products and processes that can be manufactured affordably, you can trust them to not embarrass you by wasting a lot of money and effort.

This trust helps forge an innovation culture. Innovation parenting also pays attention to innovators’ social development. Millennials, in particular, will expect and seek out opportunities to interact with people who interest and excite them exchanges that should, in turn, build innovation energy. To help individuals see where their work fits in the knowledge ecosystem, encourage relationships with colleagues in the internal innovation chain, from manufacturing to marketing and distribution. I ask my new hires to generate a list of who’s who at Corning within the first few months on the job. This helps them overcome the assumption that many hold that they must do everything themselves.

Innovation culture is made up of practices that support and strengthen innovation as a significant aspect of progress and growth.

It includes all structures, habits, processes, instructions, pursuits, and incentives that institutions implement to make innovation happen. It values, drives, and supports innovative thinking in order for it to be successful on an organizational level. To fully understand the importance of your company’s innovation culture you need to know how this impacts what employees do or say at work every day. This will help establish specific behaviours within the organization such as communication patterns between departments during meetings or who gets credit for new ideas when they come about.

While most business leaders now believe having a diverse and inclusive culture is critical to performance, they don’t always know how to achieve that goal.

Continuous innovation stimulates revenue growth and helps companies perform better during economic downturns.

Fixation on top-line growth can skew innovation efforts, resulting only in innovative gains from the low-hanging fruit of incremental growth.

Disruptive innovation is only possible when the entire organization is set up for an innovation mindset, a process that starts with proper leadership training. In this environment, nimble decision-making is a companion to rigorous experimentation. Team members must make the best decisions possible as quickly as required. These decisions must be open to re-examination as new information surfaces.

Trust is one of the most vital forms of capital a leader has today. Amid economic turbulence and global uncertainty, people are increasingly turning to their employers and business leaders as a source of truth, rather than their institutions and government officials. Trust, which can be defined as a belief in the abilities, integrity, and character of another person, is often thought of as something that personal relationships are built on.

A high-trust organization is one in which employees feel safe to take risks, express themselves freely, and innovate. When trust is instilled in an organization, tasks get accomplished with less difficulty because people are more likely to collaborate and communicate with each other in productive ways. As a result, outcomes tend to be more successful. No heroic leader can resolve the complex challenges we face today. To address the important issues of our time we need a fundamental change of perspective. We need to start questioning many of our taken for granted assumptions about our business and social environment.

Leaders serve as role models for their followers and demonstrate the behavioural boundaries set within an organisation. The appropriate and desired behaviour is enhanced through culture and socialisation process of the newcomers. Employees learn about values from watching leaders in action. The more the leader “walks the talk”, by translating internalized values into action, the higher level of trust and respect he generates from followers.

There are countless reasons why a growth mindset is important for business. There are several iconic brands that have adopted a growth mindset, including Apple, Bloomberg, and General Electric, and are known as innovators in their space. A fixed mindset can hinder growth and stops innovation from flourishing – a major problem for companies looking to get ahead of the competition.

One of the world’s most well-known and successful companies, Microsoft, switched its culture to a growth mindset when CEO Satya Nadella took over in 2014. In his words, prior to this mindset shift, “Innovation was being replaced by bureaucracy. Teamwork was being replaced by internal politics. We were falling behind.” Once Microsoft consciously started examining its work culture and implementing the attitudes of a growth mindset, including valuing innovation even if there’s failure along the way, the company truly transformed. As one employee put it, “The culture at Microsoft changed from ‘know-it-all’ to ‘learn-it-all’.” This ultimately helped Microsoft continue to lead in the technology space.

A growth mindset dramatically improves a company culture, but it must be practiced by senior leadership before junior employees will feel comfortable taking on the same mindset.

According to one study, employees that are in a company that values a growth mindset are 47% likelier to say their colleagues are trustworthy, 65% likelier to say that the company supports risk taking and 49% likelier to say that the company fosters innovation. To sum it up, employees value working at a company that fosters a growth mindset.

Companies that encourage a growth mindset must communicate what that mindset entails clearly with employees, so they know it’s okay to take risks, try new things, and potentially fail. According to the NeuroLeadership Institute’s Idea Report, “Growth Mindset Culture,” support from top leadership is critical for success in an organization. Sixty-nine percent of organizations used top leaders to communicate, teach, and role model growth mindset throughout the company.

Educating and instilling a growth mindset into company culture is a worthy cause for organizations looking to continue to innovate and stay ahead of their competition. When top leaders within a company embrace a growth mindset, the entire organization will follow suit.

Finally, to help bridge the trust gap we recognise that organisations need to work with each other and with wider society to identify practicable, actionable steps that businesses can take to shape a new relationship with wider society: a new ‘settlement’ based on mutual understanding and a shared recognition of the positive role that business plays in people’s lives.

The essential practices underpinning distinctive innovation have not changed in this time of crisis, but the relative emphasis and urgency of where businesses should focus has.

Above all, organizations need to realize that innovation, now more than ever, is a choice. Regardless of the relative emphasis and order, which for years have helped leading innovators more than double the total returns to shareholders compared to laggards, will continue to be critical in navigating and emerging even stronger from this crisis.

In the words of Professor Carol Dweck – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:

“Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

Reimagining a changing leadership in HR – How recruitment can help build the organization

Co-authored by Geoff Hudson-Searle and Gimena Uhrich

HR is undergoing a significant shift with the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. This transformation is driven by the need for greater optimization and cost efficiency, as well as the desire to enhance the employee experience.

The use of generative AI, and other new technology, is enabling HR teams to work more efficiently with data, find talent with future-fit skills, and improve decision-making. To succeed in transformation, organizations need to embrace a multi-dimensional approach aligning processes, systems, skills, content, and strategy around the employee experience.

Oscar Wilde once said: “A cynic knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.”
Indeed, the same can be said for organisations that view their workforce as a cost, rather than an asset to be nurtured and developed over time.

Many modern-day organisations have now come to the realisation that it is the firm’s intangible assets, such as the knowledge and skill of their employees, that is fundamental to creating value and attaining a sustainable competitive advantage over rival firms.

Organisations today find themselves operating in a knowledge economy, and this raises many questions as to how firms can facilitate the creation, development and sharing of knowledge among its employees. Hence, the management and measurement of human capital (HC) has become an issue of great strategic importance.

Managing talent well has become crucial for finding opportunity in the midst of change, as leaders must shape a workforce with the skills to deliver on strategy now and in the future. Financial capital isn’t the main limiting factor in rising to today’s challenges – talent is.

The key to success is a talent-first mindset. Too many organizations go from initiative to implementation without thinking about the talent required. By putting talent first, the human resources function becomes a true driver of business value. We establish talent management as a distinct competitive advantage, matching talent to where the most value is at stake.

By delivering on dynamic talent allocation, closing skills gaps, and transforming core systems, we partner with organizations to build the talent capabilities they need to sustain and scale impact.

The most important resource in any economy or organization is its human capital—that is, the collective knowledge, attributes, skills, experience, and health of the workforce. While human capital development starts in early childhood and continues through formal education.

Human capital is much more than a macroeconomic abstraction. Each person has a unique, living, breathing set of capabilities. Those capabilities belong to the individual, who decides where to put them to work. The degree of choice is not limitless, of course.

People are the products of geography, family, and education; their starting points matter. Having career options also depends on an individual’s abilities and attributes, their networks, their family obligations, the health of the broader labour market, and societal factors.

While we recognize these constraints, career moves are nevertheless an important mechanism for expanding skills and increasing earnings. The patterns within our data set show that moving into a new role pays off—and even more so when someone lands a new position that stretches their capabilities or represents a match that better utilizes their skills.

Not all companies are equally good at developing people. Size is not the differentiator, as we find that small companies can be just as adept as their larger counterparts in this area. But companies with the strongest organizational health, those that offer more structured training for their employees, and those that provide more opportunities for internal advancement seem to stand out.

People join these companies to build knowledge and networks, understanding that their experience will provide a valuable signal to other employers for the remainder of their careers. Early career experience at these companies helps employees go on to become more upwardly mobile.

Companies can help individuals grow—and establish themselves as great learning organizations and magnets for talent in the process. Three priorities stand out:

Understand the potential in people as well as their current knowledge and skills. Most employers can benefit from challenging the status quo of how they select people for open roles. Instead of searching for “holy grail” external candidates whose prior experience precisely matches the responsibilities in an open role, leading organizations create systems for evaluating candidates based on their capacity to learn, their intrinsic capabilities, and their transferable skills.

This requires designing assessments that are fit for purpose, focusing on the few core skills that matter for success in the role. It also involves removing biases that pigeonhole people into the roles they are already performing; this point is particularly important when it comes to existing employees.

Research by McKinsey shows more than half of all role moves undertaken by individuals involved a skill distance of more than 25 percent—and this implies that people often have latent capabilities that are not recognized by their current employers. If someone’s track record shows the acquisition of new skills over time, it probably means that person is capable of learning more. Employers should be less constrained about recruiting candidates from traditional sources and backgrounds and more open to people who have taken unconventional career paths.

Embrace mobility. Global studies show more than 80 percent of all the role moves individuals made involved changing employers. Since there is no fighting the fact that talented people will move, the key for employers is becoming part of this flow.

Employers can aim to beat the odds on both sides of this 80-20 dynamic. On one end, they can attract the best candidates among the big talent pool that is always searching. On the other, they can boost the productivity and engagement of valued employees who stay.

To ensure that proven employees don’t have to go elsewhere to advance, organizations should set the expectation that part of a manager’s job is developing people who will go on to other things. Each role should have clear paths toward future roles, with skill requirements delineated at each stage. One way to do this in a large organization is to create an internal digital platform where employees can access learning modules and find their next opportunity.

Mobility is experience, not just upward progression. Lateral movement is a neglected opportunity for many organizations. When talented employees do move on, celebrate them as success stories—and don’t close the door on welcoming them back in a different capacity in the future.

Strengthen coaching, particularly early in an employee’s tenure. A great deal of skills development happens day to day on the job. Coaching and apprenticeship can maximize this effect. Our research suggests that the first few years of a career are foundational, and the same is true for the first year in any new job. Formal onboarding is not just an orientation session but a six-month to one-year period that should involve a thoughtfully created journey.

Organizations can provide the tools for a running start, including a manager committed to delivering coaching and facilitating connections. Even after hitting their stride, employees need ongoing opportunities to learn; this can pay off in the form of higher morale and reduced attrition.

In a June 2023 Gallup survey, 65 percent of US workers said that learning new skills is an extremely or very important factor in deciding whether to take a new job, and 61 percent said it was extremely or very important in deciding whether to stay at their current job. Formal learning and development programs that prepare employees for future roles are part of this, but it is difficult to make them effective. Companies that are true learning organizations build their own formulas, customized to their needs.

The evolution of technology in recruitment has significantly transformed the way companies attract, engage, and hire top talent.

Many innovative tools and platforms, from AI-powered candidate screening systems to sophisticated recruitment software, have driven this transformation.

These are designed to streamline processes, automate time-consuming tasks, enhance efficiency, and ultimately deliver better hiring outcomes.

The role of technology in recruitment has seen a significant evolution, transforming the way companies attract, engage, and hire top talent. From advanced candidate matching systems and gamified assessment tools to AI recruitment tools, chatbots and recruitment marketing platforms, technology is reshaping the recruitment landscape.

These technologies offer numerous benefits, including increased efficiency, improved candidate experience, and enhanced ability to reach a wider pool of candidates. They also provide valuable data and insights that can inform recruitment strategies and decision-making.

In this context, working with tech-savvy recruiters becomes a strategic advantage for both candidates and companies. Technology recruiters, adept at leveraging the latest recruitment technology, can streamline the hiring process, ensuring that companies find the right fit efficiently. They utilise technology in recruitment to its fullest potential, from AI recruitment tools for intelligent screening to tech for recruiters that assists with candidate engagement and onboarding.

For candidates, these recruitment agencies offer a seamless and engaging experience, often enabled by AI and other innovative technologies. They ensure that candidates are matched with roles that align with their skills, experiences, and aspirations, thereby improving job satisfaction and retention in the long run.

However, while the benefits of technology in recruitment are clear, it’s equally important to maintain a balance with traditional, human-led strategies. Technology can support and enhance the recruitment process, but it can’t replace the human touch. Personal interactions, intuitive judgement, and relationship-building are central to recruitment and still play a crucial role.

As we move forward, recruiters should embrace the opportunities that technology offers, while also recognising the value of human connection. By striking the right balance, they can leverage the best of both worlds to attract the best talent.

In the ever-evolving world of recruitment, staying abreast of the latest technologies and trends is key. It’s clear that technology will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the recruitment industry. However, it’s the combination of technology and human insight that will truly drive success in recruitment.

As priorities pivot toward purpose and wellbeing, companies must meet candidates where they are, not rely on assumptions. They must walk the talk on social impact to earn trust and loyalty. With clear guidelines for supporting mental health, enacting diversity efforts and balancing innovation with empathy, organizations can transform hiring.

A great quote by Vern Dosch, CEO at National Information Solutions Cooperative and Author of ‘Wired Differently’:

“We can never fall short when it comes to recruiting, hiring, maintaining and growing our workforce. It is the employees who make our organization’s success a reality.”

This article is the expressed opinions and collaboration between two senior-level industry board professionals on their views and perceptions on the subject matter.

Geoff Hudson-Searle is a senior independent digital non-executive director across regulation, technology, and internet security, C-Suite executive on private and listed companies, and serial business advisor for growth-phase tech companies.

With more than 30 years of experience in international business and management he is the author of seven books: Freedom After the Sharks; Meaningful Conversations; Journeys to Success: Volume 9, GOD in Business, Purposeful Discussions, The Trust Paradigm and Scars to Stars Volume 3 and lectures at business forums, conferences, and universities. He has been the focus of radio/podcasts and TV with London Live, Talk TV, TEDx and RT Europe’s business documentary across various thought leadership topics and print media with The Executive Magazine, Headspring/FT, Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Raconteur, AMBA, BCS, EuropeanCEO, CEOToday across his authorisms.

A member and fellow of the Institute of Directors, associate of The Business Institute of Management, a cofounder and board member of the Neustar International Security Council (NISC) and a distinguished member of the Advisory Council for The Global Cyber Academy. He holds a Master’s degree in Business.

Gimena Uhrich is a dynamic and results-oriented professional with a deep passion for seamlessly integrating HR and technology.

With a degree in Business Administration and Management, with complementary training in Human Relations, she presents a unique combination of experience in strategic management and planning, labor relations, and talent acquisition.

Throughout her career, Gimena has consistently demonstrated a deep understanding of the HR landscape. Her ability to leverage technology to improve processes has been instrumental in successfully leading clients. After accumulating experience in prestigious international companies such as Ernst and Young, Accenture, and Unilever, a decade ago she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey and founded INHAUS, a distinguished HR consultancy.

As a forward-thinking entrepreneur, Gimena’s proactive talent management and leadership have elevated INHAUS to the status of a trusted partner of industry leaders. In 2021, she co-founded MENTA, an AI integrated into her HR projects, combining efficiency with a human touch.

Today, Gimena is part of an outstanding team of partners leading INHAUS’ global expansion, in the Americas and European markets, to further consolidate INHAUS as a major player in the global HR consulting arena.

Outside work, Gimena enjoys marketing, photography, and communication, reflecting her passions inside and beyond INHAUS.

Leadership: Lessons and Experiences from the Modern and Ancient Past

In the last few years, leaders and their styles have been in the spotlight. What can this person, regardless of political affiliation, learn from leaders of the past?

Confucius recommends that we “study the past if you would define the future.” Lessons abound in past lives, to be sure, and no more than in those who led. As Retired Admiral Stavridis (and former NATO Supreme Commander) notes in his book The Leader’s Bookshelf, leaders across time, profession, level and setting face “creating effective strategies, inspiring subordinates, distributing scarce resources, communicating effectively, building collaborative teams, and developing innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems”.

Mark Twain would, likely sardonically, agree as in this quote often attributed to him: “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.”
Hence, anyone ignoring history ignores the lessons, often hard won, of millions of leaders. Time does not begin with us. However, the future does.

A lot of criticism and praise have been poured upon different leaders for their decisions and the way they managed business and people throughout these difficult years. It is said that a crisis can bring out the best, as well as the worst in a leader.

However, leadership today is geopolitical war, rising inflation, talent shortages, revamping policies to meet employee demands for more flexibility, and constantly reassuring and focusing on employees in the face of constant uncertainty.

But does being a strong and effective leader enough to cope with the rising challenges presented by the world?

Trust, empathy, compassion, and inclusion are the key asks from the leadership of today! And what’s the better way than to go down the lane and learn from the biggest crisis and shape our leadership with the right skills.

Leaders need to be empathetic, humble and present. That ideal may sound thoroughly modern but it was pioneered by the ancient Greek philosopher, general, historian, novelist, manager and economist Xenophon (430-355 BC), a ‘Renaissance Man’ centuries before the Renaissance was even a thing.

Lauded by Peter Drucker, the ultimate management guru, this Athenian aristocrat remains overshadowed by his mentor Socrates and by Plato, his hero’s famous (and fascist with a lowercase ‘f’) pupil, who saw no place for poetry in his ideal republic.

Xenophon’s worldview was more nuanced. He was admired – and read – by Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Jefferson who, in their differing ways, drew inspiration from his example as a leader who was both thinker and doer.

Leaders need to let go of the “power” trap. People lose the skills that got them power in the first place. Leaders need to beware of the traps that power can create in them which often lead to disaster.

Followership is an important aspect of good leadership- without followers, there are no leaders. Everyone, including leaders, has been a follower at one time. There have been countless research and workshops on effective leadership but none on effective followership.

To differentiate between the “Yes Man” and loyal followers that truly help leaders in creating an impact and achieving the vision. Hence, it is imperative for a leader to be committed to their followers and learn about their team members as individuals. Learn their personal interests and aspirations.

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney

Disney is seen most often sitting around a drawing table or storyboard, with a dozen other artists — sometimes as many as 40 – meticulously plotting and crafting scenes and characters. Walt Disney relied upon his need to give more opportunities to their teams to collaborate and innovate and make the desired impact, and hence participative leadership is a win-win for both employer and employees.

Reading from time-to-time about Roman history, I often think of the great triumphs and advances made by the Empire. I also think of its great generals and emperors who led with robust confidence and self-belief; and of each Roman who did their part in creating an enriched society that stands as a powerful example of what can be achieved by a well-organised collective.

But I also consider the reasons behind the Empire’s downfall. The conceited leadership, the vast expansions, the greed, deceit and betrayals that ultimately led to the Empire’s end have as much to teach us about the perils of leadership that can arise when we aren’t paying attention.

No matter how grand a leader or an organisation might be, success – to paraphrase Winston Churchill – is never a final result.

Jack Whyte’s books ‘The Singing Sword’ is book two of “The Camulod Chronicles”. I could not help but think of the days King Arthur was in power and of Julius Caesar. How were the words honour, integrity, probity, morality and self-sufficiency used then and exactly what can we learn from this era about ethical or moral conduct of a business or operation today.

Do we lack determination, imagination, courage, and passion in today’s business world?

Are we lost in the big data phenomenon and blame/accountability of others?

Do we actually take responsibility of our actions with others?

How is this effecting the way we behave, our conduct, and more importantly, the outcomes?

So as you can imagine this discussion did provoke lateral thinking around our experiences and learnings from assignments, when finally we came to historical information vs. historical thought.

There is a great deal of historical knowledge around today. We are awash with books on history, massive biographies, and philosophy on historical figures. Information on history is much broader than ever before, but there is very little historical thought across both spectrums in the business world.

As a famous lord, Lord Acton, once said: “Historical thought is far more important than historical knowledge”. Historical thought is using the lessons of history to understand the present and to make decisions for the future.
Can or should we be using history as an analytical tool and making use of the lessons of history?

If we were to draw lessons from the Roman Empire and experience it in our everyday existence, as human nature never changes, similar circumstances will always produce similar events. Churchill did change history and this should act as a guide and impediment to understanding the present, so that we can change the future.

The questions we should ask ourselves:

Do we have the reserves of moral courage that the Romans did to undertake that burden of empire or in business?

If we make change, what will be our legacy to the next generation?

Are we generous in spirit, determined to leave the world a better place, or are we hoping that an algorithm or technology is the answer?

Should we constantly refer to the Roman era or can we in still the disciplines, teachings, values and techniques that are far more enduring and far better than that of the Roman era?

In leadership, we need to have the courage to develop a bold vision, but we also require the humility to recognise that tomorrow doesn’t care about yesterday’s successes. That said, there are several lessons we can take from the ancient world of the Roman Empire. Here are just some of those which stood out for me:

1. Know that good fortune doesn’t last forever
In Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, he writes about his mortality and the certainty of death; and, in Augustine’s works, we read his deeply sad account of his mother’s death. Great leaders use profound realisations of impermanence to consider how to best prepare for the future.

2. Be bold in your leadership… but keep your feet on the ground
In the examples of Julius Caesar and Caligula, we can see just how easy it is for power to go to a leader’s head, making them believe that they have all the answers and their way is unquestionable. Many emperors of the Roman Empire took for granted their power and its continuous nature.

3. Learn from your competitors
The Romans were an ingenuous people, but much of their advances including technology and engineering was helped by taking in the Celts and the Gauls’ approach to developing their own cultures. They would then quickly deploy what they had learnt to enhance their own culture and society, enabling success for the Roman Empire and establishing their leadership.

4. Invest in building a strong culture
This point is well-worn in leadership circles, but many of today’s leaders have yet to learn how to put this valuable idea into practice. The Romans knew the importance of building a culture where everyone knew their role and felt a strong sense of belonging.

Finally, The collective motto of the Roman Empire was Senātus Populusque Rōmānus – “The Senate and the People of Rome”. Having a shared identity and a common purpose – which all were clear on – meant that the Romans truly gave themselves to the cause.

The culture wasn’t simply an idea – it was a lived lifestyle that informed every success of the Empire.

As Julius Caesar, Roman general and statesman, once said:

“Experience is the teacher of all things.”

The Controversial Frontier – Re-Establishing Trust: The Battle for Objective Education

Co-authored by Geoff Hudson-Searle, Scott Siegel and Scott Schlesinger

It’s hard to quantify exactly how important trust is for a business. For business owners, a lack of trust is your biggest expense. It may take years for a manager or an executive to develop the trust of his or her employees, but there are only moments to lose. Without trust, transactions cannot occur, influence is destroyed, leaders can lose teams and salespeople can lose sales. The list goes on. Trust and relationships, much more than money, are the currency of business.

It’s hard to deny that the last few years have been turbulent on many world societies. Research from Mental Health America shows how much mental health has been impacted in the wake of the macroeconomics, geopolitical and behaviors of others: Anxiety screens were up by 634% from January to September of 2023, with depression screens up 873%.

Stephen Covey American educator, author, businessman, and speaker once said:

“If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust toward me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve, will compensate for it.

My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get my meaning anyway. You won’t make me “an offender for a word.” When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”

In “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” author and motivational speaker Stephen R. Covey introduced the concept of the emotional bank account. ‘’Much like a financial bank account, we make deposits and withdrawals to our emotional bank accounts. But in this case, rather than money, we’re building up and withdrawing from a reserve of trust with other people. Our deposit currencies are positive actions (e.g., honesty, kindness, integrity, gestures of goodwill), while the withdrawals are activated by negative actions, like ignoring a partner or team member’s problems, disrespect or not meeting commitments.’’

The Emotional Bank Account operates on the principle that every interaction we have with others either adds to or withdraws from the account’s balance. Positive interactions, such as showing empathy, expressing appreciation, and offering support, are deposits that build trust and goodwill. Conversely, negative interactions, like breaking promises, showing disrespect, or being unresponsive, result in withdrawals that erode trust and damage relationships.

According to Stephen Covey, there are six types of major deposits we can make to someone else’s emotional bank account:

– Understand the individual — Keep in mind the old saying and walk a mile in their shoes. Show interest in their lives, their worldview, their hopes and dreams.

– Attend to the little things — Always show respect. Prove that you think of them and care with small gestures: kind words, courtesy and little acts of kindness.

– Keep your commitments — Avoid rash promises. When you do make a promise, keep it. Show up on time, make that meeting and don’t blow off that phone call.

– Clarify expectations — Don’t automatically assume others know what you’re talking about. Define your expectations — not only for yourself, but for them.

– Show personal integrity — Be honest. Define your vision, and then show everyone that you’re not exempt from following the guidelines you set out.

– Apologize when you make a withdrawal — No one’s perfect. Offer a sincere apology, admit any mistakes and take responsibility for your actions.

When an emotional bank account has more deposits then withdrawals the people involved in that relationship will trust each other.

Ridvan Foxhall, Occupational Therapist and Educator, states: “One of the key foundations of a strong relationship is trust. In order to build trust, one must continually make deposits of honesty, kindness, unconditional love, patience, all of those essential virtues that strengthen any relationship. In doing so, we build large reserves in the emotional bank account.”

We need to build trust between students and universities.

A degree of trust is implied in the relationship between students and the university. Higher education is about more than studying or the distribution of “knowledge units” in a society; it is about learning and whole-person development. Students enter university trusting that their time in class, the people they meet and the communities that surround them will shape their development.

The exchange of trust goes both ways. University staff and faculty, for their part, trust students to be open-minded, sincere, and diligent in working towards the goal of learning.

Universities must prioritize programs that promote students’ whole-person development, equipping them with essential skills such as effective communication, time-management, collaboration, hardiness and leadership. By doing so, universities honor the implicit trust placed in them by their students and prepare them for success in both their careers and personal lives.

Mutual respect, a higher-order value based on a recognition of the worth of the other person, is necessary to build trust.

Philosopher Stephen Darwall at Yale University describes trust as an attitude of the heart, a form of confidence in someone and an implicit invitation for them to trust themselves too. Behind this is the deeper reality of our shared humanity and learning over time to exercise empathy and try to understand those we disagree with, looking beyond the beliefs to the person who holds them.

Commitment to the worth and well-being of their students, along with the capacity to deliver holistic education that serves this, is the condition universities should fulfil to warrant trust. Compassion and understanding enable these conditions to be fulfilled.

At its heart, higher education is not only about administering knowledge; it is about guiding a whole person, and that involves care and courtesy. Higher education is entrusted to see through points of disagreement – no matter how deep – to the person beneath and to engage students to work for a better future, inviting them to trust themselves in that process.

Determining the value of a university-level education is a complex endeavor that goes beyond the examination of course content. As parents and employers, we want to ensure that individuals graduating from a university have the skills to compete in a global economy.

In order to thrive in business, universities must provide a comprehensive evaluation of critical thinking skills, a facet that often leaves parents and employers grappling with questions about the student’s ability not only to absorb information but also to analyze and tackle complex problems.

The significance of critical thinking becomes even more pronounced when considering its role in shaping a student’s readiness for future professional endeavors. In the professional world, the ability to analyze complex situations, make informed decisions, and articulate well-supported viewpoints is critical.

A recent report by the New York Times stated that nearly 80% of students in one Ivy League school received A or A-. With so many high grades given out, how do we hold universities accountable to ensure students can engage in critical thinking and not simply memorize text?

Imagine a scenario where a recent graduate, who graduated with top grades from a prestigious Ivy League school, enters a very important business meeting. The task at hand involves analyzing market trends, making strategic decisions, and presenting well-supported proposals.
However, despite the stellar academic record, the graduate finds themselves grappling with the practical application of critical thinking in a real-world setting. The disconnect between academic achievement and professional readiness raises questions about the effectiveness of current assessment methods.

In such instances, Generative AI could act as a guiding compass, providing personalized insights and evaluations that extend beyond grades, ensuring that graduates are truly equipped for the dynamic challenges of their future careers.

Generative AI is an advanced technological tool that plays a transformative role in higher education by comprehensively assessing and evaluating critical thinking skills. Unlike traditional methods focused solely on academic content, Generative AI provides a nuanced understanding of students’ abilities to articulate well-supported viewpoints across diverse disciplines, fostering a personalized and adaptive approach to learning.

This technology serves as a valuable ally, going beyond memorization to emphasize the practical application of critical thinking in real-world scenarios, thereby becoming an essential component in navigating the multifaceted challenges of higher education and preparing students for the demands of their future professions. In essence, will the student be ready for the “real world”.

Generative AI serves as an unbiased and unemotional companion in the educational journey, logically assessing not only the depth of knowledge but also the subtle development of crucial critical thinking skills. It provides professors and parents with a holistic understanding of their student’s cognitive abilities and adaptability in navigating the challenges that they will encounter once they graduate.

One pivotal aspect of critical thinking is the ability to articulate a well-supported point of view. In disciplines such as business, law, and social sciences, students are frequently tasked with presenting evidence-based arguments. In a business ethics class, for instance, students may be required to analyze a case study, formulate ethical viewpoints, and defend them with factual evidence.

Generative AI can assist in evaluating the clarity, relevance, and persuasiveness of students’ arguments. It becomes an unemotional tool that not only assesses academic content but also gauges the practical application of critical thinking skills in real-world scenarios. This capability becomes particularly significant in preparing students for the demands of their future professions.

By using a few representative algorithms such as:
• Sentiment Analysis for Depth Assessment
• Argumentation Mining for Logical Structure
• Content Relevance Scoring
• Dynamic Clustering for Group Insights

The integration of Generative AI in educational assessments allows for a more personalized and adaptive approach to learning. It can identify individual strengths and areas that require improvement in critical thinking skills, tailoring educational experiences to better meet the needs of each student. This adaptive learning model enhances the overall educational experience, fostering a more supportive and effective environment for intellectual growth.

A representative and unbiased scorecard for a student is presented below:

Fundamental Concepts:
• Limited understanding of foundational marketing concepts.
• Basic understanding but struggles to apply concepts consistently.
• Adequate grasp of fundamental marketing principles.
• Proficient understanding, applies core marketing concepts effectively.

Application of Critical Thinking Strategies:
• Difficulty in applying marketing strategies to real-world scenarios.
• Basic application but inconsistent in connecting strategies to outcomes.

As we contemplate the crucial role of critical thinking in preparing students for the challenges of the real world, it is evident that universities must be held accountable for providing a comprehensive evaluation of these skills.

The prevalence of high grades in prestigious institutions raises concerns about the effectiveness of traditional assessment methods. It’s time to advocate for a paradigm shift in higher education and Generative AI offers a holistic assessment that goes beyond academic content, ensuring a personalized, unbiased, unemotional, and adaptive learning experience. Let us collectively champion the integration of Generative AI in educational assessments, fostering an environment that not only measures knowledge but also cultivates the critical thinking skills essential for our students to thrive in the complex landscapes of the professional world. The future readiness of our children depends on it.

Finally, higher education has plenty of big-time problems today, from falling enrollment and rising student debt to admission scandals and sports corruption. Beyond hurting the reputations of individual schools, these problems could undermine support for academia more broadly. So, it’s critically important for universities and colleges to double down on building (or rebuilding) their relationships with stakeholders.

Higher education has a huge built-in advantage over many other major organizations. Of the four groups that you could identify as the most credible advocates for an institution, three are fundamental to higher education: academic experts, a person like yourself (students, alumni and parents of both groups), and employees.

Academic institutions will reach a lot more people—and reach them more effectively—if a message is amplified by a loyal army of ambassadors. In addition to sharing stories with these influential proponents, schools need to treat them like the essential partners they are.

Given the nest of problems it has, higher education needs to invest in trust. What schools put in today will build the endowment of tomorrow.

As Warren Buffet American businessman, investor, and philanthropist once said:

“Trust is like the air we breathe – when it’s present, nobody really notices; when it’s absent, everybody notices.”

This article is the expressed opinions and collaboration between two senior-level industry board professionals on their views and perceptions and additional and individual contributions from:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-schlesinger2001/: who is a Data, Analytics & AI Practice Lead | Innovator | Experienced CDO/CAO | Thought Leader | Adjunct Professor.

Scott Siegel is a results-oriented and visionary technology leader. He specializes in strategic partnerships with C-Level executives and the integration of emerging technologies to optimize operations, enhance productivity, and drive cost efficiencies through the application of AI. Scott’s focus centers on cultivating a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration, aligning innovative strategies with business goals to fuel organizational growth. With a proven track record, he has directed cross-functional teams in the development and implementation of cutting-edge AI algorithms and models, revolutionizing data analysis, pattern recognition, and predictive capabilities for shopping events using generative AI.

A trailblazer in advancing neuroscience analytics, he leverages this expertise to unveil deep consumer insights, drive data-driven decision-making, and enhance customer experiences. His leadership extends to championing the adoption of data mesh architecture, enabling scalable and decentralized data ecosystems for improved democratization and agility.

He is extremely adept at developing and executing innovation strategies, leading implementations for Data Governance, Analytics, and Regulatory Privacy Compliance across diverse industries. As an advocate for AI-driven solutions, he evaluates and incorporates emerging technologies such as computer vision into business processes, products, and services.

With a commitment to excellence, he mentors and develops high-performing teams, ensuring they grow within a culture of innovation. Collaborating with executive leadership, Scott aligns analytics initiatives with overall business strategy, facilitating data-driven decision-making throughout the organization. His commitment to sharing insights is reflected in many published articles, showcasing a dedication to thought leadership in the technology and analytics space.
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottsiegel1/

Geoff Hudson-Searle is a senior independent digital non-executive director across regulation, technology, and internet security, C-Suite executive on private and listed companies, and serial business advisor for growth-phase tech companies.

With more than 30 years of experience in international business and management he is the author of seven books: Freedom After the Sharks; Meaningful Conversations; Journeys to Success: Volume 9, GOD in Business, Purposeful Discussions, The Trust Paradigm and Scars to Stars Volume 3 and lectures at business forums, conferences, and universities. He has been the focus of radio/podcasts and TV with London Live, Talk TV, TEDx and RT Europe’s business documentary across various thought leadership topics and print media with The Executive Magazine, Headspring/FT, Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Raconteur, AMBA, BCS, EuropeanCEO, CEOToday across his authorisms.

A member and fellow of the Institute of Directors, associate of The Business Institute of Management, a cofounder and board member of the Neustar International Security Council (NISC) and a distinguished member of the Advisory Council for The Global Cyber Academy. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Having worked for corporate companies Citibank N.A, MICE Group Plc, Enigma Design, MMT Inc, Kaspersky Laboratory, Bartercard Plc, and RG Group around the world, Geoff has vast international experience working with SME and multinational international clients. International clients with which Geoff has worked include the British Government, HP, Compaq, BT, Powergen, Intel, ARM, Wartsila Group, Atari, Barclays Bank, Societe Generale, Western Union, Chase and Volvo.

Geoff has worked in a broad range of industries including software, technology and banking which has given him a range of different experiences and perspectives of what can work, the importance of good people, process and how these can be applied and amplified to deliver results in different scenarios and paradigms. Geoff is known for bringing in a fresh viewpoint and sometimes challenging the status-quo with a strategic approach delivering successful change management programmes and launching companies and products internationally that deliver results.

Geoff’s areas of expertise lie in brand strategy, business communications, business integration, business development and improvement, capital raise activities, pre-IPO planning, capital raise transactions, M&A with full P&L responsibility, which ideally equips him to strengthen global companies, develop SME and international business, and marketing strategies.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/geoffsearle

Executive Leadership – Can we Trust ‘Realistic Optimism’

There is much executive discussion around ‘realistic optimism’, which is the ability to balance out negative and positive things in situations, circumstances and people.
It is the courage to explore opportunities, where others are blocked by risk and failure, with the belief that the future will be better than the past.

Optimism bias is defined as the difference between a person’s expectation and the outcome that follows. If expectations are better than reality, the bias is optimistic; if reality is better than expected, the bias is pessimistic, according to Cell Press something that 80% of the global population possess to some degree.

Thinking positively is an evolutionary hallmark, because it facilitates envisioning what is possible, allowing us to be courageous and innovative. Levels of optimism bias vary according to our mental state and current circumstances, and there are ways to temper or increase it.

That’s good, because a surfeit of optimism can lead to underestimating risk. Understanding where you sit on the optimism spectrum can help you adjust for your bias – and maybe even make better choices.

At the root of optimism bias are two assumptions: first, that we possess more positive traits than the average person; second, that we have some kind of control over the world around us.

Despite unexpected negative events happening to us – or seeing them on the news – it is the positive events that tend to leave the biggest impression on our belief systems. We simply “learn better” from good things happening around us, which perpetuates the bias. Bad things tend to be given less credence, and some people ignore them altogether.

An overabundance of optimism, however, can lead to an inadequate assessment of potential hazards. A common example is planners underestimating budgets and timeframes. It could also mean failing to take out insurance, or not wearing a helmet while cycling – or maybe even catching illness through complacency or neglect.

Optimism bias occurs with equal prevalence across the global population, but culture plays a role by influencing how optimistic or pessimistic people consider themselves. In cultures in which optimism is considered a good thing, such as the US and Australia, people are more likely to self-identify as optimists.

Optimism is also linked to success in multiple domains, whether it’s business, politics, or sports. CEOs tend to be more optimistic than the average person, as are entrepreneurs, whose optimism increases further once they take the leap into starting their businesses.

American psychologist Martin Seligman teaches people to cultivate a more optimistic viewpoint by ascribing permanent causes to positive things and temporary ones to negative things. A person may say, ‘That project went well because I am a good engineer’ or ‘That project failed because I didn’t put enough time into it’.

The message is that good things happen for reasons inherent to the individual, while bad things are attributed to causes that can be remedied, such as last-minute preparations. This cultivates a positive self-view that makes us optimistic about our future prospects.

Many studies have been carried out about the effectiveness of optimism as a psychological phenomenon, leading to various theoretical formulations of the same concept, conceptualized as “disposition”, “attributional style”, “cognitive bias”, or “shared illusion”.

This overview is an attempt to explore the “optimism” concept and its relations with mental health, physical health, coping, quality of life and adaptation of purpose, health lifestyle and risk perception.

Positive and negative expectations regarding the future are important for understanding the vulnerability to mental disorders, in particular mood and anxiety disorders, as well as to physical illness. A significant positive relation emerges between optimism and coping strategies focused on social support and emphasis on positive aspects of stressful situations.

Through employment of specific coping strategies, optimism exerts an indirect influence also on the quality of life. There is evidence that optimistic people present a higher quality of life compared to those with low levels of optimism or even pessimists.

Optimism may significantly influence mental and physical well-being by the promotion of a healthy lifestyle as well as by adaptive behaviours and cognitive responses, associated with greater flexibility, problem-solving capacity and a more efficient elaboration of negative information.

We have all heard the adage of the glass being half full or half empty to determine if someone skews toward being an optimist or pessimist. But perhaps there’s a third option: realist. While pure optimists and pure pessimists simply accept (or reject), realists tend to take action.

A realist looks at the glass and says, “Hey, there’s a glass with some liquid in it.” Where a pure optimist may be completely happy with the amount that’s in the glass, and a pure pessimist may be disappointed, pure realists don’t judge – they accept, observe, and question: “Is this the right amount for me right now?”; “Is this the right glass for me?” If it’s not, then they take action.

However, like most things, optimism and pessimism are on a spectrum, with realistic thinking in the middle. So, you can have realistic pessimists and realistic optimists the difference between the two is that realistic optimists have the ability to be hopeful that they can change things for the better. They believe they’ll succeed but understand that doing so will take work.

As human beings, we can practice integrative awareness before, in, and after the moment. Beforehand, we can visualize the expected external event and our potential internal response. After the event, we can reflect and process the experience, let go of stress, and gain insight. In the moment, we can observe ourselves while having the experience and regulate our behaviour at the same time.

Captain Chesley Sullenberger brought the process of integrative awareness alive when he landed his commercial plane in the Hudson River in 2009. After a bird strike cut both engines of his commercial flight soon after take-off, Captain Sullenberger demonstrated the ability to stay calm while facing fear.

Instead of returning to the airport as air traffic controllers were advising, he paused and assessed that he couldn’t make it, landing instead in the river and saving the lives of all on board. The balancing of emotions with a rational and deliberate thought process is something scientists call metacognition.

By practicing internal awareness on two levels (having the experience and observing it at the same time), you can catch early signals of distress, doubt, or fear without acting out a stress response. This is especially critical in times of crisis. While we can never be purely objective, we can try to reach that state as much as possible.

Without objective awareness, signals of distress can trigger “survival” behaviour, and we lose the ability to pause, reflect, and decide. For a leader during crisis, this survival state can present a huge risk, and in the case of Captain Sullenberger, it would have been fatal.

In a crisis, some leaders react to complex problems with polarizing opinions, quick fixes, false promises, or overly simplistic answers, often combined with a command-and-control leadership style. They lose their ability to be in dialogue, to continuously adapt, and to look for novel solutions.

In a situation where their experience falls short, but without the ability to practice integrative awareness, they may be guided by their fear and resort to habitual responses, often unconsciously biased, to unfamiliar problems.

Another risk of not being aware of our internal world is found in “sacrifice syndrome”: leaders who face constant pressure do not find time to take care of themselves, leading to reduced effectiveness and exhaustion.

Successful Leadership requires optimism and realism. While we need Leaders to not sugarcoat problems when communicating with Employees, any harsh realities need to be balanced with inspiring perseverance about the organization’s future.

But it’s not only our Leaders’ responsibility to balance reality and optimism … it’s something every employee should do. Really, it’s something we should do in every aspect of our lives. Why?

According to an article on WebMD, realistic thinking helps us be present by focusing on reality and not hypotheticals. It’s also shown to improve overall wellbeing because realistic thinking allows you to create “reasonable expectations for yourself and those around you that will help you live a less stressful life…

When you train yourself to rationalize and think critically about the situation, you’re more likely to expect reasonable outcomes. This will set you up for better thoughts and mental health in the future.”

Dr. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association and legendary researcher in the field of optimism, discovered that optimism or pessimism lies in the way you explain the events that happen to you. Such “automatic thoughts” often cause us to assess events inaccurately and jump to erroneous conclusions.

Unrealistic optimism is defined as believing that you are more likely to experience pleasant events than is actually the case, and less likely than others to experience negative ones. It can keep you from being able to change direction when you are unable to see the trouble that lies ahead.

So, when it comes to optimism or pessimism, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is an ideal motto. To achieve that you must be honest with yourself about your usual approach to life. Discover the ways in which your past may be distorting your present.

Doing this can transform your grip on the truth for the better. By far the greatest cause of the emotional disturbances that make us avoid reality is our childhood relationships with our parents. Surprisingly few people have an understanding of the true role they played in their family, let alone of the extent to which suffered early maltreatment.

Final word, positive expectations are good; optimism leads us to look for new challenges and work on the things we have control over. On the other hand, we should remember the importance of being realistic and be aware of the line between constructive optimism and pop psychology positive thinking. Have positive expectations about the future, but do not get into the habit of sweeping reality under the rug or distorting it.

Otherwise, you might be caught off guard when negative things happen. We should also evaluate to what extent the situation can be changed and act accordingly. If there are situations or conditions you cannot change, it’s better to accept them rather than relying on false optimism. Lastly, remember that being “very optimistic” might not necessarily result in the best outcomes in every situation. It might be balance that keeps us going.

We never know, but creating the illusion of predictability is easier than you may think. We have the ability to remove the illusion that we know what the world will look like in the coming months or years. And we have the ability to have a plan and act despite these objective limitations.

When we face the dilemma of what will become the basis for our decisions and actions, a pessimistic or optimistic vision of the future, it is worth remembering that we do not have to function in this dichotomy. There is still realistic optimism, which takes into account all the circumstances based on a realistic expectation.

Sandrea L. Schneider PhD and Professor once stated on the subject.

“When our hopes for performance are not completely met, realistic optimism involves accepting what cannot now be changed, rather than condemning or second-guessing ourselves.
Focusing on the successful aspects of performance (even when the success is modest) promotes positive affect, reduces self-doubt, and helps to maintain motivation (e.g., McFarland & Ross, 1982)….

Nevertheless, realistic optimism does not include or imply expectations that things will improve on their own.

Wishful thinking of this sort typically has no reliable supporting evidence. Instead, the opportunity-seeking component of realistic optimism motivates efforts to improve future performances on the basis of what has been learned from past performances.”

LIFE is Short…

Life is short. Why not spend it mired in regret? Why not spend your evenings sitting side by side at the dining-room table with your spouse, trying to determine whether your downstairs neighbours’ ceiling fan is making the floor tremble?

Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence.

Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows.

Our existence on this planet is statistically insignificant when compared with the history of the universe. So, take advantage of it! Charge your spouse six pounds and eighty pence on Venmo for “supplemental groceries.”

You get to choose the life you live. And, every minute, you have the opportunity to make a different choice. Every minute, you could say, “Today, I will eat defrosted turnip soup and think about the time I felt left out at my friend’s wedding.”

Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebook updater, and flashlight. They’re more powerful and do more things than the most advanced computer at IBM corporate headquarters 30 years ago.

And we use them all the time, part of a 21st-century mania for cramming everything we do into every single spare moment of downtime. We text while we’re walking across the street, catch up on email while standing in a queue – and while having lunch with friends, we surreptitiously check to see what our other friends are doing. At the kitchen counter, cosy and secure in our domicile, we write our shopping lists on smartphones while we are listening to that wonderfully informative podcast on urban beekeeping.

But there’s a fly in the ointment. Although we think we’re doing several things at once, multitasking, this is a powerful and diabolical illusion.

Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”

So we’re not actually keeping a lot of balls in the air like an expert juggler; we’re more like a bad amateur plate spinner, frantically switching from one task to another, ignoring the one that is not right in front of us but worried it will come crashing down any minute. Even though we think we’re getting a lot done, ironically, multitasking makes us demonstrably less efficient.

To make matters worse, lots of multitasking requires decision-making: Do I answer this text message or ignore it?
How do I respond to this? How do I file this email? Do I continue what I’m working on now or take a break?

It turns out that decision-making is also very hard on your neural resources and that little decisions appear to take up as much energy as big ones. One of the first things we lose is impulse control. This rapidly spirals into a depleted state in which, after making lots of insignificant decisions, we can end up making truly bad decisions about something important. Why would anyone want to add to their daily weight of information processing by trying to multitask?

In discussing information overload with Fortune 500 leaders, top scientists, writers, students, and small business owners, email comes up again and again as a problem. It’s not a philosophical objection to email itself, it’s the mind-numbing number of emails that come in.

When the 10-year-old son of my neuroscience colleague Jeff Mogil (head of the Pain Genetics lab at McGill University) was asked what his father does for a living, he responded, “He answers emails.” Jeff admitted after some thought that it’s not so far from the truth. Workers in government, the arts, and industry report that the sheer volume of email they receive is overwhelming, taking a huge bite out of their day. We feel obliged to answer our emails, but it seems impossible to do so and get anything else done.

Before email, if you wanted to write to someone, you had to invest some effort in it. You’d sit down with pen and paper, or at a typewriter, and carefully compose a message. There wasn’t anything about the medium that lent itself to dashing off quick notes without giving them much thought, partly because of the ritual involved, and the time it took to write a note, find and address an envelope, add postage, and take the letter to a mailbox.

Because the very act of writing a note or letter to someone took this many steps, and was spread out over time, we didn’t go to the trouble unless we had something important to say. Because of email’s immediacy, most of us give little thought to typing up any little thing that pops in our heads and hitting the send button. And email doesn’t cost anything.

This uncertainty wreaks havoc with our rapid perceptual categorisation system, causes stress, and leads to decision overload. Every email requires a decision! Do I respond to it? If so, now or later? How important is it? What will be the social, economic, or job-related consequences if I don’t answer, or if I don’t answer right now?
‘Because it is limited in characters, texting discourages thoughtful discussion or any level of detail, and its addictive problems are compounded by its hyper-immediacy.’

‘Because it is limited in characters, texting discourages thoughtful discussion or any level of detail, and its addictive problems are compounded by its hyper-immediacy.’

Now of course email is approaching obsolescence as a communicative medium. Most people under the age of 30 think of email as an outdated mode of communication used only by “old people”. In its place they text, and some still post to Facebook. They attach documents, photos, videos, and links to their text messages and Facebook posts the way people over 30 do with email. Many people under 20 now see Facebook as a medium for the older generation.

“It is so plain and so simple. Yet everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” Alan Watts, philosopher

What Alan Watts points out above is that we are lucky to enjoy the gift of life but we still keep on rushing around looking for it. We don’t get to realize that life is already in us. We are life: we breathe, feel and we are enough as we are.

People tend to think about life in two different ways.

Some people think they are going to live long enough and have the luxury to postpone things: once, twice or so many times that it tends to become a way of living.

Others believe that life is short and they don’t have the time to fit everything they like in it anyway. So, why care?

If the first category gave you a flick of recognition, you must have experienced that feeling which urges you to postpone things or situations. And the odds say that you might still experience it. You might think that you will do something in the future, you will make that trip you always wanted, you will quit your job to pursue your dream as a writer, you will be the person you always wanted to. You will be happy.

You seem to place all your desires and dreams in the future and expect that things will change someday but not now. By thinking that the next moment contains what this one lacks, your future lies on uncertainty.

Time passes without realizing, without you having enjoyed the ‘now and today’.

And there comes a day when, with snowy white hair and wrinkles on your face, you say “I wish I had tried dancing” or “I could have pursued my dream of becoming a teacher”. “Why didn’t I do it? I had all the time in the world.”

I’ll tell you why. Because you forget your mortality. You forget that you are here for a specific amount of time and that, someday, your life will come to an end.

I haven’t got any white hair yet, neither any wrinkles on my face and I don’t know how it feels when you come to that point in your life when you realize you wasted your time by doing things you didn’t really want to or by not doing things you wanted to. But I assure you that I don’t want to find out.

If you tend to think that your life is short and you can’t possibly fit everything in it, allow me to tell you that you’re wrong. Life is not short, we make it short.

Lisa Whelen

I lost a very good friend recently, Lisa Whelen, an amazing lady, so positive about life with a sixth sense of caring and love for everyone.

I was fortunate to know Lisa, we collaborated on my chapter for The Realization Foundation, Scars to Stars Volume 3.
I also wrote about Lisa’s book (‘Jo March’ being her pen-name) ‘Love is… simple’

Her career started in music working with The Petshop Boys and Oasis, before branching out into film. She was an excellent actress, and scriptwriter before coming an author.

After a near-fatal accident, Lisa was left immobilized, even considering suicide – yet, she defied doctors who said she would never walk again.

She was fortunate to meet Hratch Ogali, claiming to have saved a girl who hadn’t walked for twelve years. He told her: “I’m going to get you back on your feet and you will walk again, there is no doubt.” Miraculously, Hratch saved her life and Lisa was able to walk again.

Lisa being Lisa, she wanted to give back to the world and created a television programme, a film called Mind Over Science to help others who are in the situation she was in.

She worked all over the world with Hratch and his son Seto, helping others in energy healing and wellbeing.

She unfortunately died of Cancer at age 53, such a loss of a incredible person on 18th January 2024

I know Lisa will be out of the severe pain that she has endured, it’s sad to think that such a wonderful person has died, she gave 200% commitment to everyone, a very special person.

Life is short. She will always be in my prayers.

In the words of Dr Colin Murray-Parkes: “The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love: it is perhaps the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment. To ignore this fact, or to pretend that it is not so, is to put on emotional blinkers which leave us unprepared for the losses that will inevitably occur in our own lives and unprepared to help others cope with losses in theirs.”


In a world where the amount of stress one heaps on oneself can be seen as a badge of honour, we need to recognise the ways of reducing the potential negative impact of exhaustion and mindfulness is a great place to start. It allows us to take a step back and refresh our perspective on the world, to decide on a better response to the challenges we face, and to really focus. Neuroscientists have proven that no matter how good we are, our brains are simply not capable of operating effectively on more than one complex task at a time.

The fact that we are all intrinsically connected is not some fluffy principle someone made up, it is something which you can experience right now in your daily life. But the way we usually live our lives in this heavily technological environment our awareness and individual senses are hovering right below the signs so to speak. So, we rarely, if ever, see it.

We live in a post-truth world. The problem is in the technological world of information and importantly the way we humans communicate via online and collaboration tools and apps, do we communicate the truth?

It takes courage to be the person you really are. There really is no magic pill or solution to make this happen, especially in a world that constantly sends you messages about who you should be. All of this talk takes you away from being true to yourself. It leads you to live the life you think others want you to have.

This way of living takes you away from authenticity and truth. You ignore your desires and retort to what’s not even a best second on what you truly want to do or the person you really want to be.

This single realisation can change the way we live our entire life’s. From the way you treat others, to what you devote your time to, to the products you consume, and the causes you support.

Having understanding and interests, we can join together in a common purpose. This idea is similar to the way different components of the human body fit together to form a whole healthy body. Each part depends on the others as long as they are not diseased, for the whole to function properly.

The million-dollar question is do we want to be One, Whole and live in Truth… If not, our lives can be very short. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you enjoy every bit of it.

Annie Dillard:

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”

Our life is made by moments and moments fill our days. Let’s make the most out of them, as the famous Oscar Wilde once said “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.” And makes life’s journey all the more worthwhile. To experience love is to have lived.

Finally, Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher, said on the meaning of life:

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life, but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

Rethinking the Purpose and Trust of Leadership

Over the past five years, there’s been an explosion of interest in purpose-driven leadership. Academics, business experts, and even doctors make the case that purpose is a key to exceptional leadership and the pathway to greater well-being.

Despite this growing understanding, however, a big challenge remains. Few leaders have a strong sense of their own individual purpose, research and experience show, and even fewer can distill their purpose into a concrete statement or have a clear plan for translating purpose into action. As a result, they limit their aspirations and often fail to achieve their most ambitious professional and personal goals.

To harness the power of corporate purpose, CEOs and other senior executives must pressure-test that purpose with their teams, employees—and themselves.

But what does that really mean, and does it make a difference?

There’s been considerable interest in the notion of “purposeful” and “purpose-driven” leaders and organisations in recent years, driven by growing levels of distrust and disillusionment with what are often regarded as the short-termism, financial imperatives driving contemporary firms. Typically, the attributes of purposeful organisations – societal responsibility, values and ethics – are simply translated into the qualities that characterise their ideal leaders. But what type of leaders do purposeful organisations really need?

Purpose is an aspirational reason for being that inspires and provides a call to action for an organisation, its partners, stakeholders, and society as a whole. Strategic research has consistently shown that purpose enables organisations to perform well in times of volatility. The research joins a growing body of evidence demonstrating that a strong and active purpose raises employee engagement and acts as a unifier, makes customers more loyal and committed to working with you, and helps to frame effective decision making in an environment of uncertainty. The EY Global Leadership Forecast 2018 found that getting purpose right builds organisational resilience and, crucially, improves long-term financial performance.

Don’t assume a lack of discussion equals agreement. Don’t assume that your organization’s purpose is good enough, goes far enough, or that your colleagues even see eye to eye about it. Have the courage to participate in tough discussions and learn where things stand.

Independent research from Linkage found connections between purposeful leaders and business results: The companies they led had 2.5 times higher sales growth, four times higher profit growth, five times higher “competitive differentiation and innovation” scores, and nine times higher employee engagement scores. Companies that create lasting leadership impact differentially invest in developing purposeful leaders; and they take concrete steps to assess the organisational dynamics that shape leadership performance.

So exactly what is Purposeful Business Leader?

My extensive research into the subject came up with the following structure of what makes a Purposeful Leader:
 Purposeful leadership and its constituent components – moral self, commitment to stakeholders and vision – are important in influencing a range of employee outcomes, including intent to quit, job satisfaction, willingness to go the extra mile, sales performance and lower levels of cynicism. Alongside this, ethical leadership approaches also emerge as central for employees’ experience of their work. Employers should consider ways of creating and embedding a purposeful and ethical approach throughout the organisation.
 Vision is especially important for employees and leaders alike to provide a sense of direction to guide activities. However, multiple or conflicting visions can emerge over time and in different departments or units, causing a sense of confusion and uncertainty, and so organisations should aim for alignment around a set of core themes.
 There is much that organisations can do to foster an environment conducive to purposeful and ethical leadership; appropriate central policies, leader role-modelling, training and development, and the organisational values and culture can nurture purposeful leaders. 41
 Constraints in organisations revolve around time and resource pressures, unrealistic targets, communication errors such as over-communication, remoteness of the centre, and cultural factors such as risk-aversion. When seeking to develop a purposeful approach to leadership, organisations should attend to issues such as these that may sabotage their efforts.
 Organisations tend to focus on a limited range of stakeholders and discount others from their decision-making. However, this can lead to an imbalance in how the organisation relates to its wider setting.

Leadership is central to transformation success. Companies with a systematic and well-supported approach to activate leaders see transformation success rates that are three times higher than those of their competitors. Yet leader engagement has decreased significantly since the pandemic—a drop of roughly 40% in two years.

The current business environment creates a paradox for leaders. Increased complexity and volatility mean that companies face a constant need for change. Yet the accelerating pace of business means that CEOs often struggle to manage complex transformation programs. Success requires a new approach to leadership—research shows that CEO engagement has a dramatic impact on transformation success. Aligning leadership with a powerful purpose is one of six attributes empirically identified as an essential component of short- and medium-term company performance.

Leaders of future-built companies are generative across the head, heart, and hands—as one team. The head refers to reinventing business to serve people, planet, society, and shareholders; the heart involves inspiring and enriching the human experience; and the hands entails executing and innovating through supercharged teams. Among companies that fully engage the head, heart, and hands, 96% see a sustained performance improvement, compared with just 33% that partially engage.

Leaders focus on a purpose that goes beyond the bottom line. Increasingly, leaders need to develop an authentic purpose to create value for people, for society and for the planet—not just investors. Moreover, they must embed environmental, social, and governance (ESG) into their overall strategy, not keep it off to the side.

Companies face common barriers. A shift in C-suite behaviours can help organizations drive faster end-to-end, cross-functional outcomes and overcome common barriers around near-sighted business targets, insufficient funding, and business unit misalignment. Building and scaling generative leadership across the organization and beyond the C-suite requires following a set of six key principles—relevance, impact, flexibility, integration, immersion, and coaching.

The Next Steps for Leaders

Building a reinvention for leadership is a process. Building for the future through leadership is a process that takes continued effort over time. Yet it pays financial and nonfinancial benefits as companies move up in terms of their maturity.

Many organizations mistakenly neglect the heart aspect of transformation. Leading with the heart is the most valuable to employees, but leaders most commonly neglect this dimension. Starting with a purpose and spearheading authentic ESG efforts are foundational to the leading with the heart, both with high impact across people and business results.

Purpose has power. The key to leadership from the heart and the head begins with a purpose among the top three success factors for transformation, having a clear purpose ranks first. Purpose aligns every element of the business; it is how employees see themselves as part of something bigger, regardless of their role. Purpose has tremendous impact when done well—companies with a clear purpose have 8% less turnover, a two-fold increase in productivity, and 3.25 times the involvement in transformation initiatives. Perhaps most important: they are twice as likely to have a high TSR.

Let’s now look at some of the most recognised model leaders from the past:

The Ability to Initiate Change — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Good leaders are never satisfied with the status quo and usually take action to change it. In addition, strong leaders bring about change for the common good by involving others in the process. Roosevelt. sought practical ways to help struggling men and women make a better world for themselves and their children.

His philosophy was, “bold, persistent experimentation…Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” Being willing to take risks by trying new ideas and involving others in the process of change is a key quality of strong leaders.

Inspiring a Shared Vision — The Leadership of Martin Luther King

Leaders, through their words and actions, must have the ability to draw others into a common vision by telling others where they intend to go and urging them to join in that vision.
Martin Luther King’s vision of a country free from racial segregation and discrimination, so poignantly expressed in his famous “I have a dream…” speech, exemplifies this critical leadership trait. King had a vision of a better America, and his ability to bring both whites and blacks together to march against segregation changed America profoundly.

Model Leadership — Mohandas K. Gandhi

Strong leaders not only need to have a vision and the ability to initiate change, but they must also model the values, actions, and behaviors necessary to make the vision reality. Gandhi not only created and espoused the philosophies of passive resistance and constructive non-violence, but he also lived by these principles.

According to Indira Gandhi, “More than his words, his life was his message.” By choosing to consistently live and work in a manner that exemplified the values he believed in, Gandhi engendered trust, becoming a role model for others looking to affect change without resorting to violence.

Encouraging the Heart — The Leadership of Winston Churchill

On December 29, 1940, London was hit by one of the largest aerial attacks of World War II. Somehow, St. Paul’s Cathedral survived. Two days later a photo showing a silhouette of the dome of St. Paul’s, surrounded by smoke and flames ran in the paper with a caption that read, “It symbolises the steadiness of London’s stand against the enemy: the firmness of right against wrong.”

Churchill recognized the importance of St. Paul’s as a morale booster. His instructions were clear on that December night, “At all costs, St. Paul’s must be saved.”

Rewriting The Laws of Nature For The Betterment of Humanity – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is perhaps the most famous scientist of the 20th century. The prized physicist had a profound impact on our understanding of the universe, including basic concepts such as time, light and gravity.

To this day, his work is being used to guide physicists to new frontiers, helping us to understand our significance on the grandest scale.

In addition to his timeless quotes and deep sense of humour, Einstein is remembered for overcoming adversity. His ability to keep a positive attitude and provoke creative thought experiments were at the centre of his genius. More than 60 years after his death, the world remembers not a man who spent years working at a patent office, but a man who changed the world.

The Embodiment of Liberty and Great Emancipator of Slaves – Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was more than just an American hero; he represented the dawn of a new era in human civilization based on freedom, self-government and equality.

Lincoln rapidly modernized the economy without sacrificing his values. By 1860, he secured the Republican Party presidential nomination and was elected president. Lincoln’s victory prompted southern slave states to form the Confederate States of America.

To this day, Lincoln is synonymous with the principles of liberty, democracy, equal rights and unification.
His willingness to stand alone on issues he believed in made him one of the most beloved and memorable leaders in modern history.

The Physicist Who Proved That Determination and Positive Thinking Can Triumph Over Even The Most Severe Limitations – Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking probably had every reason to give up on life.

Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, he would spend most of his life severely disabled to the point where he controls his communication device through movement of his cheek muscles.

Despite his debilitating condition, Hawking became arguably the most well-known theoretical physicist since Albert Einstein. Hawking is known for his groundbreaking work on cosmology, quantum physics and black holes.

Hawking came from humble beginnings. The eldest of 4 children, Stephen was born in England during the Second World War. By his own admission, Hawking didn’t spend a lot of time studying.

That didn’t stop him from graduating with full honours before pursuing a PhD in cosmology at Cambridge University.

Much has been written about Hawking and his thought-provoking theories on the universe. He has received worldwide acclaim not only for his work, but for his determination in overcoming a severe disability.

When he was originally diagnosed with ALS, he was given only two years to live. That was over 50 years ago. On overcoming his disability.

Hawking’s attitude comes from his sheer refusal to make excuses for his disabilities. His ex-wife Jane Hawking attributed his outlook on the world to a combination of determination and stubbornness. As Hawking clearly demonstrates, both traits have their pedigree.

Leaders must be able to encourage the hearts of those who share their vision, providing a sense of confident optimism even in the face of enormous difficulties.

Traditional skills have not been supplanted but they now co-exist and very visually have survived with a mix of new factors, in your mind was Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln or Stephen Hawking a Purposeful Leader?

When creating an organisational shared purpose the essential questions to ask are:

What is the shared purpose that;
 Articulates a clear purpose for your organisation. Focus on answering the why questions. We all know what our organisations do. Purpose is about asking why we exist in the first place, what our employees and stakeholders care about, and what resonates with customers.
 Use purpose as a lens for everything you do. Let purpose guide the solutions you offer, how you treat your customers, and how you engage your workforce.
 Communicate success stories to all constituents. Stories perpetuate purpose. Each time people repeat them, purpose entwines more closely with day-to-day business.
 Integrate purpose into the company’s DNA. Reinforce purpose through the day-to-day customer and employee experience. Treat purpose as a commitment to stakeholders and publicly update on its progress.
 Focus on leaders. Help them develop their own “why.” Work with all leaders to articulate their own purpose as it relates to the overarching purpose for the business. Then, help them do the same for their teams and employees.
 Develop key skills. Purpose-driven leaders form teams, inspire, and motivate in a fast-changing world. They develop psychological safety and agility.

Uncovering authentic organisational purpose can come quite simply from finding ways to be of service. What’s needed today is for all leaders to look beyond profit and ask, ‘What do I have that could help someone right now?

Where can I practice abundance where there is short supply?’

Organisations will be changed by their actions to make a difference in these times of crisis. Connecting with employees at a human level as we enter into one another’s home offices and living rooms, meeting children and pets on the screen, is organically changing and strengthening cultures. It’s happening today by default; tomorrow leaders can shape their cultures with lessons learned by design. Leaders and organisations that count on their core culture and values and make a difference while pivoting to solve for the future will emerge from the fires of this crisis and thrive.

Finally, leadership has got to step up, if you want to save your job in the next 10 years, you need to adopt a balance between IQ, EQ, SI, DI, WI and trust intelligence. Emotional intelligence isn’t just an idea for leadership anymore, it’s a prerequisite for the trust toolbox.

The way to build trust and drive home purpose is to master honest communication and include employees and stakeholders in key decisions.

“We’ve seen fax machines, long emails, instant messaging, all kinds of collaboration tools come, go and sometimes stay. Business is about communicating with purpose, active listening, empathy. More trust has got to be to put into the executive leadership. Trust is the glue.”

The more emotional intelligence leadership teams employ across teams, the more you’ll see an increase in trust because people will see it’s not just words but actions. At IBEM, we commissioned a trust report back in January 2020. Even before I commissioned the research, I knew what to expect.

“69% of everyone surveyed said they don’t trust CEO or line manager.”

I would take that as applicable across all business and commerce. We’ve got to communicate more, build trust within organisations more. We can’t deliver anything without fixing this problem.

Inclusion of people into the decision-making process helps cement purpose and values.”

Vincent Thomas Lombardi was an American football coach and executive in the National Football League, who once said:

“A team is not a group of people who play together, a team is a group of people who trust each other.”

The continued success of my 5th book, Purposeful Discussions, was published across some of the biggest issues in business today, purpose driven outcomes, which lead to my 6th book, The Trust Paradigm.

The best business leaders begin by framing trust in economic terms for their companies. The best leaders focus on making the creation of trust an explicit objective. Like any other goal, it must be measured and improved. It must be made clear to everyone that trust matters to management and leadership.

It’s clear from the news that the leaders of some of our most influential governments and corporations are making morally questionable decisions. These decisions will lose the trust of society, customers, and employees.

No amount of electronic communication – staff intranet, corporate social media, marketing emails – will fix this, yet many organizations assume this can replace meaningful dialogue even though this is the only real means of building trust and high-functioning #relationships.

Pathway to The Trust Paradigm

You can order your copy of the book on all formats now Amazon: audible hardback kindle softback

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audible-The-Trust-Paradigm/dp/B0BP2ZR6MV/

Or visit #TheTrustParadigmBook website:
https://thetrustparadigmbook.com/

Focus in Leadership

Corporate leaders today are measured by a new yardstick. The supreme test of a CEO and board of directors is now the value they create not just for shareholders, but for all stakeholders.

The shift to stakeholder capitalism creates pressure for corporate leaders to try to satisfy a wide range of constituencies with different, sometimes conflicting interests and perspectives. Earning their trust is key to navigating this tricky terrain.

Research shows that trust is the key to success. Yet growing distrust, cynicism and misinformation are eroding confidence in corporate impact and Environmental Social & Governance (ESG) claims.

To prosper in the age of stakeholder capitalism, companies must actively cultivate the trust of employees, investors, customers, regulators and corporate partners: developing strategies to understand these stakeholders more intimately, implementing deliberate trust-building actions, tracking their efforts over time, and communicating openly and effectively with key stakeholder groups.

We have entered the trust era: a time where (mis)information is omnipresent, individual perceptions reign supreme, and digital security and data privacy are constantly threatened. Now more than ever, stakeholders expect organizations to do the right things and do them well.

These expectations range from entrusting an organization to safeguard one’s private data to requiring a company to have a strong stance on Environmental Social & Governance (ESG) issues.

Trust also drives performance. When stakeholders trust an organization, their behaviors will reflect that trust can affect more traditional key performance indicators that directly affect financial performance. Trust elevates customer and brand loyalty, which can lead to revenue. It enhances levels of workforce engagement, which can result in increased productivity and retention. And the data confirms it.

Trustworthy companies outperform non-trustworthy companies by 2.5 times, and 88% of customers who highly trust a brand will buy again from that brand. Furthermore, employees’ Trust in their leaders improves job performance, job satisfaction, and commitment to the organization and its mission.

Despite the data, however, many leaders and organizations still view trust as an abstract concept. Trust should be managed proactively because, when trust is prioritized and acted upon, it can become a competitive advantage. An organization that positions trust as a strategic priority—managing, measuring, investing in, and acting upon it can ultimately build a critical asset.

No heroic leader can resolve the complex challenges we face today. To address the important issues of our time we need a fundamental change of perspective. We need to start questioning many of our taken-for-granted assumptions about our business and social environments.

Leaders serve as role models for their followers and demonstrate the behavioral boundaries set within an organization. The appropriate and desired behavior is enhanced through the culture and socialization process of the newcomers.

Employees learn about values from watching leaders in action.

The more the leader “walks the talk”, by translating internalized values into action, the higher level of trust and respect he generates from followers.

A good case study is Disney – it strives to design work environments that inspire optimism and drive innovation for all employees, at all levels. And because of this recognize that maintaining an inclusive, supportive workplace requires mindful attention and intention, we continually adapt to the evolving needs of its people. The company’s intention is to put the responsibility for an inclusive culture in the hands of its leaders and employees through comprehensive education and engagement efforts.

We all watched Walt Disney Company (DIS) shares soared last week after the company released its fiscal first-quarter 2024 earnings. The stock had its best day in over three years after the company made a flurry of announcements and markets got a sense that CEO Bob Iger’s turnaround plan has started to show results on the ground.

Since returning to Disney, Bob Iger has inspired hope among employees and investors that he could turn around the entertainment giant — and faced tough challenges, people were a large part of the strategy that gave rise to the changes in fortunes.

To help bridge the trust gap we recognise that organizations need to work with each other and with wider society to identify practicable, actionable steps that businesses can take to shape a new relationship with wider society: a new ‘settlement’ based on mutual understanding and a shared recognition of the positive role that business plays in people’s lives.

To create such a settlement, businesses need to see themselves as part of a diverse, interconnected, and interdependent ecosystem – one that involves government, regulators, individual citizens, and more. Trust within and across this ecosystem is key to its long-term sustainability and survival.

That’s why trust needs to be restored to the heart of the business world.

Design led innovation… the driver of accelerated economic growth

President John F. Kennedy once observed that the word “crisis” in Chinese is composed of two characters; one representing danger, the other opportunity. He may not have been entirely correct on the linguistics, but the sentiment is true enough: a crisis presents a choice.

This is particularly true today.

How are executives responding? As might be expected, they are largely focusing on maintaining business continuity, especially in their core. Executives must weigh cutting costs, driving productivity, and implementing safety measures against supporting innovation-led growth.

Unsurprisingly, investments in innovation are suffering. The executives in a recent survey by McKinsey & Company showed that they strongly believe that they will return to innovation-related initiatives once the world has stabilized, the core business is secure, and the path forward is clearer. However, only a quarter reported that capturing new growth was a top priority (first- or second-order) today, compared to roughly 60 percent before the crisis hit

Possibly the most important discussion around business today, design lead creativity and innovation is about spearheading business reinvention and the disruptive economy.

Innovation, the successful implementation of new ideas, is an important driver of economic growth.

Successful innovation creates customer value through new products, services and processes, giving rise to new markets and economic growth, as well as contributing to higher productivity, lower costs, increased profits and employment. The central role of innovation in creating future prosperity and quality of life is widely acknowledged and accepted. Innovation drives long-term economic growth, and states that:

Innovation… has long been viewed as central to economic performance and social welfare and empirical evidence has confirmed the link between innovation and growth. This means that all businesses must understand the importance of innovation and develop an innovation culture to strengthen its efforts and outcomes. In addition to its growing importance and profile, innovation culture has also evolved in line with developing thinking about the scope and nature of innovation in a disruptive economy.

There is a huge gap between aspiration and reality, McKinsey & Company yearly global CEO report show that 84% of world leaders are still operating in a horizon 1 strategy. Leaders who use vision to navigate the future often employ strategy to help them steer their organizations more effectively toward its destination.

To lead with vision, however, requires a fine balance among what matters today, what we anticipate will matter tomorrow, and how we can create the future through inspired, collective effort. There are three horizons that leaders should understand to ensure that vision unfolds as one would hope. To define the horizon thinking:
• Horizon 1 ideas provide continuous innovation to a company’s existing business model and core capabilities in the short-term.
• Horizon 2 ideas extend a company’s existing business model and core capabilities to new customers, markets, or targets.
• Horizon 3 is the creation of new capabilities and new business to take advantage of or respond to disruptive opportunities or to counter disruption.

Leaders need to see beyond the short termism, uncertainty and address the risks while finding the opportunities in digital disruption, the economy, and geopolitical uncertainties, this requires a horizon 2 and horizon 3 approach. CEO’s are the company’s ultimate strategist.

Less well understood is that she/he is also the ultimate integrator, charged with identifying the issues that span the enterprise and formulating a response that brings all the right resources to bear. To do that well requires a broad range of contradictory perspectives: outside in and inside out; a telescope to see the world and a microscope to break it down; a snapshot view of the immediate issues and a time-lapse series to see into the future with the right lens.

Throughout the world, organizations are seeking ways to streamline their processes and improve employee experiences. One way that is presenting itself as the ultimate panacea to enhancing the customer journey is to create dialectical leadership’ and ‘distributed leadership’ and combine them depending on the situation, to achieve a balance between various contradictory elements such as the ‘tug-of-war between efficiency and creativity’, and demonstrate organizational adaptability.

While strong communication is critical for teams to succeed, businesses need cross-departmental collaboration to move the needle and achieve their overarching goals There is a name for this approach—a holistic growth strategy. The goal of a holistic growth strategy is to unite every department to work together as one cohesive unit. While each team has a different specialty, people complete their tasks with the bigger picture at the forefront of their minds. Each employee will understand and be focused on how their work contributes to the company’s holistic goals, like scaling, boosting return on investment (ROI) and retaining customers. Driving sustainable, inclusive growth requires the right mindset, strategy, and capabilities.

Here are some steps that could help foster successful growth. Companies are now shifting away from that kind of mindset in favour of a more holistic approach. The latter involves considering the impact that every change is going to have on the entire organization, and not just specific functions or departments. The reason behind this approach is to attain a business transformation that is embedded in the very culture of the organization; is aligned with the organization’s purpose, and embraced equally by every single employee– not just enforced upon members by the managers. Such a shift means that the organization holds employees and leaders across each department accountable for their roles in the success of the business. An organization that takes a disjointed approach to implement technology only risks having a section of its employees lacking the skills needed to keep up with today’s fast-paced, disruptive and dynamic business environment.

In my experience, innovative cultures start with a philosophy and a tone one analogous to the classic parenting advice that children need both “roots and wings.” As an innovation leader, you must ground creative people in accountability for the organization’s objectives, key focus areas, core capabilities, and commitments to stakeholders. Then you give them broad discretion to conduct their work in service of those parameters. Obsessing too much about budget and deadlines will kill ideas before they get off the ground. Once your scientists understand that they are ultimately accountable for delivering practical products and processes that can be manufactured affordably, you can trust them to not embarrass you by wasting a lot of money and effort.

This trust helps forge an innovation culture. Innovation parenting also pays attention to innovators’ social development. Millennials, in particular, will expect and seek out opportunities to interact with people who interest and excite them exchanges that should, in turn, build innovation energy. To help individuals see where their work fits in the knowledge ecosystem, encourage relationships with colleagues in the internal innovation chain, from manufacturing to marketing and distribution. I ask my new hires to generate a list of who’s who at Corning within the first few months on the job. This helps them overcome the assumption that many hold that they must do everything themselves.

That’s nonsense; others within the organization often have already sorted through similar problems. Understanding that early in one’s tenure reduces wasted effort and can inspire new bursts of collaborative creativity. Innovation culture is made up of practices that support and strengthen innovation as a significant aspect of progress and growth. It includes all structures, habits, processes, instructions, pursuits, and incentives that institutions implement to make innovation happen. It values, drives, and supports innovative thinking in order for it to be successful on an organizational level. To fully understand the importance of your company’s innovation culture you need to know how this impacts what employees do or say at work every day. This will help establish specific behaviours within the organization such as communication patterns between departments during meetings or who gets credit for new ideas when they come about.

While most business leaders now believe having a diverse and inclusive culture is critical to performance, they don’t always know how to achieve that goal. Continuous innovation stimulates revenue growth and helps companies perform better during economic downturns. Fixation on top-line growth can skew innovation efforts, resulting only in innovative gains from the low-hanging fruit of incremental growth.
Disruptive innovation is only possible when the entire organization is set up for an innovation mindset, a process that starts with proper leadership training. In this environment, nimble decision-making is a companion to rigorous experimentation. Team members must make the best decisions possible as quickly as required. These decisions must be open to re-examination as new information surfaces.

This means that decisions should be refined on an ongoing basis. The need to be “right” must be set aside in favour of continual learning. What was once called “flip flopping” will now be called “learning.” An example of nimble decision-making is an organization that offers training to help participants combine data-based decision-making with intuitive decision making to leverage the power of both. They make decisions at the appropriate point to support the process of experimentation. When experiments are run, participants learn, and prior decisions will be revisited when appropriate and updated. Leaders and their employees must value adaptability, flexibility, and curiosity.
All of these skills and aptitudes support an individual’s ability to navigate rapid change. Employees must remain flexible and focused on the face of ongoing change. They need the capacity to feel comfortable and supported by their colleagues so that they can adapt to planned and unplanned change with creativity and focus.

Trust is one of the most vital forms of capital a leader has today. Amid economic turbulence and global uncertainty, people are increasingly turning to their employers and business leaders as a source of truth, rather than their institutions and government officials. Trust, which can be defined as a belief in the abilities, integrity, and character of another person, is often thought of as something that personal relationships are built on.

A high-trust organization is one in which employees feel safe to take risks, express themselves freely, and innovate. When trust is instilled in an organization, tasks get accomplished with less difficulty because people are more likely to collaborate and communicate with each other in productive ways. As a result, outcomes tend to be more successful. No heroic leader can resolve the complex challenges we face today. To address the important issues of our time we need a fundamental change of perspective. We need to start questioning many of our taken for granted assumptions about our business and social environment.

Leaders serve as role models for their followers and demonstrate the behavioural boundaries set within an organisation. The appropriate and desired behaviour is enhanced through culture and socialisation process of the newcomers. Employees learn about values from watching leaders in action. The more the leader “walks the talk”, by translating internalized values into action, the higher level of trust and respect he generates from followers. To help bridge the trust gap we recognise that organisations need to work with each other and with wider society to identify practicable, actionable steps that businesses can take to shape a new relationship with wider society: a new ‘settlement’ based on mutual understanding and a shared recognition of the positive role that business plays in people’s lives.

To create such a settlement, businesses need to see themselves as part of a diverse, interconnected and interdependent ecosystem one that involves government, regulators, individual citizens and more. Trust within and across this ecosystem is key to its long-term sustainability and survival. That’s why trust needs to be restored to the heart of the business world.

Positive habit formation is a method that successful athletes have tried and tested. It entails identifying what behaviour is required to achieve a win and establishing a routine to reinforce this. To apply it in business, ask yourself: what consistent actions do I need to start taking that would improve my overall performance? For instance, if meetings with a certain colleague often overrun, it’s worth considering how that time is being used, adopting a more efficient format and then embedding this through repetition. Great performance is as much about the purpose and culture of the organisation. These beliefs are found in the vision, ethos and values, leadership, the strategy and plans, in people, and importantly that people are trusted to make things happen. Reconnecting with your purpose and values will make it possible, when this crisis has passed, to look back with pride at how your company responded.

Culture always matters, but it matters now more than ever. If these core attributes are applied to the business then high-performance leaders must have an overwhelming desire to lead and that the desire to lead must be for the right reasons. It is only through having this overwhelming desire that they will have the emotional energy, enthusiasm, stamina and drive to undertake the unremitting pressure and sustained hard work required to turn an average organisation into a high performing one.

Events have changed our world and the way that we work in an extraordinarily short time. It is becoming increasingly evident that we will have to live with and adapt to these changes for a long time and it is far from certain that we will ever return to life exactly as it was before the pandemic. These changes bring with them great challenges and risks. These are uncharted and difficult waters to navigate. However, in our view there are also great opportunities, and these challenges can be met where leaders are able to move from a crisis management mindset to thinking about how to run their businesses differently, with a strong focus on culture.

Company’s that get this wrong run the risk of poor conduct, low staff morale and ultimately, weak future performance. However, those that find ways to nudge behaviours in the right direction have the chance to build business models and resilient cultures that adapt to the new circumstances with positive outcomes for customers, employees and investors.

It’s important to have a holistic strategy that enables people to work effectively with colleagues regardless of location. Key to this is a shared purpose and a sense of cohesion. This strategy should be driven from the top and include all teams. Equip and trust your people to build and use capabilities that suit them. Provide support from a mental wellbeing perspective help people find ways of working and connections that work best for them in this new world of work. AI can be used to help employees make better decisions and focus on higher-value tasks, whilst also boosting inclusivity and sparking creativity.

Your people are the heartbeat of your business. Leaders must ensure people have the right skills and technology to succeed and the ability to innovate wherever and however they work. They must meet the needs of every individual embracing diversity in all forms. An effective culture gives people not only the means to be productive but the drive to innovate, adapt, and progress. Support the workplace with technologies that suit remote, office, and frontline workers while keeping them secure. Organisations need an integrated and intelligent approach to security, powered by the cloud and AI. Customer trust is everything. Therefore, ensuring employees have access to the information they need, wherever they are, whilst maintaining security, privacy, and regulatory compliance is vital. Key to the hybrid workplace is human centred design and complemented is a technology platform that allows strategic direction and a strong culture.

Finally, the essential practices underpinning distinctive innovation have not changed in this time of crisis, but the relative emphasis and urgency of where businesses should focus has.

Above all, organizations need to realize that innovation, now more than ever, is a choice. Regardless of the relative emphasis and order, which for years have helped leading innovators more than double the total returns to shareholders compared to laggards, will continue to be critical in navigating and emerging even stronger from this crisis.

As Tim Brown, former CEO of IDEO, once said:

“The transformation of a business-as-usual culture into one focused on innovation and driven by design involves activities, decisions, and attitudes. Workshops help expose people to design thinking as a new approach. Pilot projects help market the benefits of design thinking within the organization. Leadership focuses the program of change and gives people permission to learn and experiment. Assembling interdisciplinary teams ensures that the effort is broadly based. Dedicated spaces such as the P&G Innovation Gym provide a resource for longer-term thinking and ensure that the effort will be sustained. Measurement of impacts, both quantitative and qualitative, helps make the business case and ensures that resources are appropriately allocated. It may make sense to establish incentives for business units to collaborate in new ways so that younger talent sees innovation as a path to success rather than as a career risk.”