Leadership and organisation development trends

Leadership, Organisation Development

Here are the key leadership and organisation development factors, trends and opportunities which are essential in supporting company growth, sustainability and development.

Skills shortages and skills planning

In line with the current unprecedented pace of digitalisation and disruptive tech, the need to constantly evolve, upskill and in some cases retrain is becoming ever-more pressing, for example software engineers are required to develop new skills every 12-18 months. In order to sustain a competitive advantage and be agile, it’s vital for organisations to promote continuous learning and development; to upskill, support and develop employees whilst also planning their future workforce skills requirements.

Learning doesn’t necessarily need to be formal training and education; it can be anything from micro-learning sessions to conferences, professional memberships, mentoring and everyday experimentation.

All too often, skills shortages hit businesses when it’s too late, stifling growth and innovation. It is essential that businesses identify current and future skills requirements before aligning their learning and development and workforce planning activity to both current and future business objectives.

Invest in your people

People are an organisation’s greatest source of competitive advantage; whilst the latest technologies, systems and supply chain efficiencies can all eventually be imitated or matched, the knowledge, creativity and experience an organisation’s people hold continues to be its greatest superpower.

The digital age is more than ever a human age, where creativity is a superpower. Those who see around corners, who imagine and shape a future, are our superheroes. Craig Fenton, Chief Strategy Officer, Google UK

Recruiting, retaining and engaging the very best talent is no mean feat. Organisation culture can be a huge determinant of success; it fundamentally affects an organisation’s ability to successfully attract, engage and retain high performing employees. Whilst there’s no magic formula, there are fundamental components which promote a healthy workplace culture, including trust amongst leadership and employees, collaborative and supportive environments, clear communication, shared goal setting, learning and development opportunities and a degree of flexibility. All too often, we find organisations are getting the seemingly basic workplace principles wrong. This can lead to toxic cultures in which talented team members become demotivated, disengaged and move to a more welcoming organisation as they pursue employee wellness.

An organisation with a healthy culture also ensures that people are in meaningful, rewarding roles and that they have the right levels of clarity, competency and control in order to effectively perform without feeling undervalued or overwhelmed.

Leaders at every level

Order giving, know all leaders are becoming a relic of the past as are their rigid hierarchical structures. Instead, leaders who truly thrive and leave lasting legacies are those who empower and engage their teams, those who nurture and develop talent and those who encourage resilient growth-mindsets; those who create leaders at every level.

Organisations are in a constant state of flux; competitive landscapes are ever-evolving, operation needs change and integral team members leave. Effective organisations build resilient teams who embrace change, respond to diversity and seize opportunities. When organisations and their team members are resilient, there will be much less of an impact on the customer and recovery is faster and smoother.

For years, a host of organisations have built cultures based on compliance. Hitting monthly targets, following known processes and optimising delivery is good until you end up efficiently producing what customers don’t want anymore and in some cases, going out of business. Think Blockbuster, HMV, Nokia and Kodak. Past-based, compliance measures of success all too often narrowly focus on results as opposed to rewarding innovation, learning and growth. It’s essential that organisations balance short-term operational priorities with long term strategy development and execution.

Innovation comes from throughout the organisation; it comes from encouraging people to experiment, to try new ideas and understanding the perspectives of those closest to the day to delivery of our products and services.

The quality of leadership is crucial to how successfully an organisation can release innovation. Leaders must promote learning and experimenting and to do so, create safe environments where employees have control over their work and are able to make suggestions, voice opportunities for improvement and test new ideas without fear of being named, blamed and shamed.

Inter-generational working

As life expectancy continues to increase, people will want to and need to work longer. Equally, in today’s age of longevity, as technology evolves, the working world changes to seize emerging opportunities, and expectations of employers increase, people are increasingly no longer interested in a job for life. People are also increasingly switching professions to keep up with the evolving job market.

Organisations will continue to need to find ways to effectively attract, engage and support intergenerational working; and equally recognise that seniority is no longer necessarily age-based. Reverse mentoring programmes are great initiatives to have in place to engage, support and upskill both junior and more experienced team members.

Conscious inclusion/reducing unconscious bias

Whilst gender pay equity dominated the headlines in 2018, equality, diversity and inclusion rightly remain on the agenda for 2019. Gender diversity is vital to any workplace. Not only is it morally right, it simply makes bottom-line business sense. Yet, despite the myriad of evidence which confirms that a demographically diverse workforce can improve an organisation’s performance, there are still areas which experience huge levels of disparity. As leaders, we need to ensure that this bias is overcome; that we actively promote equality, diversity and inclusion; that our workplaces reflect the makeup of society and that our teams are skilled to maximise and support the wonderful array of skills, experiences and personalities a diverse workforce brings.

Ethical leadership and business

Organisations have a profound influence on the world around them. The rise of socially conscious consumers, alongside increased awareness of societal and environmental issues and the impact of businesses on such issues, means that consumers, employees and job seekers alike are seeking ethical organisations who benefit society. Today’s consumer is increasingly interested in seeing companies address issues of poverty, the environment and climate change, human rights and sustainability; and, as such, corporate social responsibility is becoming ever-more omnipotent. It’s no use having a strategy in place for the sake of it; stakeholders can spot insincerity. An organisation’s CSR strategy and the way in which it supports it stakeholders and wider community must be thoughtful, considered and truly serve its purpose in genuinely benefitting the charity, cause or individuals in which it supports.

At Remarkable, we have over 28 years’ experience in supporting organisations of all types, sizes and sectors to achieve their business objectives by getting the best from their people. We are your best critical friend, offering sound advice, challenging your assumptions and celebrating your success.


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