After two years of the pandemic and all the uncertainty in the world, I think we are all exhausted, and we need to look forward to something great, something positive, something to lift us up. Business leaders are constantly thinking about how to navigate through the current uncertainty and bring the best to their business—to flourish and to give back. Here are some areas in which they can do so:
In any business, our biggest asset is our people. For the past several months, I have been reading a lot of articles and hearing a lot of talk about the Great Resignation but no mention of the great hires. Every great resignation comes with a great hire. Let’s focus on that. We get bogged down when someone leaves, and that becomes the topic of the discussion. Instead, let’s celebrate when we bring someone on board and the expertise, knowledge and passion that comes with it. People have options, and when they choose to work for you, that’s definitely something to celebrate. You are providing something that they care about. Ask why they chose you, and make sure you continue to focus on what you do well.
Your leader’s performance should be measured not by their personal achievements but by their teams. Retention should be a factor. We all know people do not leave the company; they leave their managers. If there are a lot of turnovers in one particular area or department, don’t overlook the leaders’ competency to manage and work with people. As a leader or manager, you do need to be a people person. It’s not optional. There are plenty of jobs where you don’t need to be a people person; leadership roles are not one of them.
A leader’s performance should be measured by four criteria with equal emphasis: quality of new hires (aka great hire); team retention; team’s performance and innovation (even incremental); and personal performance, which should be mainly focused on how this helps your company growth and vision. If this is not your performance measurement criteria, maybe it’s time to redesign.
Our great comeback is intermingled with our office space. The industry trend is hybrid or onsite based on company culture and job requirements. At the beginning of the pandemic, we heard a lot about completely being remote, but we have shifted from there. We realized being completely remote is not only not always good for company culture but also not always good for our mental health. For the same reason, most of us believe that our kids need to leave home and go to school; we need to do the same. We need to leave our basement or attic and get out to the great outdoors.
Leaders need to focus on how they can make their office space a destination. Gone is the era where you are tucked into your office or cubicle heads down doing your work. You can truly do it from your basement in the comfort of your PJs. So, your office space needs to be a space where your people mix and mingle, share ideas, innovate and connect with each other. Your office space needs to be one that your people gravitate to. As you know, retail is struggling because we can buy everything at our fingertips; we still go to flagship stores as it makes us feel good. It’s a choice we make. Your employees should make a choice to go in because they want to, not because they have to.
Your office space needs to have the following components: biophilic, which means bringing nature to your indoor space; an innovation zone; an entertainment area; and a hospitality area (don’t underestimate the power of coffee, food and wine, which sparks conversation).
If your office space looks old, uninviting and doesn’t have those above components, it’s time to start talking to an architect. There is an old saying that if you think good architecture is expensive, try bad architecture. I say the same. If you think renovating your office space is expensive, try not renovating.
It has become part of our lives, both personal and work. Technology is complex, but for most of us, we just need it to work. Always. Everywhere. For anything to work seamlessly and keep up with advanced human demand, there are a lot of components that happen in the backend, which does not come cheap. I believe your tech budget, which has already doubled, will be tripled in the near future.
We like to work from anywhere, connect to everybody and store a large amount of data within a fraction of a second. And BTW, we also want to feel safe. We don’t like to hear which meeting application we need to use as we want to use it all. We don’t want to hear that there is a storage capacity as we want to store it all. We don’t want to hear the analytics are not perfect because the data is garbage, as we want the analytics to be perfect for making some critical business decisions.
Your tech lead needs to focus on: cybersecurity; data and analytics; advanced hardware and software (just to keep up with demand, which we all think table stake); and constant innovation.
Nelson Mandela said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” As a human race, we have gone through a lot in the past two years. We now know what it truly means by “unprecedented.” As I am writing this article, the uncertainties are mounting up in business as well in our personal lives. But like every time, I believe we will rise even if we fall multiple times. We will have a great comeback in business as well as in humanity.