Friday November 20, 2020 0 comments
By Bill Van Eron
Stakeholder Relevance & Growth Coach
Headwaters Marketing & Innovation
The path ahead will reward authenticity, trust, ethics, diversity, inclusion & collective conscious humanity enablement. The management trend to say some of the right words without actions will be seen as superficiality. It is the fast path to failure. Same with closed cultures.Yes, quite different than the last few decades of bottom line, change resistant, avoidance to values & others across your stakeholder ecosystem. This happy pioneer applying what most failed to see and prioritize for decades now, proclaims “The most important shift in our lifetimes, affords a world long denied, key roles in shaping more compelling work places as vital to earn higher shared regard through change”. As AI reduces time-stressed repetition in work, we should step up our humanity strengths in tandem, as a system of advancement, not a disruptive one-sided challenge we fail to adapt to.
While technology justifiably dominated our attention the last few decades, other forces key to success failed to get conscious attention. Employees, customers, market influencers, resellers - all as collective stakeholders - connect values as a relevance requirement. They see through superficiality to determine which organizations measure up to a now higher standard. This requires a more advanced & reflective style of leadership more can share in to create attention to a foundation stakeholder trust.
Few leaders can do this alone, as too few can relate to values & needs, as those of us deprived. Yet, as more leaders embrace the need for collaboration and enablement, versus control and low engagement, they too will proper more, as will the rest of us who now contribute to success.
Let’s discuss a few of the principles driving positive change:
- Today, what you stand for is more important than what you make. Truthfully, as my experience proved progressively over 25 years in HP, the higher your internal & external relevance becomes, the higher your success becomes. Add a meaningful purpose and social footprint and earn global regard. Yet while the future requires deeper attention words and values long overlooked in most organizations, stakeholder and local to global relevance requires skills most fail to see, prioritize and reward, as also equal in value to known values, such as well-respected engineers.
- Creativity has long been highly regarded, it also tended to be limited in scope to marketing.
- While I too pursued a design career as one with high creativity, it was attention to others, purpose and attitude that shaped the basis of the relevance communicated.
- When trust is low, even the best creative talent may be written off as hype.
- Design Thinking enabled me to integrate trust, credibility, wider inclusion that all leaders, functions, boards, and employees benefit from in both surprising and highly inspiring ways.
- Systems Thinking – a truly enabling skill a wise mentor advised me to add - revealed how ideas, core assumptions, major needs & solutions impact the ecosystem that defines success more can share in directly or indirectly. The more conscious we are, the more relevant we become.
- Trust: Long ago, for what seemed an eternity, our word and a simple handshake often catalyzed trust & relationships as a basis for shared value & outcomes most participated in. When people abused this, it eroded trust. Mistrust grew, even as new patterns to earn our trust shaped. The increase of manipulative violators made it hard for all. Our HP salesforce motto was “Better to under-promise and over-deliver than over-promise & under-deliver”. The last two decades, we have seen an erosion of trust in business and government leadership. Whether as a legal requirement or a choice; management’s longtime focus on shareholders shaped wider attention to bottom-line approaches that often said no to actions seen as intangibles. Change is good. Embracing it sooner is great.
- Leadership should step up first. Shift the limiting aspects that define capitalism to shared principles all can apply and watch your revenues double or quadruple. So now, short-sighted assumptions of earning trust, credibility, and relationships as overkill when time and money was involved, need champions to sense, apply and connect to more with meaning. As a reflective truth - my HP work proved - stakeholders have long been ready for such attention, as now the biggest factor key to success for those that act on it first. Now, being laggards means an organization may never regain lost ground.
- The degradation of culture & accountability: 360 accountabilities is what all stakeholders now expect per their 100% transparency to how leaders meet internal & external promises to determine who is worthy or not. This major ethical shift from bottom-line minimal investments in others is now key to success, as it now will follow earned relevance, a task conscious humanity is in the best position to do.
- Diversity: Yes, most past & current management teams tend to be devoid of women, people of color and well-rounded experience in empathy, value creation, observation, questioning, creative and systems thinking skills now vital. Having grown up in diversity and loving how it connected all of us to our Brooklyn NY community values, I quickly realized the many benefits beyond just gender and ethnicity
- Any idea, topic, core assumption, always got a competent review that fleshed out the highest value, idea extensions, concerns, and positive or negative impacts on others. Imagine key leaders submitting core and new assumptions to that process, yet we see resistance. In truth, opening it up for diverse input makes any idea stronger and creates progressive inclusion as employees sharpen input skills.
- All markets & influencers reflect diversity as should those serving us in business or government.
Unless we have been hiding under the metaphorical rock that defines status quo, culture & our comfort zones, over the last two decades the following impacts all of us (with rare exceptions):
1. Trust continues to sink to progressive new lows, thus those that earn & sustain it rise far faster.
- Sales has been more about quota pressures than earned relationships, so it goes into decline.
- Marketing continues to be creative while ROI falls where trust & relevance sink to new lows.
- KPI’s & performance standards tend to be internal measures versus stakeholder values alignment.
- HR must get enlightened & enabled beyond its past limitations. I see a bolder, timely role as key.
- Many managers see change as chaotic and highly risky, versus employees who want to step up now.
- Transparency & positive 360 supportive accountability has to be embraced now.
- Stakeholders – internally & externally – have 100% transparency as to how businesses deliver to promises made internally & externally. This is a major overdue trigger a major shift from greed, control & risk aversion. Yet, so many fail to see it or resist seeing it, as more say the words yet fail 75% of the time. Our HP teams never failed once between 1990 and 2000 as I catalyzed attention to factors, they were passionate to support whole-heartedly, versus 75% of employees emotionally detached– Gallup.
Let us make a more compelling future now, as the best way to reflect on needs long evident prior to and during COVID-19. Attention to this sampling of factors - we apply - really matters:
- Understanding where an organization really is, why and how to align to what matters.
- The new role management that earns trust in leadership, will soon be clear so why wait when greater success happens to those who act first with experienced help guiding them.
- Creativity is often seen as a value, yet it is often contained to marketing & product innovation. This high value suffers when a culture fails to challenge the status quo. Thus, talent stays within its creative comfort zone to make things look good, rather than assuring the basis to measure up to higher stakeholder systems regard. I was surprised & delighted to how creativity matters when immersed in real business, versus dependent on others to interpret needs often overlooked. Why not have this advanced relevance in C-Suites, on boards and as a cross-functional relevance catalyst?
The following mindset & skills I was blessed to see, realize, advance, inspire & help others at all levels to apply, now shapes a journey of meaning, humanity, trust, inclusion well beyond the words.