As the world gets faster, “smaller” – and older – so do the demands of consumers and employees. An interesting note is that consumers ARE employees, and vice versa. We spend a lot of time defining and drawing lines between what consumers want and what we need employees to deliver. Sometimes we forget that it’s all part of the same wonderful mixed up thing we call life.
I know it’s so simple, and yet, it’s not easy to run a business or decipher which product or service is right for you as a consumer. I know for years I woke up and thought “here’s what I need to accomplish for my family today” and “here’s what I need to accomplish for work today,” and I rarely considered any intersections between the two. Now I wake up every day and think, “What can I do to make a difference today no matter what it is that I’m doing?” Often the answer is not brain surgery, but it’s also not something that would occur to me if I was just thinking about what I could squeeze out of something rather than pump air into.
And all of this reflection today came from revisiting IBM’s 2010 “Capitalizing on Complexity” study. If you haven’t read it already, it’s worth moving to the top of your reading list.
The study is based on face-to-face communications with 1,500 CEOs worldwide. And, I believe, if you want to see what’s next for the workforce, check on the traits of CEOs. Whatever is making them get ahead is most likely what’s in demand for their consumers and their employees, who come into work every day and deliver on brand promises.
This morning I flipped to page 24, titled, “Defy complexity with creativity.” CEOs were asked to prioritize the three most important leadership qualities in the new economic environment, and creativity was the quality they selected more than any other choice. It ranked above integrity and global thinking. It ranked above openness, dedication and fairness. Interesting. Very interesting.
Good leaders usually populate their teams with people who exhibit qualities that don’t come naturally to them in order to balance the tables. But I’m thinking that creativity is going to be an over-riding factor moving forward. So you have to display the qualities to fulfill your particular position, and then exhibit creativity on top of that.
What do employees get in return? Well, how about simplifying the complexity of life for them, too. Top-performing CEOs often shield their consumers from all the confusing aspects of what went into a product or service, and they just dish up the best darn solution they can offer to make them come back for more.
What if we simplified life for employees by applying the same idea? Just dish up the best possible environment for them to do their jobs – which may mean different things depending on the resources available to you – and set a goal for wanting them to come back for more every day. More fun. More meaningful work. More respect. More of a chance to make a difference.
Just a thought, but it may be crazy enough to work.