I’ve had a great day today at ‘A Good Day at work’, a conference where all things ‘well-being’ were under discussion. Obviously there was much talk about resilience from a range of HR professionals, who had a wide variety of views on the enablers and barriers to resilience in the workplace. The keynote speaker in the afternoon was former hostage John McCarthy.
I’ll write about John tomorrow, but what I took from today is that an awful lot of leadership teams are starting to take the ‘well being’ of their teams more seriously. Rather than taking the view that being seen as an organisation that looks after their staff’s well-being is an aim in itself, many of them now see that actually looking after their staff is essential for the organisation’s own resilience.
For a good many leaders the conversion to this new way of thinking is driven by the realisation that happy staff make for happy customers and happy customers mean more business.
The CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi Worldwide, Kevin Roberts, had some interesting things to say about the VUCA world that has been much talked about within organisations in the last five years and has been seen as a threat to resilience for individuals and organisations alike.
Originating in the U.S. military, VUCA stands for Vulnerable, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, and reflects the pace of change which we all face and which potentially makes it difficult to remain resilient. Roberts suggests that this is rather a negative way to view the world of change, and a more optimistic view is that of the SUPERVUCA world, in which the world is Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy and Astounding, and he maintains that crazy will win every time. Whilst many might see this as a flippant response to real problems that exist within many organisations undergoing large-scale change, there is something in the way that we choose to perceive the change we face that will have an impact on our experience.
Roberts also had something to say about the Era of New being replaced by the Age of Now in which young people, and some older ones, are no longer interested in paying attention, they want to participate, and instead of information they want inspiration.
For employers, Roberts says that they need to look after their employees’ safety and security and make them feel loved. This morning he talked of his belief in creating a workplace in which the people feels like a family and operate like a team; where the culture is both caring and demanding, and is also constantly evolving. Part of that approach, Roberts suggests, is about creating spaces that people are pleased to work in and he posed the question “Why would anyone want to work in a crap space?”
Roberts also urges organisations to inspire people to be the best that they can be and make them feel like they’re part of something special. Instead of having a vision, he advocates leaders having an inspiring dream, one that lifts people and engages their emotions, which in turn, is more likely to result in action being taken.
On a final note, Roberts says for those who have responsibility for others within an organisation, that every conversation with those who report to them should include four elements; responsibility, learning, recognition and joy; in that way a culture of ideas and creativity is created.
The VUCA world that Roberts talks about is here, whether we like it or not, but much of the change we see in technology is quite Astounding and Unreal. Maybe we all need to embrace our Crazy to deal with the challenges ahead and choose to be Vibrant ourselves as we start each day.
Have a great day at work tomorrow!