As a business and leadership coach, these words are music to my ears! When I’m asked the usual question at networking events, “What do you do?”, I answer with, “We’re in the attitude adjustment business.” More often than not, it catches the asker by surprise. Yet, truthfully, it completely captures our goal when working with our clients, to help them think differently about what it takes to lead in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) business world we operate in.
We enter a new business cycle with some existing challenges (rising interest rates, supply chain issues, etc.) and new challenges (impact of inflation, etc.). To that end, leaders must embrace the idea of thinking differently about what is possible given the current economic, socio-cultural, political and regulatory conditions affecting their markets and industries. As we work with our for-profit and non-profit clients to think differently, we identified several common themes, regardless of type of business and/or market.
- Stop Coping, Start Flexing ~ In a VUCA business environment, it is easy to get caught up in a coping mindset. Coping is fundamentally a “play not to lose” defensive-minded attitude. It is focused more on not losing ground versus flexing to gain ground. Flexing is a near-term “play to win” offensive-minded attitude that looks at possibilities in spite of the current conditions and obstacles that may exist. While the ultimate attitude we look for in leaders is adaptability, having a flexing mindset is a great start! How are you flexing your business in this new year?
- Challenge the Status Quo ~ By definition, growth, and the change that growth demands, is venturing into space the organization has never been to. That is likely the main reason it is difficult for leaders to challenge their thinking where they are comfortable. Throughout my own career, I’ve used variations of two simple questions to begin a conversation around getting beyond our collective comfort zone. We would challenge ourselves to answer, “What if ...?” and “Why not...?” to identify new ideas and potential obstacles which is still the staple of our goal planning process! How are you challenging the status quo in this new year?
- Experiment ~ One of the most valuable lessons learned in my many years of leadership in multiple industries and at multiple levels is to always have some level of experimentation in play. We may have called it a pilot program, a beta test or something that sounded less scientific, but we learned always to try new things looking forward. Experimentation allows leaders to constantly revise their assumptions about what is possible under different business conditions. It also sets a great example to the organization they lead that the status quo is never the acceptable end game! How are you trying new things in your business in this new year?
Thinking different is paramount to success in today’s business environment. To think the same, yet try to act different, is not sustainable and old thinking will ultimately prevail. To think otherwise is the definition of insanity!
How are you thinking differently about how you are leading your business? If you don’t know, we can help!