From their London, Singapore and Sydney bases, the four partners (LURN, Rialto, X-PM & ASQ Projects) sponsored the Global Leadership Dialogue. In recent weeks this series brought together groups of leaders to explore their most important insights and learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic. The conclusions are thought provoking and inspiring.
Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face – Mike Tyson
The importance of collaborating with peers has never been more apparent. Leaders agree that working together is the key to addressing the unique challenges that face the world’s companies and organisations. Now is the time to share learnings, solve problems collaboratively and plan for a ‘better normal’.
The Global Leadership Dialogue has classified the challenges businesses are facing under four broad headings: Society, Organisations & Employees, Digital and Leadership.
An important observation is that while it’s easy to say, ‘we’re all in this together’, different markets, sectors, countries and individuals have had different experiences in recent months. There are many challenges and, clearly, no single solutions.
In general, though, leaders agree that Covid-19 has been a global wake-up call that has challenged values systems and found them wanting. It has exposed growing inequality in access to basic resources and in society as a whole. It is time for empty promises and tokenism to stop, and for leaders to take personal responsibility in driving change.
Organisations & Employees
Most companies have taken pride in their rapid adoption of new ways of working to respond to lockdown rules and safety guidelines. There is a strong consensus that homeworking is here to stay, and that the concept of ‘the office’ will change.
Leaders also acknowledge that working at home has presented challenges to many employees. While some have embraced homeworking and will retain it, others wish to return to the office and a more structured work style. The future challenges in this area will be in delivering a positive employee experience and improving company strategy, policies and procedures that take stock of a more flexible working approach.
Leaders agree that the implementation and adoption of digital technology accelerated still further as a result of the pandemic. For many organisations rapid change was needed to upscale technology and upskill the workforce.
New customer and supplier transactions were introduced almost overnight – contract signings, new processes, remote meetings and training… all eliminating business travel. Yet leaders agree that video collaboration is not always the most efficient way of working and that the role of data and analytics is becoming ever more important.
Perhaps the most hotly debated area of discussion in the forum is how leaders should adapt their skills and mindsets for the future. An emotive question was ‘would our own children want to work in our companies?’
It is agreed that the leaders of the future need to be more strongly values-based, human centred and inclusive than ever before. The role of trust is a crucial focus, especially in the current context where many teams are working remotely.
A step in the right direction
It’s very clear that there are many questions yet to be answered – not least in the near future as the pandemic continues to threaten lives and livelihoods. Leaders believe that the world economy is in for ‘a tough few years’ and that collaboration is essential to find the best way through.
Participants in the Global Leadership Dialogue series agreed that no individual has all the answers. By working together, leaders can adapt to ongoing, unprecedented change and ultimately deliver a ‘better normal’ through learning from our challenges and our peers.
To learn more about our approach to collaborative design and aligned decision making, reach out to me at Lesz@lifeLURN.com or +65 8522 7366