We live in a so called “global economy” world, more and more depending on other Countries, on foreign ideas, products, influences, you name it. Globalisation has intensified the means by which local happenings are shaped by distant events and vice versa. The presence of a tangible connection instantly accessible and shareable makes boundaries and information more volatile. They change before we can understand them. Recent changes in the global and political climate have deepened even more our feelings of uncertainty and struggle.
Meanwhile, most businesses still rely on a way of working designed over 100 years ago for the challenges and opportunities of the industrial age where reality was routine and static jobs in silos. These businesses are filled with struggle, constant challenges to keep up with their customers and employees. Fifty percent of the people in the workforce is not satisfied or not happy to go at work every day. What this number tells us is that 50% of the employees worldwide are disconnected from their workplaces and not productive. In other words, work is more often a source of frustration than one of fulfilment. Less than 30% of people around the world describe themselves as thriving. The rest report struggling or even suffering as they face into each day ahead. On the contrary engagement, passion for work and connection are the ingredients which drive innovation and move companies forward.
Leaders have to face unique and unprecedented challenges struggling to find a path forward. A leader today is requested to lead and navigate change to enable an organisation survive in the dynamic environment, maintain track of its long-term goals, continuously refocus its strategy in alignment with internal and external environmental dynamics and ultimately sustain competitive advantage. Never in history we have assisted to such a demand. Leaders will often make choices under conditions of ambiguity. Consequently, strategic actions can never be perfect bringing us in a natural pattern of conflict, blame and uncertainty. Employees need more than ever to understand the WHY to make rapid adaptations to turbulent environment. A leader must disaggregate complexities and adjust strategic actions to steer the organisations towards a different course while keeping the workforce motivated and passionate not only to follow the new course but more than ever to innovate and so remain competitive in a global business environment.
People who want a better world for themselves and their communities are looking to new ways to do business, they look to ReNew Business.
This new way is integrated and innovative. It is centered around human beings rather than on how we label them. I envision a business which serves a larger purpose, that is life-giving rather than life-taking; for which people want to contribute and get great satisfaction knowing that their work and their organisation are positive forces in the world. A business that values a rainbow of diverse skills, inclinations, background. That provides a support system, that is safe, equal and authentic. A collaborative laboratory that values intersections of cultures, values and skills. We must redefine the role of business in society. If we do, the most important development will be the progress that advances all of humankind. This will be then the measure for success of businesses.
Why haven’t we be successful to ReNew Business?
True innovation happens by breaking natural cognitive barriers (low associations). In so doing we meet resistance and get into conflicts. A very uncomfortable place to be, especially if alone. In this place we constantly deal with challenges that are unconscious, making it harder to address; it requires a leader to be connected and agile in emotional intelligence. If we want to create a true change we need to start looking at conflict as the medium where the innovative idea grows and no longer as a battle field. We need flexibility to fail and make errors. This might seem a paradox in a high demanding and competing world. It is easier instead to fall into blaming and create a culture which only rewards success. And this generates an increasing fear to fail which is the actual cause of failing to innovate.
It requires not only facing uncertainty but having the courage to fight the seductive need to remain comfortable. People, network, resources which have made us successful, that are familiar, hold us back on the way to innovation. Inclusion becomes then the critical skill to advance us towards innovation and represents the glue of the differences we have valued and amplified.
My personal motto is: “There is no way to Inclusion, Inclusion is the way”. This means that we choose the both/and approach rather than the either/or. It means that there is no one idea or privilege that dominates. It requires practice and integrity. This does not mean seeking for consensus instead it is a collaborative approach, a co-creation of true new ideas which rise from expansive and inclusive approach. We move pass the limited and exclusive way to reach innovation.
How can we build this container? How can we ReNew Business?
The role of a leader that wants to innovate and create this safe container is the one of a social architect who creates the space and sets the stage for those foreign ideas and differences to perform at their best. It is a leader with the courage to recast what we know currently being a business. A leader willing and capable to create a village where differences are integrated and collectively valued rather than segregated in “dedicated groups” (think of women dedicated groups, diverse ability dedicated groups, etc.). This leader did not conform to fit in rather rebel in name of her/his integrity. A leader driven by curiosity to understand diversity and practice inclusion.
My recipe to ReNew Business is simple, it requires only three ingredients:
What is yours?