The Future is Now: Three Critical Imperatives for Success


There are profound shifts facing organizations today that are causing business leaders to take pause and rethink how they operate in the Digital Age. Waves of change, from emergent and adaptive technologies, customer expectations, and ever increasingly diverse work environments, are forcing companies to prepare for these types of changes, as well as others, in an accelerated timeframe. The paradox, however, is that we still are unable to anticipate the impact of these shifts, leaving many of us feeling unprepared and unsure what actions to take. The good news is that there is a way to move forward. Start by thinking about these three critical imperatives for future success and how they show up in your work environment.

1. Be deliberate about your change culture

Organizational research has suggested that around 2/3 of organizational change efforts fail. Yet, in today’s business climate, we have a historically high number of change management practitioners, thousands of books on the subject, and consultants who promise a fail proof approach to achieving change. So, what is the disconnect between the change management expertise and organization success or failure? Since starting my career in 1996 as a change management consultant, I have learned that change can’t be managed. We can’t expect to go into an organization and manage -which essentially means plan, direct, delegate and control -our way through the complexities of change. Successful approaches for strategic change should allow organizations to become change capable while promoting agile processes. As abstract as that sounds, it works! We know that change isn’t easy but it is inevitable and focusing on a change capable culture is a more sustainable approach. A great place to start is to find out your organization’s readiness for change while evaluating your business processes to see which one’s support or hinder your change culture.

2. Prepare your leaders for the future

For leaders to thrive in this dynamic, hyper turbulent connected environments, new ways of approaching their roles should be evaluated. In slower and less complex times, a traditional hierarchical approach was the norm. However, in a world of intense complexity and distributed organizational models, it isn’t conceivable for a few at the top to inspire, motivate and effectively lead. Consider that one of the key roles for the future of leaders is to be digitally savvy. What do emergent technologies mean for our business? How does AI enhance or impede our strategies? What can we now do with big data? These are the types of questions digitally savvy leaders need to be thinking about in the near term. Additionally, leaders need to have fine tuned their emotional intelligence-drawing on self-awareness, empathy, people development and respect for diversity. Finally, future leaders need to be connectors-recognizing the interconnected nature of the work that leaders do at all levels. They need to be able to see contradictions and work in the white space while understanding about systems and patterns of work behavior.

3. Start now to upskill your workforce

All organizations will need to redefine roles as automation is introduced into your work environments. Recognizing that there might be some displacement of fringe work tasks, automation provides an opportunity to maximize gains and minimizes losses. The Worldwide Economic Forum suggests that by 2022, the skills needed to perform most jobs will have shifted. Each company has a unique context so understanding the impact to your roles is critical. Begin now to understand what is that impact. Are there new skills that will be needed to effectively perform in a future state? Can those skills be developed internally and if yes, how will you go about upskilling? These are the types of questions that should be asked with the goal of creating a Learning and Development roadmap that will essentially be your compass for the Digital World.

If you are contemplating these issues or others, Dr. Armatas has been working with organizations for over 20 years and can support you in these efforts. Connect with Armatas Advisory Group to discuss any problem or organizational need.

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