Take time to take control. As we come out of the summer, there is one thing that we are certain about – the future of work is unpredictable. As organizations are working through economic challenges and businesses are getting comfortable with ambiguity, we need to rely on FOWYCC. FOCUS on WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL. It is time to manage the future by acting on what is happening now.
Most people have difficulty with the unknown. It’s a scary place that can lead to confusion, apprehension, and withdrawal (“I don’t want to deal with it, so I’m backing away!) Organizations and leaders have an opportunity to pull a team together and outline what is known and what remains a priority for the rest of the year. When people don’t know… they make stuff up. Therefore, this is the time to present the known facts. Share with the group the priorities for the remainder of the year. Set realistic yet stretching goals to make the most of the time that is left in the current year.
Be intentional. Be the calming voice among the nervousness, anxiety, and the “What ifs?” Your workforce is looking for strong leadership to steady the direction, so that the organization can do both survive and thrive.
Here are three things within your control:
Paint a Picture of the Future. Take the vision words off the wall and have a conversation about what those words mean today. Create a commitment to a shared vision. Now is the time to pull the team together to build trust and strengthen relationships. Help them to feel a part of something bigger than the individual part or contribution. Open up the conversation to create a picture of the possibilities. You will be pleasantly surprised to see what results when you give the team the opportunity to step up to the challenge.
Invest in your workforce. Invest in professional development. When you invest here, it demonstrates that you care for and support your employees. It injects newfound energy into building skills and shows that your employees are the greatest asset you have within your organization. It can create a level of empowerment where employees can take control of their career growth and navigate their own progression.
Take a fresh look at succession planning. Baby boomers will continue to leave the workforce on a very ambitious rate. Are you ready for it? Have you built a plan that helps to fill in the talent gaps? How would you answer the following question? “If my top or most senior employees left at the end of the year, what should I be doing now to prepare for that?” We know that the talent gap is coming, for some organizations, it is already here. What you don’t want to be doing or saying is that you wished you would have planned for the gap better. Look beyond the obvious lines. Instead of automatically assuming that the Gen Xers are going to fill the open spots, consider what the Millennials could be doing to be equally qualified? Get out of the habit of moving people on auto-pilot and take a fresh look at your resources to see how the best people, regardless of age, are the best people for the job.
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