It’s been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. Leaders must take control of changing times by strategically transforming the organization — effectively, shaping how it will look and perform in the future.
According to recent research studies, there will be many opportunities for CLOs and other members of the executive team to prove themselves in this arena. Organizations can expect to be challenged with the need to do the following:
1. Enable speed, flexibility and adaptability to change. During transformations, priorities change and work groups need to respond as quickly as possible to new requirements. Understanding reactions to change, implementing strategies to get “buy-in” for change and developing a plan to manage change are all necessary and critical components for optimizing performance during transitions. As a change leader, you are likely to comprehend best what is needed for you and your work group to be successful. Remember, the actions you take and plans you make must create a result that is sustainable and well-supported. In other words, you have to stabilize the outcome for the change to stick.
2. Increase strategic capabilities to increase workforce productivity. Strategic business planning is one of the most influential tools that leaders have to handle opportunities and threats in the business environment. It not only gives you a way to cope with these challenges, but takes the organization beyond its present condition. Your strategic plans should offer a compelling vision of the future, providing you, your work group and others in the organization with the context needed to maintain aligned direction, make decisions, set long-term objectives, allocate resources, prioritize trade-offs and inspire performance and productivity.
3. Develop and manage human capital. To cope with generational shifts, remote workforces and increased globalization, the organization must effectively use and develop its human resources as never before. In essence, just as it strategically forecasts financial needs, production capacity and market trends, it also must now predict and nurture or acquire necessary talent. An integral part of developing talent involves the assessment of how projected changes to the organization’s strategic goals and other business transformation priorities will affect the workforce and how work groups are structured. Some of the questions that you need to consider are: Are we over-, under- or adequately staffed? What positions need to be added? What positions will no longer be needed next year or two years from now? What are our recruitment needs for next year and in years to come? How can we better utilize our employees?
4. Stimulate innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. As a leader in your organization, one primary responsibility you share with your peers is that of creating an inspirational workplace — one that is capable of unlocking the potential in every employee and supporting the kind of creativity and innovation necessary to meet the market’s insatiable appetite for new and better products and services. To meet this challenge, leaders and employees must overcome the traditional bias against emotion in business and embrace passion as a unique source of strength. Passion not only creates energy and fosters creativity, it inspires action. The entrepreneurial spirit is all about passion. Passion gets things done. It instills the confidence to take calculated risks or pursue new opportunities. If authentic, your passion for your work will inspire those around you, bringing excitement to the workplace and motivating others to discover their passions and integrate them into the work they do to improve morale and performance.
Taking the lead in shaping the future will require CLOs to embrace their organization’s strategic vision, align work groups and processes to the vision and, finally, inspire peers and employees at all levels to unleash their passions and talents to make that vision a reality.