You will never find an unhappier person than an entrepreneur working in a highly bureaucratic environment.
Why? Because the entrepreneur has a future-oriented, optimistic outlook and bureaucracies ‘maintain the status quo’, a stance that tends to crush creative souls.
The good news for these miserable employees is that businesses that want to survive the incoming waves of disruption need to employ people with a future-focused mindset. And not just this – they also need to empower them to test things, fail, get deep into the data and go way out on a creative limb.
Scary stuff if you are more Yes Minister than hell yes.
But there’s no avoiding the future so what can you do to adopt the kind of mindset that will keep your career or business afloat while others sink?
Read on for ten ways to develop a mindset for the future:
- Get cosy with your customers
Find out what they love, what annoys them, what they say they want and what they really want. Permission is now granted to become slightly obsessive about customers and it is becoming increasingly common for businesses to work with data scientists who then team up with marketers to uncover customer behaviour patterns and future growth streams.
Who is doing it right? Spotify, Netflix, Facebook.
- Cultivate a culture of ongoing improvement
Cited as one of the critical success factors any organisation must get right if they are to go forward and achieve even a modest amount of success. It requires a lot of effort and authenticity at the start, and the maintenance is even more intensive, but all well worth it in the end if you get it right.
Inherent in this is what the Japanese call ‘Kaizen’ which means you persistently look for ways to make small incremental adjustments along the way to improve overall efficiency.
Who is doing it right? IKEA.
- Build diversity
Diversity breeds success and it is becomingly more and more crucial for organisations to search far and wide for mavericks and/or quirky individuals to breathe fresh thinking into the business, to challenge the status quo and to who think differently to the rest. Diversity in gender, race, age and sexual orientation has been proven to strengthen company culture because of the way that role-modelling and inclusion affects people’s confidence and ability to speak up.
Who is doing it right? Optus.
- Experiment with tech
The speed at which tech is evolving is intense and the variety of options can be overwhelming. There is no one-size-fits-all and no suggestion that you must have XYZ – but now is the time to start experimenting with new technology e.g. chatbots and decipher for yourself whether there is any value in them.
Who is doing it right? Marriott International.
- Act like a start-up
Given the success of recent start-up brands, observations suggest their business approach, systems, philosophies and general business 101s could benefit larger organisations e.g. design thinking, test and learn innovation, culture vs purpose, communication and use of technology is often key to their success.
Who is doing it right? Tesla.
- Encourage failure
Elon Musk once alluded to the fact that if mistakes are not being made at work, then that team are not innovating. As risky as it sounds, the promotion of a healthy attitude to failure is crucial to businesses inventing new ideas – without some risk, only mediocre will be found.
Who is doing it right? Google.
- Convey clear purpose
In order for employees to have any chance at being a success at work, they need to fully understand the company’s vision and plans for the future. Simplicity drives results and so creating the optimal environment should be high on the agenda of leaders today.
Who is doing it right? Intrepid Travel.
- Leaders need to lead
Leaders need to be able to toggle between the here and now vs the future to avoid being caught out or surprised in any way. Cultivating a positive attitude, enthusiasm, a data analysis habit and emotional intelligence is key.
Who is doing it right? Qantas.
- Avoid short-termism
Businesses favour more conservative options thinking they will generate a positive result, thereby ensuring quarterly KPIs are met. Eventually the majority don’t take risks, nor think big, try new things or bet on new innovations – instead, they continue to do the same as always and keep expecting better results.
Who is doing it right? Australian Ethical Superannuation Fund.
10. Broaden your lens
Gone are the days when you can afford to put all your eggs in one basket. The local market may be hugely important but there far more opportunities overseas and it is highly likely that an Australian import into another market would be highly desirable. Even if no global expansion plans, visiting other markets could spark ideas.
Who is doing it right? Animal Logic.
Tammy Marshall is the founder of The B Hive – a business transformation consultancy that specialises in the Travel, Tourism, Hospitality, Leisure and Entertainment sectors. Throughout her more than 25 years’ experience in travel and tourism, she’s worked across leading brands such as TFE Hotels, Carnival Australia, P&O Cruises, AAT Kings/Inspiring Journeys, Contiki and more.