‘Executive Leadership failure is accelerating at its highest rate in history’ HBR, 2021
Leaders need to make sure their companies can compete in the 21st Century and come up with solutions that can adapt to a future that is increasingly difficult to predict.
So, how do we know what to do when we don’t know what to do?
This is how Jeremy Blain from Performance Works International, kicked off our recent Trapeze HR Webinar. An interactive session packed with polls to challenge our thinking, and case studies from businesses who are rising to the challenge of leading in our rapidly changing world. Not only is there digital transformation but also workforce transformation – how we connect with each other, how we work with each other has changed monumentally over the past 2 years.
So, why is executive leadership failing?
Jeremy refers to data from the Strategy Implementation Institute which says ‘63% of strategy implementation is failing’, and the reason for this is that leaders are good at identifying WHAT it is they should be doing but not so much HOW, they are struggling to implement. How do they embed those changes culturally within their organisation?
At the heart of Jeremy’s talk and his philosophy that ‘One CEO is not enough’, are findings from McKinsey that state ‘…by 2025, 75% of existing senior management would fail or could fail, unless they rapidly start moving on a very steep learning curve and start to tackle the transformational challenges from an implementation standpoint…’
With a combination of digital transformation and the changes that were forced upon us by the pandemic, we have seen a more fluid workforce, more remote working, and remote selling.
Two companies that Jeremy highlighted as having responded well, are Gucci and Prada, who were ‘…courageous to say, you know, we don’t have all the answers anymore, and we need some help from the rest of the organisation’. Which is how Gucci Live came to life, introducing a virtual in-store experience, and how Prada changed the design of their tops, so their logo was prominent on their customers’ Zoom calls!
The approach has to be fluid and moving, moving quickly and imperfectly, because if you wait to be perfect, your competitors will get there first.
So, how do the best leaders do it?
They understand all the moving parts of what Jeremy calls The Triple Now.
This model ‘…. demonstrates the sheer scope and scale that is challenging executive leaders…’ which is why they need to reach out to other experts within the business.
The first component of this model is ‘digital’, Jeremy argues that in fact digital transformation does not exist – it is far more than that, digital transformation, requires whole business transformation. Along with this, on the right-hand side, we have human transformation. We are demanding our businesses to be more purpose driven, having the balance between purpose, people, and profits. Combining both the right- and left-hand side of the model you’re not just impacting the business model, you’re impacting the core culture of the organisation.
Jeremy used the example of DBS, a bank in Singapore. They set out to completely reimagine their customer experience. They took away the chore and mundanity of banking, so customers could spend more time in their real life. They wanted to make banking invisible. This meant that their bank was very much part of their customers life, but in the background. They thought more about the customer, and what the customer wants. They don’t “want” a mortgage, they want to buy a house, the mortgage is just a ’means to an end’. This guided thinking gave way to DBS creating their ‘live more, bank less’ approach.
Piyush Gupta, CEO at DBS demonstrated great leadership, by holding his hand up and acknowledging that they needed to go on a ‘very steep learning curve’. He introduced the idea of hackathons throughout the organisation which created an opportunity for innovation to take place at all levels within the organisation.
Jeremy highlighted part of the interview where Mr Gupta said ‘We’re just not the smartest people in the room anymore, and leaders need to get used to that.’
If you’d like to listen to Jeremy’s full Trapeze HR Webinar and explore ‘The Triple Now’ in more depth, you can view it on YouTube: Watch Video
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