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Creating an Evolving Future-Focused Organizational Culture

Monday, April 22, 2019

Global organizations are evolving and building their businesses in a fast-paced, high-velocity change environment. Cultural transformations within companies and marketplace challenges are accelerating daily, with leaders and employees expected to fully accept a world defined by “VUCA”—volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. A deeper and more focused global competitive understanding is needed across the workplace, especially with increased levels of automation and digital technology becoming the norm. Heightened agility and creativity are required to influence valued judgments and to drive faster problem solving and decision making.

Organizations are finding new ways to enhance thinking patterns and amplify imagination so that operational processes can be done differently with evolving techniques and tools. Higher levels of risk-taking are impacted by the urgency of short-term and long-term actions. There is less time to play it safe and a need to move to a position of learning-from-mistakes. The new future-focus for leadership capabilities must encompass skills of adaptability, innovation, and courage.

The Future Organizational Focus

To build organizational resilience and flexibility requires an escalated focus on leadership competencies and personal strengths with an intense desire to drive results. The key is to constantly enhance efficient productivity and effective performance based on outstanding strategies and strong elements of action implementation. A unique and energizing corporate culture with clear values and specific purpose can boost employees’ spirits, engagement, job satisfaction, and commitment to the organization. It can accelerate successful business accomplishments and help maintain an aggressive pace with the many global changes.

The Future Organizational Purpose

To build a future-focused organization, leadership needs to create a company vision that is easy to understand and interpret as well as an authentic purpose that is formulated on a true sense of meaning and strategic direction. Any transformational challenges and far-reaching needs can serve as the foundation for achieving aspirational dreams. Employees should constantly grow their skills and talent so that they can establish their personal behaviors and engaging beliefs that will assist them with building outstanding business results.

This well-defined company purpose helps identify the required leadership mindset and a compelling mission that is inspiring and motivating. It can also enhance an alignment with the organizational culture and core values specific to future oriented endeavors. The overall pulse of business practices can then be leveraged by employee flexibility and creative thinking once areas of growth are identified. These mindset changes require a positive and innovative culture escalated by passionate connections within the internal population and the external customer base.

The Future Organizational Culture

The culture of an organization defines the energy, creativity, and spirit of a company, and it can impact business growth as well as strengthen results. The actual leadership mindset must support an entrepreneurial and developmental culture. It needs to propel open human collaboration and connections and in so doing demonstrate confidence in the collaborative approach to problem-solving and a willingness to accept mistakes and failures. Taking risks, trying new and creative approaches, and doing activities differently promote the value of working together and positive attitudes. This innovative culture will help define thinking patterns and desired behavioral characteristics. A special psychological makeup will, therefore, serve as the foundation for the company core values such as integrity, trust, respect, and adaptability. These selected values can guide strategic objectives, quality planning, and authentic communication initiatives. Values can even ignite a unification of internal company relationships. Listening and learning will improve reflective thinking that can lead to personal discovery and growth.

The future-focused organization must have a culture based on balancing behavioral expectations of all employees—freedom versus focused discipline, collaboration versus independency, experimenting openly versus structured exploration, nonconfrontational versus strong honesty, individual accountability versus team connections. Another behavioral targeted area can be specific to enhancing the employee’s attention to family and work-life connections. The human makeup can even be further augmented by uncomplicated priorities of service and individual compassion along with acknowledgment and appreciation for contributions. This future-focused culture will guide the short-term business objectives as well as long-term goals.

The Future Organizational Commitment—Five Components

This entrepreneurial and innovative cultural mindset should be built on five special components that are based on a passion for high standards of learning and acceptance of personal reflective discoveries. These components are interconnected in a culture of employee learning and development as well as an environment of innovation and collaboration. The commitment is further refined by the power of high-performance behaviors, strong productivity skills, and the intense growth strategies.


Component One: A Culture Focused on Building New Skills and Talent
Future learning and development approaches and activities must meet the specific needs and expectations of employees at all levels of the organization. Individuals have a strong desire to keep acquiring new skills and capabilities and to enhance the utilization of their company’s core values to grow their character. The key is that the newly learned knowledge, skills, and competencies must be utilized and applied immediately so employees can improve and build business performance for the future. This internal learning environment needs to be supported by a well-defined continuous development philosophy, and it needs to provide easier accessibility to a diversity of development experiences, personalized interactions, and the flexibility of applying the new knowledge. There must be a move to higher levels of on-the-job skills mastery at the individual and team levels. The continuous development commitment must be further intensified and strengthened by the evolving digital technologies, robotics, and “artificial intelligence” (AI) modeling and measurements. This culture that is focused on growing new skills and talent in flatter-structured companies needs to provide financial benefits to the organization as well. All entrepreneurial employee behaviors must become a blended balance between social interaction and in-person learning, and digital utilization and technology development.

Component Two: A Culture Focused on Growing More Effective and Future Leaders
Leaders need to grow and develop more than just their business acumen skills and technical capabilities. They must build personal and social competencies as well as inner self-worth. Future leaders need to constantly expand their experiences and build their leadership expertise to take on extraordinary challenges and global competition. Based on a definitive purpose and specific business targets as well as established values, leaders can encourage creative actions and collaborative teamwork focused on inclusion and results. Through regular enhancement of their self-awareness and curious active-listening, trust and commitment grow to impact business relationships and relationships.

Identifying and selecting top talent throughout the organization is critical to unlocking future leadership potential capable of meeting the current demands and needed requirements to move the business into the future. New and evolving leaders must have the behaviors and skills to discover and escalate their capabilities, system thinking, and data-driven decision making so that they can address technology changes and company-restructuring initiatives. Future leaders must have higher levels of flexibility and agility to be effective influencers and business performance drivers. They also must have compassion and courage to energize and inspire the evolving organizational population.

Component Three: A Culture Focused on Encouraging Innovative Curiosity and Technology Thinking
For continuous learning to become second-nature in the workplace, leadership should boost innovative thinking and inner curiosity as a unique business strategy and significant part of the expanding development-oriented culture. Learners must take ownership of applying their knowledge and skills to achieve their goals and organizational plans through. Leadership needs to encourage the use of new approaches within jobs and finding less traditional ways to building better results. Addressing the many evolving technologies through actual higher levels of innovative curiosity may provide improved abilities to compete in a changing marketplace. Critical thinking and new learning capabilities can even refine company business outcomes by changing and challenging the norms. When employees and leaders share insights and interesting ideas, a deepening of personal happiness and an escalation of morale within a more agile as well as sustainable organization can occur.


Component Four: A Culture Focused on Driving Authentic and Open Communication
The future-focused culture must inspire open, honest, truthful and fully transparent personal and professional communications. There needs to be a psychological level of safety and comfort in addressing tough issues and challenging problems to help enhance critical team dynamics. This communication style will elevate relationships based on behaviors as per the established company values.

There should be greater time for individual self-reflection so employees can have a stronger attention to self-discoveries. Effective and crucial conversations along with open-minded feedback and active listening can help find successful business solutions as well as candid approaches to decision making activities. Emotional Intelligence (“EI”) must become part of the handling of pressures and aspects of stress. Voices, body inflections, and facial expressions play a role in the “touching” between employees, which supports a culture of respect and the established values specific to electronic technology. Personalized and diversified in-person discussions and knowledge exchanges beyond electronic devices should become the norm. Communicating openly and sharing with consistency will accelerate discoveries and build true partnerships that will drive future business accomplishments.

Component Five: A culture Focused on Developing Collaboration and Courageous Partnering
An evolving learning organization and its company culture needs to be built on real and focused relationships specific to strong confidence and powerful connections. There is a need for more personalization in an automated business world, for greater sharing of ideas and insights, and for deeper and courageous teamwork. Effective collaboration will drive and intensify meaningful group work and partnerships that can result in stronger levels of productivity. Through open two-way communication and transparency, employees and leaders will grow together and learn to successfully address challenges. Formal and informal discussions and activities become better balanced. There will always be a need for common goals and shared accountability to drive an innovative and creative work environment. Cross-functional interactions and collaboration provides knowledge, ideas and data that can be leveraged to jump barriers and to find team successes. Heightened partnering and the exchange of experiences and insights will strengthen decision making and problem-solving, resulting in higher-performing organizations.

The Future Organization—Closing Remarks

Organizational cultures are evolving in this fast-paced world to meet future needs and build successful and valued business outcomes. They are being built on exciting and continuous learning transformations. There is a higher level of balancing AI—artificial intelligence—and SI—social intelligence—that is further fostered by the need for greater adaptability, creativity, curiosity, and courageous partnering. Through accelerated momentum and enthusiasm, leaders are becoming more focused on the long-term, driving changes more rapidly with new approaches and reinventing business strategies. Employee talent rejuvenation, sharing ideas, and global activities are becoming the norm. The future-focused organizational culture is fueled by authentic communication, enhanced connections, innovative technology, and personal trust.

About the Author

Paul Fein is an organizational development consultant and certified life coach. As the the managing leader and director of The IDD Leadership Group, he a develops custom-created management development programs. Connect with Paul on LinkedIn. 

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