The focus in Agility Update August is on three important issues to continuing business success – trust, innovation and training, or more specifically re-training. We also highlight a PwC survey confirming CEO optimism about the global economy. The articles from respected publications offer examples, suggestions, and links to additional resources for business leaders to consider, and maybe adapt, to execute successful outcomes for themselves, their employees and organisations, and their customers.
PwC’s 21st annual survey of chief executive attitudes has found company leaders around the world enthusiastically bullish about the global economy. Despite the barrage of pessimistic headlines, the 2018 survey marked the greatest increase in general CEO optimism regarding overall worldwide prosperity over the past seven years. Those who have been in office longest — 11 to 25 years — were rosiest in their assessment of the global economy and their own organisation’s prospects.
Interestingly, only 18 percent of CEOs perceived declining trust from their customers which is a little at odds with the Edelman Trust Barometerwhich found evidence of noticeable shifts in 12 nations. Edelman found a dramatic increase in trust in six countries (China, the UAE, South Korea, Sweden, Malaysia, and Poland) and a decline in six countries (Colombia, India, South Africa, Brazil, Italy, and the United States). In the U.S., trust plunged 37 points across all institutions: government, business, media, and NGOs, recording the steepest drop ever measured by Edelman in one year for any single country.
Click here to read the details and PwC’s suggestions for basic practices that can help chief executives carve out a meaningful, trusted identity for themselves and their enterprises.
The holy grail of innovation is within reach if business will only pay attention to the traits of innovators and provide a psychologically safe environment for employees. So, say three journals: Strategy+Business, Harvard Business Review (HBR) and MIT Sloan Review.
In her book Quirky on inventive genius, NYU Stern professor Melissa Schilling delves into the personality traits of “serial breakthrough innovators” like Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Dean Kamen, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk. While her conclusion is that such innovators are more born than made, her work could help organisations create a petri dish to spawn innovation, for example:
In addition, leaders in organisations need to ensure a psychologically safe environment by considering not only how they will act, but just as importantly, how they will not act through continuous gestures and responses.
As HBR points out, people cannot express their cognitive difference if it is unsafe to do so. MIT Sloan Review expands on the importance of psychological safety vs the pervasive culture of criticism and encourages organisations to embrace and nurture the ‘Maker’ mindset that celebrates shared experimentation, iterative learning, and discovery through connected communities that build together, while always emphasising creativity over criticism.
If senior executives are able to adapt and lead the way, the organisation becomes the orchestrator of innovation. Read The quirky secrets of the world’s greatest innovators, HBR’s The two traits of the best problem-solving teams and MIT Sloan Review’s Lessons from the Maker movement and If you cut employees some slack will they innovate?
Education is a topic that is very much in the media spotlight. Even as Australia debates the Gonski 2 proposals and universities trial new pedagogies – some more successfully like the Ecole 42 model, and some less like the AltSchool model – some companies and governments aredeep into retraining and equipping workers with skills for the new digital, Artificial Intelligence-powered age.
Four cited examples are:
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