New Leadership for the New Normal

As the world has become more complex and unpredictable, so, too, has business. Business has changed. It has become more demanding. Pressures have increased, and they aren’t going away.

You can’t talk about how to succeed in an increasingly complex and unpredictable world without discussing leadership. Supply chains are transforming. Business processes are changing. New technologies are emerging. New ways of work or taking hold. One thing that can influence this is leadership.

But leadership, too, is changing.

A statement made by President Eisenhower that aptly describes oldstyle leadership is captured in this quote: “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head; that’s assault, not leadership.

Although Eisenhower’s sentiment has been around for many years, that view is only now transforming. In its place is new leadership or leadership for the New Normal. New leadership has gained traction because today’s complex and uncertain marketplace demands it.

Like supply chains, leaders must be responsive rather than reactive. Responsive leaders must engage, anticipate, and innovate. Given the New Normal’s speed of business, the time to leverage new principles of leadership is now.

If you master the new principles of leadership, your business will thrive. If you get it wrong, your business will struggle or worse.

By leveraging the new principles of leadership, you can adapt by focusing on your customers,your employees, and your business.

This post reveals four areas defining the new principles of leadership. Those four areas includeculture, strategic thinking, talent management, and change management.

Let’s get started by discussing each one below.

#1 Leadership and Culture

Promote creativity. In a fast-paced environment, you have to do more than keep pace with the competition. You have to be one, two, or three steps ahead. To do that, you have to look for outof-the-box solutions. You must find creative solutions to achieve growth, customer satisfaction, and sales goals.

Therefore, your organization must foster an environment that allows for failure and experimentation. That might seem intimidating, but organizations that embrace creativity systematically find they have more wins than failures.

Promote coordination and communication. This is like collaboration but gets more into specific details of a project. To move a project from milestone to milestone, teams must coordinate and communicate their next steps. This allows team members to work on their individual tasks.

Complete individual tasks before you can move on to completing larger goals achieved by collaboration. To achieve optimal coordination, you must clarify what you expect. And you must also make clear how that contributes to the team’s goal.

Promote collaboration. This is a soft capability but an important one. You should encourage collaboration within and outside of your business. Internal collaboration improves communication and results in a better understanding of your business challenges. That translates into savings of time and money. So it improves internal efficiency.

But that’s not enough. Next, extend collaboration to external partners. This further extends your potential efficiency gains. With everyone working in partnership, you’ll also speed up the problemsolving process. You can only accomplish this with leadership that encourages and supports collaboration. You can do that by creating a flexible environment that promotes team independence.

Once you’ve addressed the culture you want to instill in your organization, you need to look at your strategy. Even broader than that, you need to look at developing a strategic mindset.

#2 Leadership and Strategic Thinking

Vision and mission. At first glance, this doesn’t look like a new leadership principle. What’s new about this is an unyielding focus on strategic thinking and planning. It embraces a holistic view of your organization about what you want to achieve. Strategic thinking and planning avoid knee-jerk reactions from distractions to your overarching goal.

As a leader, you must establish and communicate your vision and mission. It’s like a big picture that conveys your direction and priorities to your employees. Your vision and mission also lay out how you plan to achieve a competitive advantage. As a leader, it is important more than ever to understand the past and present and how they influence the future.

Create meaningful work. Employers look to their leaders to create meaningful work. Their work must contribute to your overarching goal (s) in a way that is palpable. You can achieve that by clarifying the purpose along with the vision and mission. When you clarify your organization’s purpose, you’ll boost productivity and retention.

Research shows that performance improves by 33 percent when you have an obvious purpose. And 75 percent of your employees are more committed, and 49 percent are more likely to stay.They place it, surprisingly, ahead of income, job security, and time worked per week.

Build strong values. Building strong values for your organization helps create the culture you want to create. They help cement employees desire for meaningful work. Company values apply to your organizational level. By contrast, meaningful work applies to the individual level.

Here’s an example from Whole Foods’ core values. We Practice Win-Win Partnerships With Our Suppliers — We view our trade partners as allies in serving our stakeholders. We treat them with respect, fairness, and integrityexpecting the same in return.

Whole Foods website supports these values by providing content about past accomplishments on how they support suppliers. As you dig into Whole Foods website, you’ll find its values have substance, they’re concrete. They’re more than mere marketing slogans.

Moving on from strategic thinking, we’ll delve into the importance of managing change.

#3 Leadership and Change Management.

Become proactive. In our post-pandemic world, it’s all about change. A familiar adage sums up this leadership competency neatly: “Change is the only constant.” As you strive to build a more responsive business, you must improve how you manage change. Successful leaders plan for and execute change management seamlessly. In doing so, reacting becomes a thing of the past, while proactive responses begin to take root.
Stay abreast of changes and trends. One way to ensure you stay abreast of changes and trends is to read voraciously. Knowledge gained from industry trade publications, trade shows, press releases, etc., can give you insights into industry trends.
A new generation leader is an informed leader. To be informed requires a holistic view. You must have a view of your business, your industry, and the global operating environment. To achieve that holistic view, you must listen to your customers, employees, and competitors. To do the latter, you must leverage analytics and stay abreast of the latest industry research.

When you focus on detecting trends, you develop an anticipatory mindset. In the New Normal, it’s important to view your business beyond its boundaries. Everything is interconnected, so you must constantly be aware of subtle shifts before they become huge waves of change.

Embrace innovation. To leverage trends, embrace innovation to stay ahead of the competition. Your understanding of trends will help show you the way ahead. Trends will inform you in developing tools, techniques, and processes for the future. In this instance, you want to always be looking for new and creative ways to do business.

The fourth area of new leadership deals with change management.

#4 Leadership and Talent Management

Support personal growth. As you might have gleaned, new leadership concerns people. It is peoplecentered. That’s a pivot from an organizationalcentric view. The organizational view is still critical. However, to improve organizations and achieve growth, you shift your primary focus to people and then to the organization. That means concentrating on your customers’ and your employee’s needs. In pursuing what’s best for your customers and employees, you’ll find that benefits your organization.

That brings us to talent management.

Looking internally, if people are the foundation of your business, then hiring, training, upskilling,and reskilling are paramount. As a leader, you must take care in hiring the right people for the right position and your customers. So, you must also look externally to determine what type of employees your customers want to deal with. You must find a good fit.

Additionally, you should strive for diversity. The future calls for solutions that monolithic teams will find challenging to find. That’s because monolithic teams tend to think alike. Uniformity of thinking will make achieving the best solutions difficult. Instead, you want to seek employeeswho fight the rigidity groupthink entails.

As a new generation leader, you will come to rely on training, upskilling, and reskilling more so than in the past. That’s because they promote the flexibility today’s employees seek. Focusing on achieving personal growth will benefit your employees and your business. So it’s time to institutionalize a more robust and flexible training system.

The X-Factor lies in how you lead your people

Realizing success through new leadership principles amounts to how you manage your people.

First, you must create a culture that supports your vision and mission. Second, you must think strategically about setting a framework that empowers people and what motivates them. Third, you must implement a human resources plan that complements your strategy. Fourth, you must develop a modernized training program that engages, challenges, and applies to today’s work.

In the end, you want to ensure that change becomes a core capability of your organization.

Without leadership, none of these would be impactful in a way that creates a competitive advantage. Today’s leaders know how to unify these capabilities, so they are mutually supportive and create an open, thriving organization.

That’s why leadership is the X-Factor.

At American Global Logistics, we understand the value of leadership. We not only understand it, we also practice it daily. We know that our success depends on our people.

So we build on that by focusing on strategic success through partnerships with our clients. Faced with growing pressures and disruptions, it makes sense to seek partners and find strength in numbers.

Contact us now if you’re interested in learning more about partnering with us for long-term success.