Leading With Change + Innovation

Keynote Speaker. Bestselling Author. Strategic Consultant.

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“If you really want to know about business, you should refer to Scott Steinberg.” -Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group

Corporate Speaker: Tomorrow’s Top Leadership Skills

As most corporate speakers can easily point out, a new operating reality and a new competitive landscape demand a new mindset and new operating approach to succeed in. The process of finding ongoing success, no matter how disruptive or fast-moving the market is, at heart is simply one of constant reimagining, repositioning, and reinvention.

And as many business leaders are increasingly noting, when it comes to innovating and staying ahead of the curve, this stuff doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming, or take anything that even remotely resembles rocket science to bring together.

More to the point, as corporate speakers will also tell you, organizations of any size can take advantage of the typical startup mentality— one in which you’re in a state of “permanent beta,” or constant iteration and improvement—to succeed more frequently. As part of our management consulting practice, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many businesses of every size that are making huge strides in their field by applying a range of new success habits. And their formula for succeeding and staying ahead of the curve starts by creating a culture of trust and encouraging employees to speak up.

Leading organizations empower workers and reward them for bringing potential opportunities and challenges to their attention. Front-line employees are often an enterprise’s most informed audience—to promote entrepreneurial thinking and sustain competitive advantage, these businesses provide them the tools they need to translate ideas into action.

To succeed in tomorrow’s business world, as corporate speakers will also note, you must constantly rethink business practices as well. Like any good startup, you have to be asking yourself: Is “the way it’s always been done” still the best way to do it? Like competitors, industry leaders constantly have to consider this question—and what capabilities, tools, and resources they need to put in place should the answer prove to be “no.”

You’ll want to freely encourage and support collaboration and teamwork across the organization too. Flatten lines of communication and allow information, insights and support to flow throughout your enterprise. The more readily you can align tools, talent and resources toward common goals, the more readily you can foster creative thinking and innovation.

Be sure to plan ahead for the future as well. Rather than simply keep pace with rivals, top innovators always consider where the future is heading and strive to put the solutions tomorrow’s audiences will demand in place today.

It’s further important to embrace change as well. Leaders expect employees to stay abreast of changing business environments—and intelligently and flexibly respond to them. To this extent, workers are given the freedom to take small, smart risks that have the potential to help the organization better serve its customers … so long as these risks are intelligent, productive, and cost-affordable.

In addition, be sure to spread risk. Leading organizations don’t try to be risk-free, but rather actively pursue a more calculated range of business bets. As with financial portfolios, these enterprises constantly manage and adjust a portfolio of strategic ventures. Not all wagers will pan out. But all are designed to collectively help the organization grow its capabilities, spread risk, and learn through real-time monitoring and course-correction.

And, of course, as corporate speakers will always point out, it’s vital to never stop learning and growing. Rather than just rely solely on contingency plans, market leaders consistently experiment with new innovations and solutions—especially when things are going well, and they can most afford to gamble. By consistently pioneering new ideas and approaches, and extending their experience, capabilities and comfort zones, they create added flexibility and room to maneuver in the face of changes or unforeseen events.

In short, what it means for leading organizations to embrace new success habits and mindsets is this:

– They turn employees into emergency responders.

– They transform infrastructures from barriers into enablers.

– They see business strategy as being flexible, not fixed.

– And they continually provide team w tools and runway to reimagine, reinvent, and innovate their way to success as scenarios change.

As you can see, succeeding in tomorrow’s business world demands that organizations embrace new habits and new mindsets. As business leaders, you’re uniquely equipped to help them encourage greater diversity with regard to the way in which they think, operate, and do business.

All too often, it’s easy to get caught in the idea of diversity as a purely cultural or demographical concept. But really, as a corporate leader, what we should be encouraging is greater diversity of APPROACHES AND PERSPECTIVES. As a futurist and trends expert, I wholly encourage you to stay aware of and attuned to the forces that will shape tomorrow’s markets. But just as important as doing so is staying open to new ways of thinking, and new ways of tackling any given challenge.

Resourcefulness and resilience will be the hallmark of tomorrow’s successful organizations. Happily, the more you encourage diversity, the more readily you’ll able to tackle whatever tomorrow brings, the more consistently successful you’ll be.

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