As we begin 2022, it’s time to reflect upon how significantly the pandemic has impacted the business world. Some organisations and leaders are fast embracing change, inspired to grow their businesses in different ways. Businesses are being forced to think and pivot to do things differently — if you did what you did, you got what you got, so change what you do. That’s the philosophy.

The pandemic has been an incredible live. The world around us faces unprecedented challenges as we grapple with inequality, climate change, burdened healthcare systems & supply chains, labour shortages, the advancement of technology and the evolving political systems. The weight of these challenges can feel disheartening and motivating at the same time. And it’s time for organisations and leaders to reflect deeply and admit that the way we saw the world and did things have changed. This article is an invitation for leaders to embrace these leadership, culture and talent trends to excel and win through 2022. There are so many opportunities to be leveraged in these times of continuous disruptions. Be prepared for what will come next, so you can create an organisation that changes the lives of your employees, customers and the world.

*The shift from Me to We

The disruption in these past two years has taught the world us that it pays to work together for good. Being a community doesn’t just give us meaning — it gets results. In the year ahead, employers can expect to see a rise in collaborative working practices and shared goals. Learning

how to combine compassion with accountability will lead to new leadership styles that are both empathetic and focused, resilient and caring — deeply appreciative of the spirit of human connectedness and what this can do to work and performance.

*Embracing mindset of scientist/ experimenter

There is no doubt that in an era of disruptions, more disruptions lie ahead — that’s the new norm. What worked yesterday will most likely not work tomorrow. To be futureready,

you must be willing to try new things, to experiment, in all facets of your organisation: product development, customer success, digital customer experiences and employee training. In fact, the more you get used to adapting, learning, growing and pivoting, the better off you are likely to be. Instability will be a factor to consider in the new economy, and embracing a scientist mindset will help you stay ahead of the curve. The economist Adam Smith had said, “The art of thinking like a scientist for a leader involves listening to perspectives that make you think hard, not just the ones that make you feel good. Surround yourself with people who challenge your thought process.”

*Building digital literacy & tech infra

There is no time like the present to invest in your technology infrastructure. Technology literacy and execution are not just ‘good to have’, they are needed for survival and growth. Leaders will need to work with teams and plan scenarios to ask questions like, “What technology do we need now?”, “What may we need in the future?”, “How do we build an agile system that can change as we change?” There is no doubt that the future is built on technology and the vast majority of companies are not ready for what’s to come. Trade-offs such as investing in your company’s infrastructure rather than growth will have to be made. But growth is not sustainable if you aren’t agile enough to change for the next crisis that may hit you.

*Talent development & re-skilling for changing needs

With a shrinking talent pool, employers are searching outside their industries and other non-traditional places to find the people and skills they need the most. This perceived shortage of talent means organisations will start to focus more on internal mobility, re-skilling and up-skilling existing employees to prevent attrition and fill niche roles. To achieve their re-skilling goals, some companies are already dialling up on their training, development, coaching and mentorship programmes to create more on-the-job learning experiences, while others are investing in new technologies to help advance careers. Also, as life expectancy continues to increase, many people will want to and need to work longer. Organisations will need to address the dynamics created when multiple generations of employees are working together on the same team. With the decrease of age-based seniority, leadership will be taken by the best person for the role and will likely shift frequently in an agile environment.

* Building diverse & inclusive cultures to manifest equal opportunities

Leaders have the responsibility to ensure the workplace is as fair and equitable as possible. These are times to ask important questions around disparities of opportunities and rewards across levels, functions and other organizational diversities. Also, question the obsession for maximizing value-creation for shareholders at the cost of fairness and equity. These are some reasons we find ourselves in a situation of staggering inequality and at times deep distrust for the leadership. Other ways to tackle inequality in the workplace is by investing in bias training that focuses on experience sharing and awareness of discrimination, and how it can impact engagement and contributions.

*Creating a culture of well-being through health and psychological safety

Heath and psychological safety of people are no longer topics to pay lip service to. As we head into 2022, we must create cultures where employee well-being comes first. Change like this starts at the top and leadership must set an example. Every person on a company’s executive team must be committed to workplace well-being, modelling a holistic lifestyle where top priorities are physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. People are craving balance and wellness in their lives, leaders who ignore or resist addressing this will be unable to sustain talent. Creating a supportive environment requires investment in creating psychological

safety, where employees feel safe to speak up and share ideas, beliefs, even mistakes with candour, without the fear of being ridiculed or punished. Keep the lines of communication open and get people managers to play the connector role between people and the organisation.