The most important pillars for personal and organizational success

In a rapidly changing world where the number of options to choose between for how to spend your time are countless, it’s easy to get spread very thin trying to do everything, running faster and faster in the hamster wheel at work and at home. The field of leadership, both personal as well as organizational, is important to stay on track and focus on what actually matters to you. In this post I’m reaching far, trying to summarize what the four most important pillars are for personal and organizational success in an increasingly rapidly changing world. These four pillars are the recipe for success in life in general, but can be applied to any area, for example digitalization that is currently on many people’s mind. I hope you’ll find the thoughts valuable.

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Innovate – A customer-focused innovation model

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Strategic leaders must not get consumed by the operational and tactical side of their work. They have a duty to find time to shape the future.

– Stephanie S. Mead, CMOE

As the world is changing at an increasing speed, learning and innovation faster than competition is the only long-term sustainable competitive advantage. Innovation is a huge topic with many books written about it, and I have no ambition of covering it in full. That said, in this post I’ll go through an innovation model that ensures you put people first and use digital technology only as the means to improve people’s lives, not the end itself.

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Welcome to the learning revolution

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.

– Louisa May Alcott

In this rapidly changing world, the idea of first going to school to learn, to then go to work to work, will change dramatically over the coming years. Lifelong learning is already a concept on many people’s lips, and it’s an area that will develop a lot during the years to come, as more and more people and organizations will realize that it’s not an option to stop learning. Ever.

It’s safe to say that it’s time for a learning revolution, and in this post we will look at what learning is, how to create a culture of curiosity as the foundation for organizational learning, and finally how to create above-and-beyond learning plans for every individual as well as for the company as a whole.

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Do you as a company leader know how your industry will make the world better? If not, why not?

Try to leave the Earth a better place than when you arrived.

– Sidney Sheldon

Are you a leader in a company? As a CEO, department/team leader or something else? If so, how do you plan to make your industry create a better world for people? If you can’t articulate this, where are you leading people and why? I mean, don’t you think this is the most important part of your job? If no, what is? If yes, what’s the plan? These are very important questions that too few leaders ask themselves too seldom.

Many leaders in business, politics and other parts of society come together over the summer to discuss important questions. I struggle to find a more important question than how to make the world a better place. It may sound too big and perhaps a bit too lofty, but it’s really not.

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Have a meaningful mission and tell the story

“When 6,000 students at the beginning of their career have been asked where they prefer to work Google is number one. The reason? The company is best in explaining why it exist.” […] “IKEA is number two in the study that is made by Academic Work and the market research company TNS Sifo. Like Google, IKEA gets credited for their clarity around their purpose.”

– Svenska Dagbladet (www.svd.se), June 26 2015

I’ve written about this before, but surprisingly few companies are good at telling the story about why they exist. Most companies actually don’t tell any story at all. Why is this? Today there is a lot of indications showing that having a meaningful purpose/mission is one of the main factors of attracting, retaining and motivating top-talent. It also guides innovation and all activities in a company in the same direction. Still most companies do so little in this area. Why?

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A coaching guide for a rapidly changing world

The world is changing at an increasing speed, and with that comes more demands on leadership to keep up. To simplify I’ve created this coaching guide for a rapidly changing world. As with everything else it’s not exhaustive, but aims to guide the light towards the most important things. These are 1) being clear about the mission towards which to guide all efforts, 2) knowing what the toolbox of emerging technologies looks like (capability), and 3) innovating towards the mission using all available tools.

So, try using this coaching guide towards peers, managers, direct reports and partners to see where it takes you. Have fun!

Tech Overview for CEOs

Looking at digitalization of industries, it will be increasingly challenging for leaders at all levels to know little to nothing about what technology can do for them. Therefore I have put together a first draft of a non-exhaustive Tech Overview for CEOs of some of the most rapidly emerging technologies such as Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Computer Vision and 3D Printing. My advice would be for you to read/look at/listen to something every week linked to emerging technologies. After 3 months you will have step-changed your understanding of what technology can do for your business.

Enjoy!