Sally Henderson
Change Mentor

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LEADERSHIP INSIGHTS

& TIPS.

Mindset VS Skillset - Future-Proofing our Leaders with Google's Leadership Development Experts

 
 

WHAT DO AIRCRAFT CARRIERS,
YOUR NAME, & THE AVENGERS
HAVE IN COMMON?

They were all recently used by influential speakers to illustrate what makes great leadership...


Here is the 4th & last article of this London Leadership Summit series, featuring inspiring leaders from Golden Sachs, Google, & Harvard University across subjects including managing risk as a Leader, creating greater culture for better business success, and how to sustain success in this time of huge change.


Missed the previous articles? Catch up with Goldman Sachs' James Fulton here, WPP UK Country Manager Karen Blackett here, and Berkeley Haas University Professor Jennifer Chatman here.


Dr. Ciela Hartanov & Dr. Brian Glaser

on Future-Proofing our Leaders in these times of change.

 

Ciela and Brian are part of Google's Leadership Development & Research team, which identifies & analyses emerging trends to ensure the company's Leaders are equipped with both the necessary skills & experience that will enable them to drive the company forward & maintain its place as one of the world's most exciting organisations to work for.

Through their work, they have witnessed first-hand the unpredictable & complex nature of the changes our World of Work is going through, and the disruptions it has on organisations around the world.

So how does one of the world's most thriving organisations ensure its leaders are equipped for change? Read on to find out.


1. Where to start

Given the fast pace of change in the world today, and especially in the World of Work, many markets, companies & leaders are asking themselves:

WHAT WILL THE RIGHT COMPANY INSTITUTE LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE?

HOW CAN WE DEVELOP LOYALTY TO THE ORGANISATION?

 Which goes hand-in-hand with another huge question to tackle:

HOW TO SUCCESSION PLAN FOR JOBS THAT DON'T EVEN EXIST YET?

Whilst there are no easy answers at this time, a great research published by the World Economic Forum titled  The Future of Jobs Report enables Leaders to dig deeper into those questions.
 

    2. The future of Work

    Brian & Ciela presented us the key challenges faced by every organisation and their leaders - see below.

     
     Slide credit: Google

    Slide credit: Google

     

    For this article, let’s focus on the question of how to deconstruct the hierarchy.

    According to Google, a great illustration of effective leadership in the future is the Starling bird: anyone watching starlings murmurating can see how they appear to seamlessly navigate and work together (take a quick look at this incredible National Geographic footage).

    The key to a starling murmuration success is that “leadership” is everywhere, as opposed to being the remit of just a powerful few, - be they chosen, elected, hereditary or self-promoting, etc.!


    3. Mindset VS Skillset

    Taking this point further, for Google, a great leader of the future will be determined by their mindsets not their skillsets.

    Why? Because underlying every behaviour is a mindset, and the shaping of those mindsets is the only way to create agility and long-lasting transformation. 

    Every creative business is currently experiencing transformation to one level or another in today’s market. So, what do we mean by mindset?

     
     Slide credit: Google

    Slide credit: Google

     


    Not only are we experiencing high levels of transformation as an industry, but to be future-enabled & future-ready, companies and their senior people are also having to deliver leadership under unprecedented levels of complexity, pace & expectation.
     
    A key to successfully leading in complexity, according to Google, is to have a predictable mindset to solve unpredictable problems, quoting American journalist, satirist, & cultural critic Henry Louis Menken:

    H.L Mencken.png
    FOR EVERY PROBLEM THERE IS A SIMPLE SOLUTION THAT IS ELEGANT, EASY TO UNDERSTAND & WRONG.
    — H.L. Menken


    4. Future-Ready Leaders

     To help you equip yourself or your Senior Leadership Team to be a greater leader, for both now & the future, Google's Leadership Development team's extensive research led them to the identification of The Six Mindsets of the Future-Ready Leader:

     
    Google-Future-Ready-Leader.jpg
     

    In addition to the above Six Mindsets, Google recommend to their leaders to be a Future-Ready through the following action points:

    • Ask different questions
    • Take multiple perspectives
    • Experiment & learn

     FROM MY EXPERIENCE AS A CHANGE MENTOR, I WOULD ADD FOR EACH POINT THAT YOU FIRST NEED TO: 

    • Know what you don't know

      ...to be able to define the right questions that are both different & relevant.
       
    • Be authentically & effectively connected into the many layers of talent & diversity within your organisation

      ...in order to access multiple perspectives as opposed to subconsciously seeking out the views that will reinforce your own (gain awareness of your unconscious biases with these tests developed by Harvard University)
       
    • Have the energy, will-power, bravery & openness to experiment & learn with the right leadership team in place and, importantly, in the right commercial & cultural conditions

      ...to action effectively and in full psychological safety the findings & benefits discovered from the experimenting & learning.


    Let me leave you with the 5 practical ways to be a Future-Ready Leader that Dr Ciela Hartanov & Dr Brian Glaser shared with the senior leaders in the audience at The London Leadership Summit:

    1. Manage your mindset
    2. Listen to your intuition
    3. Ask yourself “Where do my assumptions not fit?”
    4. Understand that change cannot happen all the time
    5. Look for new experiences & connections that will activate new neural pathways
    sally henderson