Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


The State of Leadership in 2018

Volume: January 2018

Welcome to 2018! Are you strapped in for a wild ride? Let’s make it a good one, shall we. As we face a variety of leadership opportunities and hurdles this year, here are some topics and trends that will come into view.

1. Preparing for the “Z”
Regarding the youngest generation in the workplace, the baton has been passed. Generation Z has arrived. Researchers are pegging the birth years for members of this generation as 1996 to 2011. They have entered the workplace and their numbers will be increasing. Give your HR colleagues a heads up: GenZ will interview much differently than their Millennial brethren. To effectively lead the youngest generation in the workplace, we will have to be at our best. In order to gain an overview, some GenZ traits and data are shown below.
  • Social Media preferences: NOT Facebook, but rather Snapchat & Instagram. Also, each week about 65% of GenZ create and share original social media content.  
  • Smartphones: They are on them 15 – 20 hours per week. Oh, and they watch less television than previous generations.
  • GenZ love cool products. Millennials gravitate toward cool experiences.
  • Very entrepreneurial. The majority of GenZ plan on starting a business someday.
  • They thirst to find themselves creatively.
  • GexZ are private and more cynical than Millennials.
  • They will multi-task.
  • GenZ understand that success takes effort and hard work. Just look at their parents.
  • They are not just technology natives, but they put technology in the same category as water and air! (you read that correctly – water and air)  
  • From a consumer standpoint, they like and expect two-way interaction during the purchasing process.

2. Cyber Security
We need to look no further than the recent security vulnerabilities discovered in chips made by Intel, AMD and ARM to reinforce the need for cyber security. The list of organizations that have been crippled by cyber attacks continues to grow. The troubling news is that most business cyber security systems are about six months behind the capabilities of the hackers. This means that leaders must proactively implement and update cyber security initiatives to combat potential hackers. In addition, having a team member who is designated as a Cyber Security Officer (CSO) is a good idea. If your organization has cyber insurance you are ahead of the game. If not, you may want to gather information from an attorney or insurance agent who is an expert in this field. Regarding your organization’s business continuation plan, dust that puppy off and make certain it contains a cyber protection section. Most businesses are vulnerable to a cyber attack. Seek to safeguard your technology systems to the utmost, and have a plan in place to react quickly if something unfortunate happens.

3. Resilience & Inclusion
You will be hearing more about inclusion and resilience in some of our future leadership newsletters. For now, suffice to say that conversations regarding sexual-orientation, gender and race inclusion will continue to gain momentum. In particular, “inclusion” in the leadership ranks will be a strategic topic of discussion. More soon. Regarding resilience, this is a topic that is coming up with great frequency during the 1:1 coaching sessions we deliver. In sum, resilience connotes toughness and the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Note: Nimble organizations tend to be very resilient. More information to follow in the coming months.

4. Techno-Positioning
I do not know how evolving technologies will impact your specific organization. I only know that they will. Our future work world is going to be highly influenced by a myriad of technological innovations that are currently trending. Think strategically about the form, structure, policies and positioning of your business as it pertains to the following evolving technologies:
  • Self-driving cars (i.e., autonomous mobility)
  • Drones
  • Robotics (yes, yes, even more than now)
  • Quantum computers (this area is simultaneously quite exciting and very scary). If you are interested in educating yourself on the science and status of quantum computers, check out the excellent supplement that the Wall Street Journal published in November/December 2107 titled The Future of Everything.
  • Cryptocurrency (I just could not bring myself to give Bitcoin its own newsletter category).
5. Biting the Bacteria
Perhaps there is an opportunity for leaders to fight the original kind of virus. In fact, if leaders help reduce the amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, they will also reduce workplace absences. To put this category in perspective, many members of the World Health Organization view antibiotic-resistant bacteria as the number 1 health threat in the world. We need to stay healthy and take fewer antibiotics. In addition, your organization is at a disadvantage if you do not have a full staff that is healthy. As leaders, we can help our team stay healthy (and show up) by encouraging lots of hand washing, along with the staples of good nutrition, exercise, and optimal body weight. By strategically increasing health awareness, you will reduce unnecessary absences and increase productivity.
6. Manage the Millennials
No matter what generation you belong to, you either manage Millennials or you will soon. As such, it becomes imperative that leaders are comfortable with Millennials and the perspective they bring to the work place. Realize that Millennials (just think mid-20s to mid-30s) will not automatically assume their co-workers are competent. They are “show me” people. Leaders need to prove themselves early and often with their Millennial co-workers. Also, seek to keep your meetings short. Research has shown that more than 50% of the time spent in meetings is wasted. Millennials will disengage if they feel their time or skills are being wasted. The Millennial generation brings technology skills, education, and fresh perspective to the workplace. If respected and immediately treated like equals, they can produce amazing results.
7. Communication & Celebration
A leader I know was pondering how his team should celebrate when they achieved certain milestones. While he had some good ideas, he decided to let the team decide. A suggestion box was erected and over a two-week period, various suggestions were offered. The leadership team selected the five most frequent suggestions and put them to a vote. The winner? (I am not making this up). Navigate a remote-controlled fire engine, with sirens blaring, around the entire office. This is how the team wanted to celebrate. And celebrate they did. And it was a great spectacle to behold. It was also the type of bedlam that helped morale soar.
The purpose of my story is to highlight how important it is for leaders to know what moves their people. Leaders should gain clarity on how team members want to celebrate. It may sound trite, but “catch people doing something right.” Cherish the positives. Be a ray of light that shines out of a chaotic workplace. Trust me. Your people will respond and engage.
Bottom Line: What an honor it is to be a leader! Lead by your actions, not merely by your position. Seek to create an environment that allows every generation to flourish in the workplace. Take appropriate precautions regarding potential cyber attacks. Focus on the health and productivity of your people. Speak to your people. Move them. Unlock their potential. Lead your team to sizzling results in 2018 – you have the power to make it so!  
Until next time, be well.        
Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based executive coach, leadership development expert, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching, strategic planning, or to have Doug speak at your next event, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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