Anybody who believes that the business landscape is the same as it was in the ‘old days’ has their head well and truly buried in the 20th century sand. There is an evolution going on that is affecting the business world and how we lead and manage within it.

We are all being forced to rethink how we behave and what we do. The changes of greater society–changes in generations, gender dynamics and technology–are leading a shift in business from large, highly structured corporate entities to agile, innovative entrepreneurial enterprises.

This evolution isn’t about to stop any time soon–if anything, the pace of change is only going to increase exponentially–and it’s challenging us to rethink what we do, how we communicate with each other and how we will operate as leaders and businesses into the future. It is provoking us to develop new operating systems to future‐proof success, and to learn to lead in a way that makes our teams secure enough to ideate, think, inquire into new solutions and act collaboratively.

The tug of war between volatility and stability

As leaders, business owners and individuals, we are constantly playing a game of tug of war between two disparate but equally important worlds:

  • The pursuit of growth: we actively seek knowledge and experience, we look to others for inspiration and ideas, and create big-picture visions for our future selves
  • The desire for control and constancy: our existing work streams and structures prefer predictability, productivity and control.

This is driving change:

  • Leadership styles are shifting from ‘tell’ to ‘engage’
  • Traditional business structures are becoming more fluid and blended
  • Innovation and invention are now essential, as consumers demand better products and services, delivered more quickly than ever before
  • Agility and decisiveness are required of our leaders and in our teams
  • Teams need to believe that the impossible is possible.

Enter the ‘We’ space of success

Businesses need to stop operating from the ‘Me’ space of centralised closed-door thinking and business planning, to the ‘We’ space of a fully engaged business environment.

The ‘We’ space is an operating system of commercial collaboration, where networks of connected individuals, communities and businesses work together to drive success. The power of collaboration is inestimable as it connects people, businesses, skills, services, products and space to drive new opportunities and strategies for future‐proofing.

In ‘The Collaborative Economy – unlocking the power of the workplace crowd’, Deloitte states that profitable business with collaboration at their core are worth an estimated $46 billion per year.  Their report also finds that organisations that collaborate are, “Five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment, twice as likely to be profitable and twice as likely to outgrow competitors.”

A ‘We’ operating system is one where:

  • Networks of connected individuals, communities and businesses work together to drive success
  • Everyone can all bring their skills, strengths and talents to the table
  • Collective intelligence is valued, which results in working smarter and quicker
  • Diversity and difference of opinion becomes the new competitive advantage.

In turn, commercial collaboration:

  • Creates momentum
  • Drives new thinking
  • Builds the resilience and determination needed to succeed
  • Enables individuals and businesses to explore possibilities and develop strategies for success.

We are smarter together

Commercial collaboration is the key to future-proofing business, leadership, careers and success.

The uncertain future is demanding that we work together and invite opinions and insights from diverse inputs. It’s disrupting the way things have traditionally been, and encouraging us to thrive in the ever-evolving future space.