Developing 21st Century Leaders
The 21st Century is a time of fierce competition in the business world. Our top employees have more options than ever before and are actively looking for opportunities that allow them to develop themselves, personally and professionally. Clients are looking for an exceptional experience from the companies they interact with. As leaders of a 21st century organization, we help you actively build an organization culture that supports your employees; a culture that promotes engagement, collaboration and innovation.
Since 2008, we’ve been traveling North America, sitting down with leading thinkers and bestselling authors, discussing the inherent challenges of the 21st century work world; and the resulting skills and attitudes now required by individuals and teams who aspire to greatness. Gleaned from this research we’ve determined that there are six core competencies required for success in the face of today’s competitive realities:
- Role & Culture Fit
- Self Management
- Team Optimization
- Effective Communication
- Innovative Thinking
- Peer Leadership
We call someone who demonstrates mastery over these six areas a Salaried Entrepreneur; an individual who embraces innovation and change and actively strives to provide an exceptional experience for clients and co-workers alike. These individuals are your top performers. These dedicated people are the future of your organization.
The Salaried Entrepreneur Mindset
A few years ago we moved to our new home at Actionablebooks.com, and worked with the great team over at Jet Cooper to do so. They did a fantastic job, working through some bizarre challenges to get us here, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way in which they’ve conducted themselves. It didn’t matter which member of their team I was speaking with, they were uniformly fun, innovative, and willing to dive in and solve interesting problems. They seemed to thrive on it.
And that’s the point. I have no doubt that Jet Cooper will go far because of the culture they’ve created in their offices, and instilled in their team. They run towards interesting problems, tackling them with relish. They think independently, yet communicate as a team with a singular focus. Every employee knows what their responsibilities are, but that doesn’t stop them from offering to help in other areas whenever they can.
It’s serendipitous, really. Through the many years of reading business books, interviewing business book authors, and working with teams of various sizes, I’ve come to realize that the teams that are succeeding these days are the teams comprised of innovative individuals, who seek out and solve interesting problems, maintaining a sense of passion for their work, and respect for their clients and team mates.
I’m calling this mentality The Salaried Entrepreneur, and I’m realizing now that all the articles we’ve written, the workshops we’ve created and the interviews we’ve had all circle around this same topic: The guidebook for professional success in the 21st century has shifted from a “head down, follow the rules”, linear approach to an organic, rapidly evolving one. Structure is still vital to an organizations success, but autonomy within that structure is now equally vital. People need to be able to (and allowed to) think for themselves; to push the boundaries and “use their job description as a platform to create value” (to borrow from Seth Godin). This is a passion of mine, and one that I’ll be exploring in more detail in the weeks and months to come.
The core concept here is simple: entrepreneurship is a mindset, not a compensation structure.
The idea of challenging the unknown; building and creating in service to a particular market is universally beneficial. I think Gen-Y instinctively gets this. The generation’s resistance to the status quo, and driving desire for a deeper purpose in everything they do is core to the genetic makeup of an entrepreneur.
Companies thrive when they work towards the best interest (nay, the passions) of their target market, and the individuals who drive those (often daring) initiatives need to be recognized for their efforts.
Which part do you want to focus on this week – connecting with the passions of your customers, or recognizing people for doing something daring?