Looking ahead, here are ten things that we think are true but can’t prove. What do you think?
1. Offering maternity and paternity leave makes a lot more sense than freezing women employees’ eggs.
We can’t prove it, but the first policy fosters accountability, family health, and company loyalty while the second reinforces a stereotype about why women can’t have it all. Last year, Facebook and Apple created a benefit to women employees to freeze their eggs so they can delay childrearing. This year, Netflix came out with their own benefit for new parents; one year of unlimited paternity and maternity leave for new parents. Neither of these policies are perfect and both have come under scrutiny. Our issue is the fact that the Facebook policy reinforces the stereotype that childrearing is primarily a woman’s responsibility.
2. Being a force for good makes sense for all businesses, large and small.
The B-Corps movement has enrolled 1,498 companies (including Moementum, Inc.) in 42 countries and 130 industries to use business as a force for good. Conscious Capitalism is catching on with savvy leaders all over the world. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that every business will benefit from adding environmental and social impacts to their measures of success along with making a profit. Some businesses see themselves as wealth aggregators, as if that was enough. We don’t think it is. The savings and benefits of being a B-Corp are numerous, check out a few of them.
3. The Office is losing it status as the best place to get work done. Workplaces have shifted irrevocably to be anyplace anytime, with remote, home based, and virtual locations now mainstream.
We can’t prove it, but the gains for companies include reduced overhead and happier, more activated employees. Working at home has its disadvantages as well, but it’s a great option for an increasing number of companies who value their employees engagement more than their mere physical presence.
4. Being endorsed as a Best Places to Work is different than being a truly healthy culture.
The popular lists of best places to work matters to public perception and attracting talent, but the dynamics of creating a healthy company culture that lasts is more complex and robust than ever before—just ask any leader who is trying today. Warby Parker is rated as having one of the most effective cultures and guess what, they are also a B-Corp. Hmm… is there a connection between having a culture that sees business as a force for good and creating effective results?
5. Using the science of organizational structure to align work with strategy still hasn’t caught on, and that’s a problem.
When companies fail, people and strategy are the two primary scapegoats. The inability to align the structure with strategy in a way that works for people is a huge missed opportunity. Huge. There are some great examples of how structure supports successful strategic execution, but not nearly as many as there should be. What’s happening? Change is hard, especially structural change, so few companies are brave enough to go there.
6. Millennials are ready to take on more, but Baby Boomers still haven’t learned either how to get them ready or how to let go.
The age of rumor and negative talk about Millennials is (thankfully) coming to an end, but genuinely partnering with them to lead tomorrow requires courage and trust that are still in infancy across age differences. The truth is, these two groups can make beautiful music together, if we ask them to.
7. Feminine leadership traits such as collaboration, empathy, flexibility and patience matter more than masculine traits of being analytical, independent, and proud.
Authors John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio researched this globally in their seminal book The Athena Doctrine and we see it play out in company after company. New times require new muscles, and feminine traits remain undertrained and undervalued in many companies. Feminism or at least learning to embrace and use traditionally feminine traits in business, is good for everyone at work.
8. Every single employee in your organization matters.
Off-the-chart pay for CEO’s points to the story we tell ourselves that top leadership matters more than the front-line employee, but when it comes to risk prevention and customer retention, they both matter. We believe that companies that get this and align their practices accordingly will last. Learning to feel and display gratitude is a good first step.
9. Like it or not, vulnerability is the precursor to trust.
We get calls all the time to help build cohesion amongst teams that are broken or frayed. Everyone wants the good feeling of being a healthy team, but few are willing to take the individual steps required build trust through authentic vulnerability. Moe has been investigating this phenomenon for years. Its why she became a certified Daring Way facilitator. Practicing vulnerability is scary. It opens us up to all sorts of emotional discomfort. Despite this uneasiness, there is only advantage to being vulnerable. For example, it allows us to access joy.
10. Empathy is the magic elixir to leadership effectiveness.
Despite #7, leaders we work with struggle to internalize what real empathy looks like. But when they can genuinely take another’s perspective, stay out of judgment, and recognize and name the emotions at play, their people feel seen and solve problems with grace. Empathy is a skill we all need to practice. Empathy works in HR of course, but it also works in marketing.