The top 3 areas of focus for leaders post pandemic

In summer of this year we decided to plan our first face to face events after living in the virtual world for the previous 18 months. As part of these ‘Fresh Air, Fresh Thinking’ workshops we wanted to gauge what the leaders attending considered to be the important issues, as we move out of the pandemic.

We defined the topic of interest as:

What are the most helpful leadership behaviours to aid recovery in a post-pandemic world?

To ensure there was meaningful collaboration we used our newly acquired, Augmented Intelligence (A.I.) Software, which enables any number of participants to provide and share opinions without the need to meet. This is called a 3-step Virtual Dialogue.

Step 1 – Ask the Right Questions

Questions were posed to help the contributors to think about 4 key areas in relation to the topic: goals, unintended consequences, barriers and assumptions. In this step 121 unique opinions were generated, typically in a traditional workshop it would only be 40-50.

Step 2 – The Opinion Survey

All opinions were shared amongst the participants who rated these according to their level of agreement.

Step 3 – Convergence

Each individual learned the results and on seeing the levels of agreement across the group had the option to change their opinion or give a reason for their opinion. Then the software calculated the amount and strength of agreement in the various themes that emerged.

The Top 3 areas of focus for leaders post pandemic

From this piece of collaborative research three core themes emerged, based on the agreed opinions of the group. These themes were shared and discussed with the contributors as part of the ‘Fresh Air, Fresh Thinking’ workshops. Here’s a summary of the outcomes of this collaborative research project.

Theme 1 – Leading Self: Key points

  • Unsurprisingly the leaders highlighted and agreed the need for leaders to embrace change and adapt their style as the new world presents more uncertainty.
  • An overwhelming 100% raised the issue of the risk to leaders own wellbeing, specifically focusing on work/life balance.
  • A command and control leadership style will not be appropriate in the future. Those leaders who demonstrate the appetite and ability to adapt to changes will survive and thrive.
  • Underpinning this is the opinion that leaders will require support to develop new ways of thinking and new skills such as coaching. This is with the aim of encouraging their people to take personal responsibility to search for new solutions for themselves.

Theme 2 – Leading Others: Key Points

  • The results reinforced that to aid recovery it is essential that leaders develop and maintain effective relationships with their teams.
  • The group were of the opinion that this will involve being more aware of the impact the pandemic has had on the workforce.
  • Emphasis was given to the importance of heightened awareness of individual wellbeing.
  • Since virtual meetings are now commonplace, along with more flexible work patterns, leaders must ensure that there is equality in opinions being heard.
  • It was identified that leaders require further development to ensure meetings are more purposeful and productive.

Theme 3 – Leading the Organisation: Key Points

  • As the need for re-thinking emerges, leaders must create the time to consider both external and internal factors in recovery.
  • Externally, this leads to the requirement to adapt to changes in customer behaviour and expectations. This includes recognising the importance of an increased focus on the organisation’s environmental impact.
  • Internally, the notion of building a positive employment brand will become more important. Employees now have more flexibility in how and where they work, presenting a risk to those organisations for whom high retention rates are essential.
  • Cultural shifts towards greater employee involvement in problem solving, encouraging and rewarding ideas and innovation, plus encouraging employee curiosity particularly linked to value-creation will be important.

Considering these themes and key points: What might you want to focus on to be a more effective leader?

The beauty of using the A.I. software meant we were able to gather and collate input from a large group and produce outcomes in a matter of days. A further stage in this collaboration process is the ability to turn the survey results into agreed goals and plans – superfast. Leaders can therefore pose a question or topic, gain any number of required stakeholder opinions and have an agreed plan to address the issue within a couple of weeks, rather than months.

What strategic initiatives in your organisation might benefit from being fast tracked with aligned thinking and disciplined action?

To find out more about our AI Strategy Facilitation & Planning you can book a demo or arrange to speak with one of the team.