Before our memories of massive coloring walls and candy-covered tables fade away, we thought we’d reflect on a few lessons from this year’s Frontiers conference. We’ll never forget the practical advice we received from Holly Branson, a senior executive at the Virgin Group, for making business more ethical—and “Tomo” is pretty much etched into our subconscious—but we also wanted to capture other useful tips and significant observations about the future of teamwork. Here are five takeaways for you and your team.
1. The way we work is changing, fast
And that means your company needs to change just as quickly. “Organizational agility” is a term we heard a lot. To succeed in this business landscape, teams must adapt often and proactively. As best-selling author Lindsay McGregor put it, there are two major driving forces behind an organization’s success: how effectively you execute on your plans and how effectively you deviate from those plans. High-performing companies need both.
2. Learn your team’s “total motivation”
First, a quick refresher: An organization’s Tomo, or total motivation, is the hard-to-define reason employees feel fulfilled at work. It comes down to play, purpose, and potential, as opposed to money, emotional motivations, or just plain inertia.
Why we work determines how well we work. Organizations that succeed in making work feel interesting and important reap tangible benefits—including devoted customers, improved sales, and, oh yeah, employees who actually want to come to work each day.
“Businesses need to be doing all they can, not the least they can get away with.” —Holly Branson, the Virgin Group
3. IT solutions are now driven organically
Gone are the days of IT solutions being dictated from on high. Whether it’s through the prevalence of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or the newest trend, BYOApps, clever businesses are letting workers choose the services and tools they feel most comfortable using. Organizations that adopt these policies should expect a proliferation of devices and services in the workplace—and that’s OK! But it puts a greater emphasis on collaboration and makes bringing people and tools together in a central place non-negotiable.
“Either you support the users or you don’t have a function.” —Mattias Hindfelt, CIO, EQT
4. Make work a safe space to experiment
Throughout the breakout sessions, speakers readily admitted that transparency—or defaulting to open communication—is a cultural shift. That culture shift can be a blessing, so long as you make sure your employees are empowered to experiment. And that starts with trust. As Holly Branson put it, “We have trust in our relationships at home, trust in our children. Why should your relationship with work be any different?” Employees need to know they’re trusted and that they can make mistakes, spin up that new channel, or just try out a new emoji. In the end, everyone benefits from a more dynamic workplace.
5. Create opportunities for everyone
We have a chance to improve the world in concrete ways, and it starts with hiring. Whether making a conscious decision to employ veterans or launching a program to hire formerly incarcerated individuals, creating meaningful opportunities for people is vital. Take advantage of diverse backgrounds and skills, and your business will benefit.
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