At the beginning of a new year (and a new decade), it’s natural to wonder what’s ahead. As technology and society continue to rapidly transform, it can also be overwhelming for managers and organizations to think about what to tackle next.
With that in mind, we turned to recent authors at MIT Sloan Management Review and asked them: As we enter the 2020s, what is one critical area where leaders and organizations should focus their efforts? The research and diverse expertise of our surveyed experts provides useful insights into the specific skills, investments, and processes that will help companies compete, thrive, and provide value for stakeholders in the years to come.
Build Agile, Collaborative Cultures
Create more agile cultures that enable speed, efficiency, and high employee engagement in work. This will require very different conceptions of culture — away from broad characterizations to recognizing that culture is experienced locally in networks, is variable throughout organizations in ways that can be both positive and negative, and is not effectively shaped by traditional top-down communication or cascading change processes today.
We are finding in my consortium that far more effective approaches to cultural change can be enacted through networks by targeting different kinds of opinion leaders, cocreating desired future states, and more active targeting of points where misalignment in values or priorities exists.
— Rob Cross, coauthor of “A Noble Purpose Alone Won’t Transform Your Company”
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Take Climate Change Seriously
The issue that will dominate the 2020s is climate change. All leaders will need to develop strategies for aggressively managing their carbon footprints; working with their value chains to slash energy, emissions, and waste; supporting pro-climate policies at global, state, and local levels; and communicating their progress and approach to employees, customers, investors, and many more. We’ll need innovation across many sectors to shift our economy to clean technologies quickly.
— Andrew Winston, MIT SMR columnist and author of “Should Businesses Stop Flying to Fight Climate Change?”
Effectively Embrace Emotions at Work
By ignoring our feelings at work, we overlook important data and risk preventable mistakes. We send emails that cause unnecessary anxiety, we fail to make work meaningful, and we are more likely to burn out.