2022 looks set to be another year of change, particularly in the world of work. Many are still trying to reimagine a post-pandemic future of work. This is an important endeavour, but this pesky pandemic won’t let us get a good look at the horizon! We get glimpses of it, but new waves keep getting in the way. This makes it difficult to take a meaningful step forward.

So how to begin this conversation for 2022 for your organisation? Engaging your leaders in the conversation is a good place to start. In fact, in our recent Veldhoen + Company White Paper, On the Leading Edge of Hybrid: Lessons from the Australian Experience, we identified leadership capability building as one of the three critical areas of investment needed to thrive with new hybrid ways of working (in addition to investment in ‘rhythms & rituals’ and ‘hybrid meetings’). When it comes to leadership development, organisations can tend to look outside for an ‘expert view’. They scramble for the latest tools or processes to equip their leaders to thrive in a new situation. This approach can be helpful. However all too often, in my experience, this neglects the ‘collective intelligence’ that already exists within every workplace. Each organisation has a collective intelligence of leadership experience. Under the right circumstances this can be unlocked to achieve wonderful results. I know this because I have experienced it first-hand.

Key messages

  • 2022 is set to be another year of workplace uncertainty
  • Leadership capability and capacity will continue be crucial to organisational success
  • Rather than taking an ‘expert view’ on next steps for your future of work, think about co-creating the future by tapping into the collective intelligence of your leaders.

One of my earliest experiences in participating in a leadership development programme was one of the most influential on me. The session was facilitated by a wonderful man by the name of Alastair Rylatt. It was my first experience of an offsite, so I didn’t know what to expect. I arrived in the room and was greeted with a circle of chairs. No PowerPoint presentation, no posters; just a circle of chairs. On each chair was a paper folder. Like the others arriving I tentatively chose a chair sat down and picked up the folder. I expected the folder to contain some information on leadership, readings, frameworks etc. Some wisdom from someone else. Someone who could tell me how to ‘do’ leadership. To my surprise I found the folder was filled with blank sheets paper.

At the time I was miffed. Where was the wisdom? How was I to learn? But what I learned at that offsite was that Alistair was less concerned about training us on leadership than he was on getting each of us to tap into each other’s leadership experiences. At times, he introduced leadership concepts and frameworks. But the primary purpose of the gathering was to create a network of leaders who could learn from each other and rely upon each other. As the offsite progressed the blank pages filled with what I heard from my peers and with my rich personal reflections that bubbled up through the process of connecting and sharing with others.

Therefore as 2022 emerges, all your leaders will experience similar turbulence to that of the last two years. If you are to reimagine the future of your workplace you will not be able to do it without their wisdom, knowledge and commitment. Before you make any key decisions, why not tap into their lived experience first? Understand what they need, understand what they hope for and what they fear. This is the essence of co-creation. Co-creation is central to the Veldhoen + Company process. Rather than tell you what a better world of work is, we instead co-create with you a better world for your work.

If you are interested in how to begin this conversation, then reach out to me or any of my colleagues. If you are curious about tapping into the collective intelligence of the leaders in your organisation, then you will be interested in our Leadership Sensemaking Workshop.

For more about this project please contact Eoin Higgins

Eoin Higgins

Australia & New Zealand

Want to know more?Eoin Higgins

+61 407 411 684eoin@veldhoencompany.com

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