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Academy Xi Blog

Overriding ‘business as usual’ thinking

By Academy Xi

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Managers are constantly on the lookout for ways to drive more thoughtful decisions, increase collaboration and achieve better results for their team. Good leaders understand that success can’t be attributed to one person. Instead, high-quality, valuable output is the result of a collaborative culture. In strong teams, foundational skills exist across all members – that is, a shared language, set of practices, tools and mindset.

How can managers proactively provide their teams with these kinds of foundational capabilities? What kinds of skills are going to keep them ahead of the curve and their competitors?

Digital: Keeping up with the pace of change

One of the biggest changes sweeping through organisations and teams right now is digital transformation. In the wake of organisation-wide digital change, managers are faced with ensuring that their team isn’t left behind. Digital Imposter Syndrome’ is real. Members of your team will undoubtedly be feeling it (but may not be confident enough to raise their hand and call it out). Standing still as a team or business can give competitors the upper hand. It is important that your staff are advancing, which will ensure you remain competitive.

So why doesn’t deploying new technology alone result in gains to efficiency, productivity, engagement and worker happiness? The answer is simple: it isn’t about the technology. The true benefits of advanced technologies can only be realised if we know how to use them to their fullest potential. We often call this “digital literacy.”

What can managers do to help their team up their digital game?

  • Instill a culture where you don’t expect your team to become digital masters, but you do expect them to be able to have a conversation with one
  • Give them the tools they need to make better digital decisions
  • Invite them to participate in the digital roadmap for your team
  • Equip them with practical skills to engage meaningfully in digital projects

Data: Making better business decisions

Data” as a concept can feel intimidating. It can leave those who do not understand it feeling like they cannot understand it. Although this might sound silly, this is a serious business constraint as it is at odds with the value businesses are placing on data. Companies are investing in data like they invest in physical assets, IP, and real estate. When demystifying data feels like a challenge too great, teams run the risk of falling behind and basing decisions on assumptions and gut-feel.

The aim is to make your team comfortable enough with data in order to better inform your decision-making processes. Your team is unlikely to go on to become data scientists or statisticians – but that is fine. Data literacy is the goal.

What can managers do to help their team up their data game?

  • Provide the tools required to foster a culture of data-driven storytelling and decision-making
  • Give them the training they need to be able to interpret, pull insights from and use data to make smarter business decisions
  • Illustrate the importance of data and the role it plays in the broader team and organisational context 

Design: Going beyond the status quo

Human-Centred Design and Design Thinking are tried and tested approaches to unleashing dormant creativity. Simply put, they are both mindsets. They boil down to the idea that we should always make products, services and processes with the end user’s needs in mind. Customer-centricity is a close cousin and shares a lot of similarities with these two design approaches.

How might leaders take a design-led approach to rethinking how they engage their customers, employees and partners? They might start with better understanding the needs of their stakeholders. Through this process, they might realise that a new offering may be better suited to the needs of their customer. New business models may be brought to light. It is all about shedding old assumptions in order to bring about any number of ways to innovate.

What can managers do to help their team up their design game?

  • Give your team permission to explore new areas by removing existing ‘business as usual’ beliefs
  • Train them with practical skills they need to systemise innovation (empathy, willingness to challenge the status quo, space to fail)
  • Kick-start a culture of continuous learning by defining a shared language around design, innovation and creativity

Insanity is often described as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” 

High-performing teams engage in continuous learning. Their leaders acknowledge existing skills gaps and proactively set about plugging them. These teams also ‘speak the same language’. They harness a collective mindset and toolkit to solve complex business problems. 

As Forbes points out, it’s things like problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation that are important right now. These are the skills that modern leaders need to foster in their teams in order to achieve success.

Feel like your team could use some help in overriding BAU thinking?

We have training solutions to help managers shift the way that their teams work at every stage of their journey: introductory courses, deeper-dive upskilling workshops through to bespoke programs co-designed to address specific needs. Reach out to discuss your training needs with us.