In the beginning of October, we had a pleasure to attend the Nordic Business Forum 2015 in Helsinki. The two-day event itself was brilliantly organized and gave the visitors an opportunity to learn from several highly influential business thinkers and practitioners.
Maximizing the ability to impact in digital transformation
This year the theme of Nordic Business Forum was Impact. If you have been following the current trends, you may have seen a lot of discussions revolving around digitalization. Industries and the roles of leaders are changing rapidly, which puts more emphasis on strong leadership and ability to impact. If you didn't get an opportunity to attend the Nordic Business Forum 2015, below you can find the three key takeaways from the event.
Good leadership is a long-term process
Leaders are not born - only babies are. So the good news is, that we can all learn how to lead. The bad news is, that good leadership isn't created in a day. Instead, it's a process, which happens on daily basis. It is important for us to understand that leadership is much more than a title. More than anything, leadership is impacting people.
Author, coach and speaker John C. Maxwell stated, that it is simply impossible to grow your company bigger than your leadership. Thus, it is worth considering the five distinct levels of leadership presented by Maxwell. As a leader, you sure don't want to get stuck on level one and have your employees follow you because they are forced to. You want to reach out to levels four and five and have them follow you because of what you've done to them and because of what you represent.
Take risks & dare to fail
One of the speakers, business advisor and author Nilofer Merchant, stated that the world is changing faster than ever. It is not a question of if the change will happen, it's a question of how it will happen. And unless you take risks, it is impossible to adapt to the changing world. Simon Sinek, ethnographer and author, reminded us that it is the leaders' job to lead and go first towards the unknown that others fear.
Leaders don't need to be superhuman, though. As Guy Kawasaki, the chief evangelist of Canva and an executive fellow at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley consoled us; something good doesn't need to be perfect from the beginning. It's perfectly OK to test, try and develop. In a way, failure should be seen as a stepping-stone to success. And like a chess legend, author and human rights activist Garry Gasparov presented it - if you fail, go back and analyze what went wrong. It is crucial to understand it before others learn it. This way you have a chance to make new strategies and plans for your components.
Take care of yourself
Isn't it worrying and somewhat ironical that during this time of digitalization we tend to take better care of our smartphones than ourselves? Technology has dominated media and highly impacted the way we communicate. Because of technology we never really disconnect and for many of us, multitasking has become a pain of living. Yet, we're so focused on worrying about a low battery in our mobile devices, that we might overlook potential burnout symptoms.
Arianna Huffington, Co-founder and President of The Huffington Post Media Group, stressed the importance of digital detox and sleep. Leaders are praised for the decisions they make. However, it is crucial not to make big decisions when you're tired. Even on airplanes, you don't put the oxygen mask on yourself first because you're selfish. You put it on because after that you're able to help others. So remember - if you first grow inside, you can do better outside.
In a nutshell
As a leader, connect with your people in order to get as much energy, motivation and effort out of them as possible. Also, surround yourself with right people and remember the importance of being present. All in all, make sure to have transparency and openness in your organization. Trust your employees. Since if you don't - your customers are the ones suffering from it. In a way good leadership can be compared to workout; you don't see the results overnight. It takes patience and time before things happen.
Whether you are a leader or not, it is important for all of us to remember few basic things we so easily tend to overlook and forget. Remember to get enough sleep and maintain clear boundaries in your job. Also, despite the current digital era, remember to disconnect devices from time to time and for example read real books. We don't need to be reached 24/7, now do we?
Picture: Nordic Business Forum / Press