Heidrick & Struggles: The Future Is Now: How Leaders Can Seize This Moment To Build Thriving Organizations

Organizations have radically altered how they work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, crucially, the changes have shifted perceptions of how work can and needs to be done. Most obviously, because of the need for most workers to go remote, digital transformation efforts that would have taken years were compressed into months or even weeks, jolting entire organizations into a new reality and shattering old mindsets, habits, and business models. One HR leader we spoke with recently described how fundamental the shift in ways of working is: her CEO had been totally opposed to remote workers no matter what business case she made, but with COVID-19 as a forcing function, the CEO adapted—and the top team even concluded that virtual meetings are more effective.

Although some leaders may still hope to go back to the way things were, it’s clear that extensive remote working, new health and safety protocols, and hybrid teams of people in and out of offices are the norm for the foreseeable future. In other words, the future is now—and here to stay. The question for leaders is how to make the best of their COVID-fueled agility and digital gains and carry that momentum forward, leaning into the future before new silos arise and performance stalls. Heidrick & Struggles' ongoing work suggests several strategies leaders can use to build agility and inclusion in ways particularly suited to today’s challenges.

Topics discussed in this article: Agility in 2021

  • Foresight: Anticipating and being prepared to pivot in response to rapidly changing dynamics
  • Adaptability: Shifting priorities quickly to create new business models and ways of working
  • Learning: Testing ideas, experimenting, and continuously iterating in real-time
  • Resilience: Bouncing back from setbacks and failure
  • Lead with purpose: Inspiring with passion, commitment, and alignment to a mission that matters
  • Create belonging: Promoting openness, trust, and psychological safety
  • Value differences: Encouraging diversity of thought, talent, and teams

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Yulia Barnakova and Steven Krupp
Thought leadership category