Once upon a time in America, TV wasn't a 24/7 source of entertainment. Black & white TV broadcasting stopped at a late hour each night respectfully allowing Americans to rest. It was a stressful time for adults and kids with the possibility of atomic attack threatening post WW2 lives. Americans needed their sleep and endless broadcasting of breaking news wasn't a glimmer in any programmer's eye. Each morning Americans woke to an expected reveille of sorts in front of a TV static test pattern. A few years into this watershed communication era, product line extension featured color TV, and more programming filled the night.
Change happened in those days as this evolution of TV shows us, but the future beckoned in those days in a way that was romantic. Black and white TV's were the window into that future. In those bygone days we were protected as we faced those future visions of what was out there for us. The messages on TV were about being patient. We saw the promised land of products and services, but the tone was "Get Ready" because the best is yet to come. We set our sights on it, saved for it and imagined how good it could be when it came. From where I sat as a kid, the vision of a Jetson's like-world promised a romantic view of what life would be for me. Now, as I Skype my conferences and speak to a virtual assistant it seems worth the wait.
Today, the age of impatience is here, coupled with an age of acceleration in tech and media. Wait? Who waits? Change happens at a rate that is close to breakneck speed, taking with it our time to romanticize the future, and robbing us of the opportunity to get ready for what is coming, We've lost the chance to think our way into believing what lies ahead is better than what we are experiencing which is important in changing an attitude and action. I teach this historic view as I teach international business students about marketing and see its application to leading.
I think leadership today has lost its edge in the romance department.
Because of the rapid pace of change. Romance, the ultimate feeling of well-being that was a large part of a pre-digital world, has gone missing making life harder for agents of change today. Who has the time for romancing the future? In the world of social relationships any app will create a reasonable facsimile of romance in a matter of minutes. But that's not where organizations need to go with their future ready eye to change. An app is not going to create the human to human or H2H feeling that helps organizations grow. A leader with an eye on romancing the near future could try out that classic view of being future oriented with a bit of patience. Remember Yogi Berra's quote, "The future ain't what it used to be!" So true today because of the galloping rate of change that is part of modern life. We are leading our organizations into territory of robotics, VR and AR with little time to process the change these exciting tools bring. How can we lead our teams into this time rapid change?
Creating a commitment to well being through change and fostering some small but human behaviors can help you show the love that a fast-paced multi- generational workplace needs. Put a bit of romance, a throwback to an earlier time, into your leadership. These three touch points can inspire without buying everyone on your team flowers and candy.
1. Create Well-being The field of social science is a place to access strategies that develop well-being in this tumultuous time. Neuroscience thought leaders and their content are available to you on Twitter and through platforms like Medium. Do some DIY work on brain research and give yourself a solid grounding. You will see your time spent on building well-being is worth it. It takes you back to a classic point of development for change. Don't think of leading change as a pitch or a sales job. Look at it as a change to tell the story of where the organization is and the story of the near future. Be the story-teller-in chief. Use the research on getting people into "The Zone" for change using a supportive model like Seligman's PERMA model featured in brandED. Work by Adam Grant is also an access point around creating well being. His book Give and Take is a great place to start.
2. Think H2H Leaders in business use a Business to Business (B2B) or a Business to Consumer (B2C) model as they develop change. Bryan Kramer's work is as close to being romantic in leadership as you can get. Human to Human behavior (H2H) is needed as we look ahead into our future of machines in the workplace. Look ahead to a world where "HR Dept of Machine Interface" will exist. How do we meet the change that brings this evolution of co-working with machines and more into our workplace.? We do it by valuing our human brand. Leading with an eye on the romanticizing the human experience as we move toward interfacing with efficient machines and robotics is essential. Personal brand development is needed for leading and building teams. As change occurs threading that value through leadership will distinguish any leader
3. The Power of Small Wherever you are leading...in a start up, a school, a company take the romantic view of the small moments to heart. They create big gains in your organization. The pressure to innovate is high in the accelerated age. The power of new is upon us and the noise of constant new ideas competes across media channels for our leadership attention. Don't get pressured into riding the wave of the next big thing that comes across your screen. Great leaders know how to tune out the shiny objects and dig into the small, classic pieces that are working in their organization and then refreshing them rather than getting into the next big thing. There are plenty of new things in the near future that look interesting to you, but first take a deep dive into what is the core of your product or service and do as the Sparks & Honey cultural trend agency shows us. They offer support in following trends in an element of culture called the "Refreshed Classic". It's quite a romantic thing these days to be seen as a classic, even in a rapidly moving time.
Use approaches like these and pace yourself through new times as a classic leader. What is often missing in change is the heart for it on the part of your organization. Adding a bit of business romance may help you create some magic in your role as change agent.