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Be a leader of tomorrow: Create an 'uncorporate' culture

Ennis Cehic
Industry Expert

Ennis Cehic is a writer and creative interested in branding, culture and the digital impact on society

Ennis Cehic
Industry Expert

Ennis Cehic is a writer and creative interested in branding, culture and the digital impact on society

A business without leadership is like watching grass grow. Things happen, but at a very slow pace. Leaders fuel progress. They create a mental picture of what the future can look like for a business. It is part management, part inspiration and a big dose of deep strategic thinking.

But today, leadership isn’t easy. The rapid changes in technology have created an emergence of new employees. Individualists who are permanently connected, confident and leaders in their own right who demand a new style of management.

So how do you do it? You create the uncorporation.

Let’s take a look at this year’s Wolff Olins Report to learn more.  

A global brand consultancy, Wolff Olins work with some of the largest corporations in the world. In their annual WO Report, they tackle some of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. This year, they spoke to 43 global CEO’s and surveyed over 400 employees in their 20s to understand how leadership is changing. 

An empty chair behind a desk in an office
Employees are now more confident, more mobile, more demanding, more idealistic in some cases, and less willing to be company people. Employees, more than ever, are individualists. 

- WO Report

With over 86 per cent of CEOs reporting shifts in leadership requirements, Wolff Olins believe that businesses today require new thinking to create an uncorporate culture, where people’s individual desires and values are respected, fueling their personal ambitions to meet corporate targets for growth. They summarised their report in three broadly characterised changes.

Let’s take a look.  

Grow your culture

To create a work culture where fast thinking produces quick outputs and accelerates performance, a business needs leadership that still has systems that ensure order but also allows for an organic, creative culture to foster confidently.

The lessons

  • Be less of a ringmaster and more of a chief designer of company culture
  • Don’t be the machine, work outside of it and make sure it runs well
  • Building a better culture starts with hiring the right people
  • Getting the right people with the wrong skills is more important than the wrong people with the right skills
  • Don’t be a traditional boss or visionary, be a teacher
  • Look to people for creative responses to answer your searching questions

Let go of the reins

Making growth everyone’s business and freeing people up to experiment freely and share collectively can enrich a business to be more engaged in learning and experimenting to grow.

The lessons

  • Be purposely unsure so you leave with answers not arrive with them
  • Set and drive the ambition of the business and make day-to-day success and value everyone’s job
  • Be with your employees, not above them
  • Don’t involve everyone, make smaller, leaner teams for faster outputs
  • Bring innovation and expertise from all sides by empowering juniors

Create meaning

To counter today’s individualist personalities, leadership needs to give employees a sense of corporate purpose and allow for more freedom and flexibility so they can learn to become leaders in their own right.

The lessons

  • People are more assertive, and less obedient so let them work on their own terms
  • Lead, but allow more freedom and flexibility
  • Be more humble about your business’s position in the world 
  • Lead with a shared social purpose
To be prepared for the future, business leaders need to be adaptable.

Read the full Wolff Olins report for more information.

Find out more

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