With the current climate inundated with technological advancements and geopolitical challenges, the next generation of workers are faced with entering a complex working world, where the cliché of ‘business as usual’ will not be an option anymore.
The gig economy, for instance, has exploded, leaving a vacuum of space for workers to navigate the new and emerging working environment. To survive in such a climate, the modern-day employee needs to take risks, embrace change and take action persistently.
Finding success in this dynamic era, therefore, requires an entrepreneurial mindset. So, how can businesses create a proactive culture that allows for growth in today’s volatile business arena?
The success comes from the quality of management, mindset of leaders and employees, and the type of organisational culture. This means managers who are instilling motivation, leadership and inspiration across the organisation, are ultimately fostering a community based on relationships.
Businesses need look at pragmatic ways to make the world a better place, with more just, diverse and healthier places to live and work in, especially during the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where disruptive technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things, robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are changing the way we operate in and outside of work.
An example of how this is being achieved is Peacebeam, a London-based digital publisher working at the intersection of technology, wellbeing and wisdom. It creates bitesize, meaningful material for busy, stressed and overwhelmed workers, instilling peace and kindness.
Through blogs and meditation audio, which have received over quarter of a million downloads across 47 countries, the organisation is an exemplar for entrepreneurship In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, spreading kindness and using technology to help humanity. Their material is included in several apps and they have produced material for the LSE Entrepreneurship program LSE Generate.
Founded in 2016 with the intention of getting people back in touch with their innate nature of kindness and empathy, Peacebeam looks for alternative ways to offer bitesize mindfulness, meditation and other wisdom practices, in a working world that often leaves people feeling stressed, anxious and disconnected from each other. Its ultimate aim is to rebuild connection in a digitised world.
Peacebeam’s strategy is aligned with research described in my book, The Management Shift, which shows that there are five levels of mindset and organisational culture that individuals and organisations go through, and at each of these five levels there is a different drive for entrepreneurial mindset. At Level 1, entrepreneurial thinking is almost non-existent as people are focused on survival. At Level 2, it is random and sporadic, almost accidental. At Level 3, it is compliant, as employees attempt entrepreneurial tasks only when asked to. At Level 4, entrepreneurial thinking becomes embedded in organisational culture. At this level, employees have autonomy to experiment with new ideas, they can make decisions on the basis of their knowledge rather than a formal position in organisational hierarchy, and they collaborate with diverse teams. Finally, at Level 5, entrepreneurial mindset becomes intrinsic, and it gets embedded subconsciously in employees as there are no limits in thinking about what can be achieved. At Levels 4 and 5 organisations, like Peacebeam, are striving to make this world a better place.
So, for businesses to succeed, they have to turn away from command and control mindsets and management styles, in which employees are looking for a rulebook rather than new opportunities and have little autonomy to try new ideas. They should be striving towards Level 4, where discipline is maintained through a system of accountability, honest communication, and adherence to the organisation’s positive values and higher purpose.
Ultimately, by operating at a level that counteracts the Fourth Industrial Revolution with a culture built around compassion and kindness where meaningful relationships are prioritised ahead of profits, organisations will succeed in the realm of modern-day workplace practices; delivering a key driving force for economic and social prosperity.
Vlatka Hlupic is a Professor of Leadership and Organisational Transformation at Ashridge Executive Education, Hult. She is also an award-winning international thought leader, author of The Management Shift and Humane Capital books, management consultant, keynote speaker, executive coach, and CEO and founder of The Management Shift Consulting and Drucker Society London.