by Neerja Arora Bhatia, Founder - Art of Resilience. Neerja has inspired thousands of professionals around the world. With more than 20 years of experience, her proficiency is in delivering topics such as Transformational Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Resilience.
Organisations around the world have come to accept and anticipate changes brought about by unprecedented disruption. The ripple effects from these changes will be felt across all employee functions and business activities. And finance is one of the areas that could see the most change.
Research suggests that soon, decisions made by CFOs won’t be bound to the finances of an organisation, but will include human resources, talent acquisition, IT, legal, risk management and business operations.
What’s the best way to welcome change, effect real and productive evolution in your staff and processes and get everyone onboard at the same time? The answer lies in a holistic approach that balances data science and behavioral science to engage an employee from recruitment to retirement.
Balancing data and behavioural science requires focusing on generating possibility, fostering predictability and facilitating adaptability. This can be done by building a culture of “experiential leadership learning.”
To do this, focus on these long-term and short-term strategies:
Long-term strategy :
Individual transformation requires an unbroken commitment to self-knowledge for uncovering personal biases. Biases, also known as blind spots, are the root cause for counter-productive behaviours including resistance to change, conflict, territorial thinking and silos. When the mind is free from outdated perceptions, it is easier to overcome challenges, gain clarity and move forward in the face of uncertainty. There are plenty of psychometric analysis tools that can facilitate increasing your self-awareness such as Meyers Briggs, DiSC, Tilt365 and Social Styles.
Team transformation requires an unbroken trust in others. Adopting best practices and tools for creating a safe space for healthy group dynamics is critical for tapping into the power of collective intelligence. This requires slowly and surely breaking hierarchy and embracing holarchy, which means team members have equal value and equal say in the directive. Patrick Lincioni’s book ‘The Advantage’ is an excellent read for team meetings. It will help you understand where your team is when it comes to their level of trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and attention to results.
Short-term strategy :
Begin to expand your perception by including the following three critical mindsets:
Possibility Mindset – ”Great business leaders need to walk the fine line between capitalizing on the opportunities that are ripe for the present context and planning for a possible future state.” Begin with an end in mind. Get into a habit of asking yourself: if you had no restrictions, what would be the ideal outcome? Thinking through possibilities stretches your mindset and generates creative thought processes. Diving into the data without having an ideal outcome in mind limits your scope and results. Invite key stakeholders and have a brainstorming session on what that ideal outcome looks like.
Predictability Mindset – There is always more than meets the eye. Get into the habit of questioning your assumptions – as you begin to negate them, you stretch your mind to see beyond the obvious. A good way to test your assumption is to invite team members with different viewpoints. To enhance creativity and innovation, a multidimensional perspective is critical. Inviting individuals from diverse perspectives can be initially challenging, but when handled well it will bring far greater insights than a singular perspective. At one point, for example, we thought the world was flat. Challenges to what was then common “knowledge” led to a truth that looks very different.
Adaptability Mindset – Now that you have a vision and are testing and breaking through assumptions, the question to ask is, how will you “people proof” the decisions? This is where quick surveys will support you in checking the climate of receptivity and safety. How will your decision disrupt psychological safety? How open will your team be? You can gain great insights, create a grand strategy and make bold decisions, but if people are not on board, you will be met with aggressive and passive resistance. Old beliefs, unexamined biases and old habits will inadvertently get in the way of future possibilities.
This is where real-time feedback is critical. To support your initiatives, check the climate by using quick polling tools such as Surveymonkey, Pollfish or Snapsurveys. When the questions for the survey are thoughtfully designed, team members feel heard and seen, and feel safe to provide invaluable input.
Based on the feedback, you can prioritize your message to address resistance and gain buy-in. Collective exploration is critical to move from resistance to commitment.
Real change begins with you. Financial services provide on organisation’s foundational stability, and when you stretch your role from foundational to transformational, you will begin to increase your capacity to engage and align the minds and hearts of the people. In doing so, you will be well on your way to becoming an indispensable business partner.