June 7, 2022
Can We Breathe Yet?
For many of us, it feels like we have held our breath for years. We can all agree that the last year (or three years for that matter) has been tough to navigate. We are all looking to get business back to usual or at least some sense of predictability. The aftershocks of the pandemic are receding, and we are moving into a world where everything is.
In a recent survey of over 1,000 Vistage CEO’s, the 3 top priorities for 2023 were identified as follows.
- Workforce volatility
- Infrastructure to execute
- Opportunity in the aftermath
Workforce volatility is expected to settle down once the growth cycle takes hold, and the demand for talent will skyrocket again. It was found that 80% of CEO’s were investing in their workforce management. Infrastructure needs are seeing heaving investments, with 75% of CEOs investing in technology to reduce the labor burden and 12% plan to do so in the future. This includes automation, AI and the evolution of the digital workplace. The third important strategy is focusing on where we can create opportunity in the aftermath. Strategic planning has never been more important than it is now. Taking a hard look at our organizational structure and leadership teams to maintain collaboration in a hybrid workplace.
With the news of 339,000 jobs added and 3.7% unemployment rates, the interest rate hikes seem to be achieving the goal of slowing inflation. The promise of freezing interest rates brings hopes to those of us that are looking to reinvest in our companies. As stated above, companies are eager to invest capital equipment, automation, and technology in their businesses.
With all the workforce movement from the “great resignation,” “quiet quitting,” or #ActYourWage, the workplace has been like shifting sands for many of us. We have learned to lead with more compassion, listening and watching the needs of our employees and finding ways to help our teams navigate these unique challenges. We will have emotionally healthier employees in the future, but will they have a place to land? Here is the great 2023 Commencement Address that offers a solid map for those entering the workplace and a great reminder for those who have been in the workplace for years.
- Do what you say you are going to do. If, for some reason, you can’t, let people know so there are no surprises. You want to be seen as reliable.
- Attention to detail matters. Fact-check your work. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- If you are going to be on a virtual call, be on-screen as often as you can. The black square can easily be interpreted as disinterest when your video is off.
- Be overly communicative. If someone sends you an email, acknowledge that you got it, and outline the next steps. Be clear about what you will do and when you will do it.
- Ask questions. Don’t think you have to know the answers. The world is vastly different now than it was before the pandemic. You won’t win points for pretending you know the answers—you’ll win them by showing interest in trying to help figure things out.
- It’s good to have boundaries. But if your employer is flexible, return the favor and occasionally respond to emails after hours and be willing to help on a time-sensitive project that requires extra work. The best relationships always include some give and take, and the relationship with your bosses is no different.
- Look for opportunities to apply some topspin to the ball. By that, don’t just do what you are asked to do. Add value. Propose some other approaches. Present possible solutions—don’t simply point out problems.
- Make your team better. Look for opportunities to help your peers and your bosses. Your career path will be shaped in part by the plans you make, but it will also be shaped by the people who want to bring you along because you make them and others better.
- Every job is a mix of things you like to do and things you don’t like to do. It’s called work for a reason. But try to learn something from every task or challenge. See everything as an opportunity.
- Build structures and routines into your day. No one knows what hybrid work really means. Some managers are good at defining it, and some are not. Ultimately, don’t make others define this for you: you are your own best or worst manager.