Business is entering a new era. Gone (long gone) is the dominance of the job for life. With this demise comes a new breed of business owner. There have always been entrepreneurs of course, but now this is really time for the business owner to have a voice stronger than ever before.
The portfolio career is taking over. People are changing career direction almost as quickly as they change their cars. The person to follow today is the person who is adaptable, flexible, reacts to shifts in the business climate with ease, and adopts change as easily as blinking. This has created an exciting, dynamic business arena, where people can really follow their dreams and create the life (personal and professional) that they choose.
However, with this shift in mind set come a set of potential challenges. The change in how we do business brings with it a need for a more flexible attitude to communication and interaction. Networking is even more important now than ever, achieving visibility utilising all the platforms that social media now offers is crucial. With this scope for getting our message out there, comes a whole host of extra, necessary, skills.
EQ (emotional intelligence) is now as vital as IQ in the business world. We all know that what we say is important, yet how we say it is even more important. Get that message wrong and it can ruin a reputation overnight.
So, how do people and businesses respond to this shift and ensure they are sufficiently robust to not only survive, but thrive, in the 21st century business field? This brings me to male and female energy. What I don't mean is men and women necessarily. Both genders are equally able to use their male and female energy. The dominant energy of business up to now has been male. Nothing wrong with that. But going forward, to ensure a sustainable, collaborative, respectful business future, it is necessary to honour, celebrate and utilise both energies.
Men are brilliant at a lot of things. So are women. What I've noticed over the last couple of decades running my training and business coaching business is that a lot of women try and emulate men, thinking this is the way to succeed. That not only disrespects men, it also disrespects women. Everyone needs to recognise, and take ownership of, their own talents, skills and expertise. The company that has a balance of male and female energy, and therefore way of operating, is the company that is more likely to become the 'go to' in their industry/sector. To put it another way, make sure you, and the company you run or work for, has a balance of left brain dominant and right brain dominant people.
As human beings the knee jerk reaction is to be drawn towards the 'easy answer'. After all, our lives are busy and packed, we have enough on our plates keeping the business going, let alone trying to figure out how to get on with people who are the complete opposites of us! So most people will naturally gravitate towards others who think like them and 'speak their language'. This is potentially dangerous, particularly if you run your own business. There is a risk of alienating potential and existing clients if there is an inability to make the communication shifts easily and elegantly to 'meet' the full diversity and spectrum of human nature. There is also the temptation to recruit people into the company who look like, sound like and communicate similarly to yourself. This will, inevitably, create a good atmosphere in the office, but you will run the risk of stagnating. All companies need to be challenged, taken out of their comfort zone and encouraged to look at issues from another angle in order to flourish. This skill is now even more crucial.
It is time now to turn our back on the 'blame culture' that has been prevalent for too long. Now is the time for everyone to embrace the diversity within themselves, celebrate the diversity of others and help create a future that is inclusive, collaborative, respectful, healthy and sustainable.
We owe this to the people who have gone before us, and we certainly owe it to the people coming up behind us. Become part of the collective tipping point - together we can change the world.