Last Thursday, Minds&More was present at the latest SMA Meeting about “Natural leadership”, hosted by Katleen de Stobbeleir, Associate Professor at Vlerick Business School. SMA Belgium is the leading association of sales leaders in Belgium. They organize monthly gatherings and trainings in cooperation with UBA. Minds&More has been one of the key sponsors for the last 2 years.
Professor de Stobbeleir started that we are entering an era of “Gig economy”: a labour market characterized by a prevalence of short-term contracts and freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. In a near future, 60% of today’s kids will have jobs that don’t exist today. It means that organizations have to become more agile in order to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, rapid advancements in technology and sudden shifts in overall market conditions.
This is exactly the principle on which Minds&More was created: a collaborative network of freelancers that has allowed us to be a market leader. We managed to reach a high flexibility level thanks to our external resources that permanently add new skills to our network. We are a company that believes in life-long learning and we always thrive to continuously adapt ourselves to this fast-moving world.
We now face a multidirectional leadership: vertical, across levels and authority but also horizontal, across functions and expertise. There’s also a multiplication of stakeholders, demographic and geographic particularities to take into account. It also means that leadership needs to evolve as we work with resources for a limited time and have to adapt to work with cross-functional teams.
To face those changes, Katleen De Stobbeleir promotes an inclusive leadership model. No more micro-management but a management based on self-managing, project and multidisciplinary. It requires building a climate of trust within the company and to promote inclusion. This is valid for healthy businesses while troubled ones have to stick to the traditional “command-control” management.
Another interesting point to dive into is that enterprises have to work on changing the mentality between co-workers. Employees must not see their colleagues as competitors, but as people you can help by improving their skills and inversely. It’s a whole change in the way we build relationships in a working environment. That means that you have to work together and not against others. The whole game is to set the objectives high enough to be challenging but not unreasonable to avoid unethical behaviour.
This vision is also true within the market. You will be more successful as an organisation if you cooperate with other firms rather than considering them as competitors. That’s what we call “coopetition”. The more you are likely to work on a project, the more innovative thoughts you can draw. And the longer your project will last and keep its value rather than being copied by the competition within 5 minutes.
It sounds simple in theory but what about putting into practice? The first thing to do is to drastically change the personnel policy. For instance, firms have to stop systems such as individual bonus, which assume that you perform as an individual to the detriment of your colleagues. You have to humanize the company and encourage team spirit.
In conclusion, keep in mind that the more diverse a group is, the more creative it is too.