Can you live in predictable unpredictability? Perhaps this is the most important question facing all of us in 2022. On the personal front, these chaotic times certainly lead to additional stress. On the business front, these chaotic times also make it difficult to plan for success.
If there is one word that keeps popping up in my mind as we spring into 2022, it’s this: fluidity (as Cambridge Dictionary defines it, the quality of being likely to change repeatedly and unexpectedly). In this survival guide, I’m going to share three key areas of focus to keep from languishing during tough times.
A. Digital Discipline
The future of work requires digital discipline. In fact, in a recent McKinsey Global Institute report on future skills, they reveal that “all citizens will benefit from having a set of foundational skills that help them fulfill the following three criteria”:
- Add value beyond what can be done by automated systems and intelligent machines.
- Operate in a digital environment.
- Continually adapt to new ways of working and new occupations.
To survive the future, we all need to understand how to digitize our businesses while at the same time improving our “human” skills, for example empathy, leadership, and communication. There is no point delaying this shift. If you’re client-facing or customer-facing, there are three tech tactics you should implement right now.
- Create engaging content (and conversations) in social media. The very best place to get started is Social Media Examiner, including articles like this to grow your Instagram community.
- Build virtual trust through video beyond social media. Whether it’s a virtual meeting or a remote TV interview, we underestimate the importance of a professional video setup. For just a couple of hundred dollars you can really step up your game. Always use an external USB mic, headphones, and a decent web cam.
- Leverage AI-powered tech tools that save you time and money. We hear a lot about the phrase automation, but many don’t seem to understand how automation can save you time and money in your business today. As two quick examples: Use Canva for social media graphics, including simple tasks such as removing a photo’s background. Use Rev to quickly caption all your social media videos for better online accessibility.
B. Purpose Prioritization
There was once a time, not that long ago, when standing up for anything beyond your business was discouraged. In 2022, the next generation of workers demand that you stand up for everyday people or the planet or both.
As the website Benefits Pro shares, “Gen Z workers are increasingly looking at an employer’s commitment to the environment and social impact when considering career opportunities, and employers looking to attract these workers need to step up and deliver”.
This pandemic is only accelerating this push to prioritize purpose. There are more and more great examples of businesses doing just this, including the leader of the purpose-led pack, Patagonia. On the company’s website, they outline their core values, which include these four pillars:
- Build the best product
- Cause no unnecessary harm
- Use business to protect nature
- (Don’t be) bound by convention
This last point is especially relevant to today’s conversation on fluidity. Patagonia is not afraid to break free of traditional business boundaries, including launching a self-imposed Earth Tax of 1% to provide “support to environmental non-profits working to defend our air, land, and water around the globe”.
There are plenty of causes to support in 2022. To get you started, here is a helpful visual representation of the World Economic Forum’s top risks in the following areas: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological. Unsurprisingly, topping the global risk assessment list are infectious diseases and climate action failure. In short, there are plenty of avenues to prioritize your purpose.
C. Workplace Wellness
According to The Conference Board of Canada Report Technology, Talent, and the Future Workplace, “with remote work blurring the lines between work and home, executives need to think about moving away from the ‘always available’ work environment and (toward) promoting work–life balance”.
Today’s business leaders are now owning the health of not just their businesses but also of their teams. As the Harvard Business Review explains in a 2021 article, “In 2020, mental health support went from a nice-to-have to a true business imperative.”
Whether your workplace is the kitchen table or a company cubicle, your mental and physical health is worth protecting (and, for the majority of people these days, is likely declining). Leading the way on workplace wellness, companies are making moves like fashion brand Tory Burch’s recent investment in WHOOP straps to help more than 700 employees track their sleep, activity, and recovery. We’ve also seen Calm, one of the world’s top mental fitness apps, partner with more than 1,500 organizations to “Bring Calm to Your Workplace”.
As an action for today, if you’re a small business owner, giving your team access to a meditation app is likely within reach.
In conclusion, I will ask the same question to all of you again: Can you live with predictable unpredictability? Let’s hope the answer is yes.
To live in predictable unpredictability requires a shift in thinking and a new set of actions. The three pillars outlined above — Digital Discipline, Purpose Prioritization, and Workplace Wellness — can help get you started.
Every day, especially during this pandemic, we are required to change our path forward repeatedly and unexpectedly, so fluidity is the name of the game in 2022 and beyond.
Considered by many to be the go-to expert on anything to do with technology, industry veteran Amber Mac helps companies and audiences stay ahead of the curve, offering clarity and passion for digital innovation in all forms.
Interested in learning more about Amber and what she can bring to your next event as an innovation speaker? Email us at [email protected].